Cagliari, like many small cities, is divided into neighborhoods. What’s interesting about Cagliari is that the neighborhood dwellers have nicknames. For example, high on the hill is the Castello. It was, for a long historical time, a hoity-toity neighborhood, populated with intellectuals, nobility, and artsy types. The nickname these citizens took (or, most likely were given) was “Piscia Tintoris” meaning “those who piss in the inkpot.”
Then the nobility went out of style and poor folks filled the void, living in the basements of the crumbling villas. They were not so delicate—nor as dedicated to good aiming practices. They took the name of “Pescia Arrenconis” or “those who piss in the corner.”
Those who lived by the water were given the name “Sfustus Culus” or “Wet Butts.” And if you were from the Stampace neighborhood, you got tagged with “Cuccurus Cottus” or “Hard (or boiled!) Heads.”
Villanova residents are known as “Inforra Cristus” or “Crucifix Bakers” for the number of churches and bakeries in the neighborhood.
If this isn’t enough, let’s talk Ricci. I remember a hockey player of that name, who bloodied himself night after night fighting for a space in front of the opposition’s goal for the San Jose Sharks, mostly with his head, but that’s not what I want to talk about. Ricci di mare, code named Echinoidea by scientists, as pictured to the right, are sea urchins, not what’s left of Mike Ricci’s kneecap. You cut the urchin shell in half with a big tool, then scoop out the insides and down the gullet they go. I like them. There’s no waste, except for the gnarly shell. Those pictured are from vendors at Poetto beach in Cagliari. The boys wouldn’t let me photograph their faces along with their wares because if the picture appeared in the local news they could get in trouble with the constabulary. It’s all under the table. Italy must have the world’s largest table, as most of Italy is under it. In any case, I was told the vendors were all arrested the day after I took this shot.
Dang, I hope they know I’m not responsible or I won’t be able to come back to Sardinia for sea urchins any time soon. In any case, you can get ricci di mare already removed from that nasty looking shell and put in plastic cups at my favorite market in the whole wide world, the Cagliari Fish Market
Yes, there’s a video in the link above, featuring crawling things and the people who traffic in them. Your kids will love the octopus. Trust me.