What is the well attired travel writer bopping around in these days? Well, if you go by the picture, donning a mastruga or mastruca might be just the thing for the start of the new millennium. It’s an ancient Sardinian skin outfit worn by shepherds past—also called best’ e peddi. The Romans got a bit snotty over the dress, calling the Sardinians they found “Sardi pelliti” or the pelted Sards. One does not make this out to be a compliment.
My research (well, ok guide Paola Loi’s research) defines the mastruga as an ancient “microfiber”, cool in summer and warm in winter. All the more reason to wear one in modern times, as we head back to the stone age after a few filthy rich people win all the wealth, leaving the rest of us a shriveled husk of a planet.
Interestingly, the roots of the word mastruga are found all over Europe. It’s pretty likely that Romanians and Germans were pretty much decked out the same when they were happy and productive barbarians. Today the Mastruga is featured at pretty much every festival in Sardinia, especially at the costume extravaganza called the Festival of Sant’Efisio in Cagliari on the first of May.
The hat is called sa berritta, the traditional “beret” knit in a tube form and set upon the head in a variety of ways, including jauntily. They were typical shepherds hats in the 1800s, when the traditional costume started to become more lavish and distinctive.
So look for a mastruga shop coming soon to a boutique mall near you. Goat or sheepskin? It’s pretty much the only decision you ‘ll have to make. One size fits all. But get the accessories. That shepherds stick really rounds out the outfit, don’t you think?
(Grazie to our model, Martha Bakerjian of Martha’s Italy)