I try to return to Oliena every year at least once, especially during the holidays.
I feel right at home when I walk around the town and see the beautiful murals that adorn the walls of the houses and the colours that come out in the holidays.
My people are made up of hard workers who love their families, but when they have free time they spend it with friends among snacks, songs and dances. Always accompanied by a guitar and accordion.
In Oliena there are beautiful festivals such as S’Incontru which is celebrated at Easter, a procession full of tradition. In autumn, the Barbagia festival which attracts many tourists and the town fills up impressively.
On 21 August there is the feast of San Lussorio organized in detail by the boys born here, every year the feast is organized by the boys of the town based on their year of birth, 80, 81, 82 and so on.
For the celebration of the patron, the town is filled with colours and there is no corner that is not covered by coloured flags. We organize games for children, teenagers, and the little less young, such as the donkey race, the capture of the pig. My daughter also attended these games.
The concerts, the Sardinian poetry, the songs of tenours are the moment in which tradition and the modern meet, giving spectators a week full of events.
On the 21st the procession for the saint takes place around the town. The knights in Sardinian costumes precede the saint by opening the way, then there is the procession that follows him with women and men dressed in traditional costume.
The beautiful embroideries of the clothes are sewn by expert hands that keep the history and beauty of Sardinia unchanged over time.
It is perhaps, if not surely one of the most beautiful traditional costumes of Sardinia!
These traditional festivals are deeply felt by all the inhabitants and especially by young people. They cultivate them with love, not because they must but because they want to.
Besides, in Oliena the cuisine is very good, and there is not only the suckling pig or the Nepente, there are the desserts.
Sweets for every party and every occasion: sas rugliettas for Carnival, sos papascinos for the Saints, the especially white nougat of extreme goodness. Finally there are amaretti, sos marigosos, and many others made especially of almonds and honey.
You must taste them, absolutely must.
But the intriguing thing about these desserts is that they are not only good, they are also beautiful to look at. Real works of art, such as those of our Anna Gardu by now famous.
But she is not the only famous one in Oliena … there is also the excellent Gianfranco Zola, a great footballer and a great man that unfortunately I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting.
Growing up in Oliena is a great fortune.
You can take an Olianese away from Oliena, but you cannot take Oliena away from an Olianese.
Cover picture by Dolci sardi di Puligheddu Gianfranca