Bosa and the Serravalle Castle 0 Comments

Bosa and the Serravalle Castle

Overlooking the borough of Bosa - 157 km far and two hours car drive from Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel & Suites, 81 meters above sea level,  stands the Serravalle Castle, also called the Malaspina Castle, named after the Tuscan nobles transplanted to the island in the mid-11th century, who built its first core in 1121.

The entire Serravalle Castle plant occupies one hectare, within which there is the 2000 square meter Castle. The castle sits on Serravalle hilltop, reachable via a long, steep staircase. From up there you can see a splendid panorama of a borough considered to be among the most beautiful in Italy, the colourful houses built along the right bank of the Temo river, the ancient tanneries on the other bank and the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) that connects the two banks. the village spreads from the river to Serravalle foothill. 

Inside the fortress walls, the spirituality of the Middle Ages is represented, in the vast parade ground, by the church of Nostra Signora de Sos Regnos Altos (14th-15th century), embellished inside by a series of Spanish frescoes dating back to the 14th century. At first, It looked like a simple single-nave church without external ornaments and decorations, built in the courtyard of the castle but in reality, it hid its inestimable richness under the plaster of the internal walls. In fact, during the safety measures in 1972-73, when the plaster was removed, wonderful frescoes appeared inspired by the themes of the preaching of St. Francis: the Adoration of the Wise Men, the Last Supper and St. George killing the dragon.

Among the stories described in the frescoes, we also find the only Sardinian representation of the legend "of the three living and the three dead", which tells of three noblemen who came across a hermit monk who apostrophised them with the "memento mori" (remember that you have to die), showing them three corpses in consecutive states of decomposition: the first, intact and with its precious clothes, the second, in an advanced state of decomposition, and finally the third, now reduced to a mere skeleton. Although the three noblemen fled in fear at first, they definitively understood the great spiritual significance of the meeting which reminded them that wealth, power and titles are useless when facing death.

The name of Nostra Signora de Sos Regnos Altos, (Our Lady of the high realms) and its location in a niche of the church, was given in 1847 following the discovery of a wooden statuette depicting the Holy Mary that a child found in the castle debris. The spread of the news of the recovery meant that the church became a pilgrimage destination and the celebration of the festival is celebrated, since the mid-nineteenth century, every year in September when the streets of the medieval district of Sa Costa are filled with decorations, lights and colours. Spaces and alleys host sos altarittos, small altars adorned with flowers, characteristic filet laces and Holy Mary statuettes. While listening to the sound of gosos, poignant liturgical songs, you can take part in festive tables with typical sweets served with the excellent Malvasia wine.

I am intrigued by the life that old castles have seen and still partly retain. Who knows how many dreams are left on the towers? (Fabrizio Caramagna)


Written by Daniela Toti

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