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The cover of "The book of Selvaggio Blu" by Mario Verin and Giulia Castelli
Photo by archivio Mario Verin e Giulia Castelli
Aguglia di Goloritzé from the "Selvaggio Blu" trek in Sardinia.
Photo by archivio Mario Verin e Giulia Castelli

Selvaggio Blu and the beauty of Sardina

The Book of Selvaggio Blu by Mario Verin - Giulia Castelli that documents the colours, nature and the immense, wild beauty of the area located between Pedra Longa and Cala Sisine in Sardinia's Supramonte region. The book review by Francesca Colesanti.

Yes, there's a flaw: the book lacks an index. The rest is a roller coaster ride of colours, emotions, nature, joy, simplicity. The book of Selvaggio Blu is so intoxicating that it alone satisfies the desire to plunge into that sea of water, rock, juniper and scents. A perverse tactic, or an unconscious desire of the authors who, in wishing to save that particular section of coastline, have attempted to appease the public with a book? This may well be the case, seeing that the genuiness and ruggedness (some call it wilderness) is such that, all, must take a step back.

Selvaggio Blu tells the "true story" of the discovery of a route (defining it a path would be heresy) that leads from Pedra Longa all the way to Cala Sisine, on the east coast of Sardinia; an adventure told by one of the protagonists, Mario Verin, who first came up with the idea and forged the way between 1987 and 1988 together with Peppino Calo.

The journey is divided into four stages, revealed gradually by soft spoken Giulia Castelli, interrupted by numerous "zoom ins" onto the Supramonte shepherds, on the architecture of the sheep pens, on the courts of Baunei, the geology of the actual path. This is both a photo book and a guidebook, blended into one by outstanding graphics which have one fundamental, dare I say unique function: after becoming intoxicated by the photographs taken by Mario Verin - the famous mountain and nature photographer who needs no introduction - something unusual happens: one gets the urge to read the texts, which are a carefully calibrated cross between simple captions and long articles.

And so, after the impulse of diving into the crystal clear fjord, we learn that this place is called Portu Pedrusu, the "stone harbor" but also Porru ‘e campu, thanks to the wild leek that grows abundantly nearby. Or, after passing beneath the yellow, disturbing eyes of a goat, you discover the characteristics of barraccu, the local sheepcote, expertly built with stones and junipers. And then, after the thrill lean out above the cliff Su Irove e’ sisiera, you smell the scent of myrtle berries and savor pistoccu, the local bread, or the goat's milk.

In the end, after having admired a romantic wild Paeonia flower next to a squadron of males cyclamen, after having stumbled in two muddy, loving porceddu, having stumbled across the tangled roots of a huge oak tree, having removed your leg from the jaws of a pedra nascenda, having seen a racer snake amongst the bushes and admired the beating of the wings of a queen falcon, you enter Grotta del Fico and bow your head beneath the monumental arch that connects Bacu S’Orruargiu to Bacu Addas.

For those not already exhausted or not yet satisfied by the mere sight of this paradise-faceted, here is the data sheet and map of the route, recommended only to people "with a consolidated or mountaineering experience for hikers accompanied by a mountain guide or a local guide. "

With sincere gratitude, just one question to the authors: "Does Julia really only own an orange scarf?"

Book review by Francesca Colesanti

The book of Selvaggio Blu will be presented, with the authors, on Saturday 8 June at 18.30 at the Centro di Documentazione, via Orientale Sarda at Baunei (NU, Sardinia)
Info: www.marioverin.it

The book of Selvaggio Blu
The true story of the Selvaggio Blu trek as described by one of its inventors, the climber and photographer Mario Verin, who created Selvaggio Blu together with his friend Peppino Cicalò in 1987-88.
English, Italian
by Mario Verin - Giulia Castelli





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