Tertenia, from the Nuragic civilization to the Byzantine conquest:
Tertenia is the southernmost village in Ogliastra. It is located at the foot of Monte Giuilea, along the valley of Quirra. The earliest signs of human presence in the area date back to the Neolithic Age (fourth millennium BC), documented by obsidian tools, found throughout the territory of Tertenia, and especially from subterranean necropolis as Domus de Janas (House of the Fairies). In a place called Magalàu there was a necropolis consisting of at least three tombs carved in shale, whose only survivor is composed of a single cell with a niche; in Santa Lugia there is a single artificial cave (similar to Magalàu but with a secondary chamber); a third necropolis found in a place called Bau ‘e Carrus (can be referred to a later phase) originally composed of three rooms, but today only one is intact, the other two rooms are united by the subsidence of the rock.
In the area there are at least 77 fortresses, 22 villages, 34 graves of giants and a sacred well dated back to the Nuraghic period (Seventh-Sixth century BC). This density of structures testifies a high population density, similar to other areas in Sardinia, which also implied a flourishing sociopolitical and economic prosperity of the territory. The complete nuragic cultural development is visible in the current landscape: there are different kinds of nuraghe as the classical truncated cone, dated back to the Bronze Age (1300- 900 BC) that later constructions. Like these buildings, built in high places and with a large visual control of the territory, as elsewhere in the island, there are various types: some consisting of a single truncated cone tower to the nuragic complex , located in the most practicable areas, composed of various spaces added to a main building, with courtyards, terraces and fortifications. There are common nuraghi consisting of one or two towers built against the main, as well as examples of nuraghi trefoil, quatrefoil and five-lobed. In one case (that one of 'Aleri) was found a rampart which contained part of the village. The most importants Nuraghi, mostly in the coastal area, are accompanied by a village of huts with circular or rectangular plan. Among them, the most important for subtlety and masonry complexity are the Nuraghe Longu, Barisoni, ‘Aleri and ‘Nastasi. 'Aleri is composed of a tower surrounded by four smaller towers dominating the whole bay of Foxi Manna. In the background of Foxi ‘e Murdegu, the Nuraghe 'Nastasi is the most articulate of the area, with two courtyards, an inner shaft and five spaces.
The burial nuragic architecture is represented by the remains of at least 34 graves of giants, collective burials characterized by a burial chamber and a ritual hemicycle, used during the Bronze Age. In the Quirra valley, the construction typology includes large slabs of slate stuck in the ground or masonry slabs with ogival section roof. In Sarrala, where outnumber granite and porphyry, the tombs have regular rows of stones; outside the building was completed by a mound or a stone cladding, now mostly destroyed.
After a period of Phoenician conquest, poorly documented by the occasional fragments of pottery, with the Roman occupation of 238. C. also for Ogliastra starts the secular romanization. According to the sources, the towns were called Porticenses, and Saralapis, which is found in the current name of Sarrala. The archaeological remains consist of numerous finds of pottery, coins (remarkable is the remains found in the area of Sa 'Iba'e Sacheu), and metal objects. The walls are particularly large in areas of Su Concali, Marosini and Su Tetiòni, where there was probably the highest density of population, despite the rural settlement was presumably scattered, organized in farms.
At the end of the ancient age (Sixth century), Justinian brought the whole Sardinia and Tertenia in the Byzantium power sphere, with the consequent influence of the oriental Church and the introduction of the cult of saints as St. Sophia and St. Nicholas. The Arab invasions started in the eighth century and continued intensively until the eleventh century, when the island and the village lived a complete isolation which molded the identity and Sardinian language.
Tertenia after the Medioeve.
The island appears around Tenth century organized into four independent Giudicati (indigenous kingdoms of Sardinia) divided into curatorie: Tertenia belonged to the Kingdom of Cagliari and the curatoria of Colostrai and Kirra. With the collapse of the Giudicato, in 1258, it passed to the Gallura’s Visconti family and then to the City of Pisa by the end of the century. Plagues and wars of the fourteenth century, such as the one between Arborea and Catalan-Aragons, caused the end of several villages in the area; Tertenia was the only survivor in the area between Jerzu and Villaputzu, where rural churches often indicate the site of ancient settlements. The transfer from the coast to the inner land (a very important fact for local history, passed down by oral tradition and confirmed by documentary sources) which probably occurred around 1360, ranks after the country was granted in fief to Berengar Carroz in 1332.
The Catalan and, subsequently, the Spanish administration ruled the island between the fourteenth century and the first part of the eighteenth century, when the Kingdom of Sardinia passed under the control of the Dukes of Savoy. Tertenia from 1363 is one of the villages belonging to the county of Quirra, feud of the Catalan family Carròz. During the following centuries, Tertenia and its territory passed from Carroz to Centelles family; in 1604 the county became marquisate, moving then to different families as the Borgias, the Català and the Osorio. In 1720, after a short period of Austrian domination, the Kingdom of Sardinia finally passed under the control of the Savoy.
The true rulers of this age, however, were the Barbary pirates who, aboard of fast ships, carrying their attacks both in coastal towns that in inland, pillaging and abducting men, women and children to be sold as slaves in the markets of North Africa. The written records of the first forays in Tertenia date back to 1620, but there are other firefights and attempts to land throughout the eighteenth century (especially those that occurred in 1761 and in 1764).
In 1812, the gunners defeated 400 Saracen pirates, in a bloody battle fought near the San Giovanni di Sarrala Tower, where it was crucial the the armed intervention of the villagers helping the gunners and the alcalde of the tower Sebastiano Melis, decorated by the King of Sardinia with the Gold Medal for the determination and courage in battle.
Since 1853, Count Alberto Della Marmora, visiting Ogliastra, signaled the presence of copper deposits in the territory of Tertenia, but the isolation and the high costs of the copper mining and transportation were difficulties which inhibited a real exploitation of mineral resources. The ruins of the mining facilities and housing are now immersed in a wonderful scenery, a step away from the sea or surrounded by oaks and lush and evergreen Mediterranean scrub. In particular, the highlands and forested areas are very interesting and spectacular, with a rich flora and fauna (it is still possible to see in remote areas many boars, the golden eagle, the marten, wild cats, while on the sea area herring gulls and peregrine falcons). Along the paths of ancient charcoal burners, or along the streams’ beds, who loves hiking or just walking, can enjoy the lush and verdant nature surrounding the Villas of Luxury Holdays in Sardinia.
Tertenia: the old village centre.
In the old Tertenia centre, there is an interesting area under the artistic profile, including the Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin and the adjacent Museum of Modern Art. The latter collects artworks and work tools donated by the sculptor Albino Manca (1899-1976), who moved immediately after the First World War to
Rome and, since 1938, lived New York. Albino Manca, who was an interpreter of twentieth-century classicism, never forgot his origins, transfusing to small and big bronzes his love for Sardinia.
The parish church is an Egidio Manca’s work (1906-1957, pastor of Tertenia and Albino’s cousin), characterized by sharp and bright forms, in a neo-Romanesque architecture of Lombard style, similar to those designed by the architect Giovanni Muzio for the church of Santa Maria la Rossa in Milan. The building, opened in 1953, dominates the town and stands out as an urban and spiritual landmark for the community. The church is graced by carvings in sandstone and pink granite, depicting a Via Crucis and other sacred images, while in the entrance is placed the decorated portal with ten bronze panels inspired by the Old and New Testament.
Egidio Manca also left some paintings and other wall paints, original interpretations of Raffaello’s and Mantegna’s works, while the portal panels evoke the Giacomo dalla Quesrcia sculptures. The artist, with a fertile and versatile creativity, designed the models of chandeliers and executed embossed copper lid of the baptismal font. Inside the church there are two altars, made by Juan Domenico Franco in the end of the eighteenth century; in the altar of St. Sebastian, on the left of the transept, was possible to admire until a few years ago a tabernacle closed by a flap copper (stolen several years ago) where is painted a Cena in Emmaus, of the end of the eighteenth century, signed by the sardinian painter Francesco Massa.
The main festivities are St. Sophia (September 1st), whose country church is located in Località Bidda 'e Susu, St. Peter (June 29th) and the town's patron St. Sebastian (January 20th), all of ancient tradition. In recent years the summer festivals for the promotion of culture and local products, annually attract an increasing number of visitors. We recommend our guests to live an unique and authentic experience, enjoying ancient traditions as St. Peter’s procession with typical sardinian dress, folk performances and fireworks as well as country festivals in the surroundings.
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