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The Quiet Town That Jousts Its Character Onto You

Author : Thomas Whitehead

Oristano is located on the western coast of Sardinia, situated in the Campidano Orisranese. This is the town that has a lot going for it without it being flashy or showy. It lets its architecture and calm streets do the talking.

The economy of this town is based on fishing and agriculture, which shouldn't be a surprising due to its location that is close to the west coast but not exactly on the coastline. But the coast isn't just good for fishing as there is the beautiful Torre Grande beach which is near Oristano and plays host some of the best Sardinia villas on the beach. It is a top tourist spot so it will get busier during holiday periods especially summer.

Oristano is a town that has various structures that gives the town character, like The Tower of St. Christophoros which is also known as the tower of Mariano II. This was built in 1290 by the judge of Arborea Mariano II and was one of the two main entrance doors of the ancient city walls. The tower is about 19 metres in height and consists of three levels and on the last there is a small crenellated/ battlement. The twin tower which was called the Tower of St. Phillip also known as Port'a Mari was located in the Piazza Manno which was demolished at the beginning of the 20th century. There was also the Tower Portixedda; this is a tower of a circular shape which lies at the intersection of routes Mazzini, Garibaldi, and Solferino

There is an important event that is held here which is called the Sartiglia. It is an equestrian joust tournament held that has been held for the past 500 years on Carnival Sunday and Mardi Gras. The tournament on Sunday is run by a group of corporate farmers whilst the Mardi Gras is run by a group of corporate carpenters. This has Spanish roots as it is of Castillian origin, this was proved by researchers M. Falchi and M. Zucca finding a manuscript that was dated back to an early tournament, maybe the first to 1543. But there are a few who dismiss this notion and believe it was spawned in the city where it is still held Oristano way before the Spanish had set foot on Sardinia land. As there is evidence of horse breeding in Oristano from a letter sent to an English Friar in the 14th century.

Sa Sartiglia is its full name, and the word Sartiglia comes from the term Sortija which is actually derived from a latin term Sorticola which means fate, fortune and ring. The ring is a tin star with a hole in the centre, which hangs from a ribbon that is strung above the horseman's height across the street near the town cathedral. Horsemen aim their swords and gallop towards it at great speeds around the town centre. The number of stars caught on each day is a sign of wealth for the harvest and carpentry work that the corporations will get. It’s a fun event to see but can last six or seven hours. It just adds to the character of the town that not many people know about.

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Submitted : 2010-10-12    Word Count : 556    Times Viewed: 783