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Sardinia

Province of Nuoro

Mamoiada

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Mamoiada

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General Information
Mamoiada is one of 52 municipalities of Province of Nuoro.
Inhabitants: includes approximately 2590 inhabitants.
Elevation: approximately 650 meters above sea level.
Border municipalities: Mamoiada borders : Fonni, Gavoi, Nuoro, Ollolai, Orani, Orgosolo, Sarule.
Postal code: 08024
Phone code: 0784
ISTAT code: 91046
Italian name of the inhabitants: mamoiadini


The Territory
The Village and it surrounding area
official web site
N.S. Loreto -Church
Comune of MAMOIADA (logo)
THE VILLAGE AND IT SURROUNDING AREA.
The town of Mamoiada can be reached from Cagliari, Sassari, Oristano and Ol-bia via Highway 131 and then the 131 turnoff to Nuoro, the Province’s chief town. From there, just get onto the new Freeway 389 towards Lanusei and Tortolì and the small town of Mamoiada is about 15 km away. (See the geo-graphic and sat map to the chapter “dove siamo” – where you are in the site www.mamoiada.org).
Mamoiada is a charming hillside town with a population of about 2,700, located at 650 meters above sea level. Its entire area barely covers 4,900 hectares of pastureland rich with livestock and numerous vineyards, which sustain its most thriving primary industries which feature the production of excellent wines and cheeses.
Just 5 Km away from Mamoiada is the Saints Cosma and Damiano Sanctuary. Since it dates back to the Seventh Century a.D., some researchers believe it to be the oldest in the Barbagia area. Inside the church there is a seventeenth century niche in pink trachyte and some Byzantine-style frescos. Its walls fea-ture 14 well-made glazed ceramic panels depicting the Way of the Cross, which were created by the artist Jacinto Causada at the Alcora factory in Castellon de la Plana, Spain during the second half of the eighteenth century. On Good Fri-day in 1998, the entire world was able to admire these same panels when they featured in the “Via Crucis” proceedings officiated by Pope John Paul II at the Colosseum in Rome.
Symbolizing Mamoiada from an architectural point of view is the Church of Our Lady of Loreto, which is situated in the town centre and probably dates back to mediaeval times.
text and photos Raffaele Ballore - MORE INFO: www.mamoiada.org



History
BRIEF HISTORY
Brief History
Mamoiada’s history, between 550 b.C and 238 b.C (when the Carthaginians period Sardinia) and in the centuries following, coincides with that of a "proud mountain people, always defiant against foreign domination". Ancient archive documents refer to different versions of its name, i.e., Marmoiada, Mamoyata, Mamujata and Mamojada or Mamoiada in recent times.
Around the 11th Century, Mamoiada was part of the Giudicato di Arborea and subsequently of Ollolai’s Curatoria della Barbagia (curatorship-administration).
During the long period of Aragonese-Spanish domination (1324-1720), Ferdi-nand V, the King of Spain, assigned Mamoiada and other towns in the Nuoro area to Pietro Massa of Arborea. Then in 1604, the town became part of the Duchy of Mandas, a fief originally belonging to the Mazza family and subse-quently the Tellez-Giron.
In 1820, during Savoy domination, feudalism formally ceased with the issue of the “Editto delle Chiudende” (edict on enclosures), which permitted the alloca-tion of land to the local population, even though for various reasons, these al-locations were in fact nearly all redeemed by the town’s nobles.
With the end of the Sardegna-Piemonte reign in 1847 and the subsequent Unification of Italy, Mamoiada, together with the other towns in Sardinia and on the mainland adapted to the new political situation and the various socio-economic developments and changes which are still ongoing.
text and photos Raffaele Ballore - MORE INFO: www.mamoiada.org


Folklore, Culture and Traditions
FAIRS and FESTIVALS
Mask of Mamuthone
Typical costumes
Mamuthone
Mamuthone and Issohadore
FAIRS and FESTIVALS
Several country fairs and festivals are held in Mamoiada during the year. Amongst these are the agro-food and local crafts fairs and the local Saints’ days in honor of Saints Cosma e Damiano (Cosmas and Damian), San Sebas-tiano (Saint Sebastian), Madonna del Carmelo (Our Lady of Carmel) and the Madonna de Loreto attesu (of the Snow). In the past, locals felt very strongly about “Santu Sidore” (Saint Isidore) and his feast day, which was one of the biggest and most eagerly awaited, was celebrated until the sixties.
One of the festivals the people of Mamoiada still hold very dear is that in honor of Sant’Antoni (Saint Anthony the Abbot), which is held on 16/17 January each year originated in remote ancient times as an expiatory rite in favor of the new harvest year. The celebrations begin on the evening of 16 January (sa die de su Pesperu) with the kindling and benediction of the fire outside the parish church. The faithful walk around the fire reciting the Apostles’ Creed three times. Tradition dictates that each section of the town then lights its own fire with an ember taken from the main one in honor of the Saint. The people in every section of the town gather around their large votive fires.
It’s a moment of great social participation, which is also extended to the for-eign visitors staying in every neighborhood and to whom good wine and local sweet products of the season are offered.
It is during this festival that the sos Mamuthones and sos Issohadores ap-pear for the first time during the year.
On the contrary, the festival in honor of Saints Cosmas and Damian represents the end of the agricultural harvest year. It is held 5 kilometers outside the town in the country shrine named after these Saints. During the summer sea-son, numerous pilgrims attend this shrine, where it is possible to stay in the picturesque hùmbessias (typical rooms) that surround the church. The celebra-tions in honor of the two Saints which are held at the end of September, are brought to a close with religious, musical and local folkloric events.
Amongst Sardinia’s most ancient popular festivals rich with folklore is the Carnevale Mamoiadino (Mamoiada’s Mardi Gras or pre-Lenten celebrations). It’s a simple and meager event in the sense that it lacks the usual sophisti-cated symbolic floats featuring papier-mâché characters and other modern masquerades but it is also amongst the most charming and authentic.
All of Mamoiada pours into the main “piazza” (central square) to dance the tra-ditional passu torrau and sartiu to the sound of the organetto (diatonic accor-dion) untiringly, for hours and hours. Nothing is affected or imported, other than, of course, the tourists who each year arrive in ever growing numbers from every part of the world to witness this genuine spectacle. Many stay with the local families (contact the local tourism Associations and Bad and Breakfast to enquire about availability).
Whilst parading and dancing, men and women dressed in traditional costume offer everyone locally-made sweet products.
However, everyone’s attention is really drawn to what is the symbol of this Carnival, the Mamuthones and Issohadores who fascinate and involve the crowd with their parading to the tune of their rhythmical “music”. They move spontaneously, without interrupting the composure of their dance. They are the real masters of the Mamoiada’s Carnival.
The residents of Mamoiada maintain that, «Without the Mamuthones and the Issohadores, there is not Carnival ». (All the hipothesis and studyes in web site www.mamoiada.org).
Another symbol of Mamoiada’s Carnival is the other classic mask called the Ju-vanne Martis, which represents Fat Tuesday (or Mardi Gras) and is placed on a cart and surrounded by a limited circle of “relatives” crying over the death of the last day of Carnival.
At the end of the three days of dancing and parades in the central square, the people present are offered the local dish of broad beans with pork accompanied by the excellent local wine.
text and photos Raffaele Ballore - MORE INFO: www.mamoiada.org


Monuments and Places
ARCHEOLOGICAL HERITAGE
Menhir "Perda Pintà"
Domos de Janas "Istevene"
Domos de Janas "Istevene" -detail
Archaeological Heritage
Mamoiada has vast areas of archaeological interest. Since there is substantial evidence of very ancient civilizations in the area, it must be concluded that human settlement in this town dates back to very distant times, i.e., XV-XIII Century b.C.
The numerous Nuraghi are linear in structure and are mainly situated in the most fertile areas where water is available. The ruins of villages are still evi-dent around some of the Nuraghi and where these are missing, it is assumed they were destroyed in the process of fencing off the fields. Some examples are: “Arràilo” in the sa Pruna area on the road to Orani; “Monte Juradu” on the road to Sarule and “Orgurù” on the road to Fonni. There are also numerous small tombs dug in granite called the “Domus de Janas”, which date back to the Neolithic-Prenuraghic period. These can be found on the outskirts of the town at a location called “Mazzozzo”; near the country church called “Lo-ret’attesu” at “Garaunele” on the local road to Oliena; at a location called “S’Eredadu” and in other spots. Particularly interesting is a group of 6 “domos” known as the “Sas Honcheddas” at “Istevene” along Highway 389 to Fonni. Within the third “domo”, sculpted in relief on a rectangular column is the out-line of the head of a bull, which is regarded as a symbol of strength and fertil-ity. There are also several “Menhirs” or Perdas Longas, which are considered to be cult objects.
In recent times, March 1997, some rare stones were discovered. One example is a superb unclassified monolith which is unique in its kind because of its height (6.50m). Also found was a large granite “Menhir” statue known as “Sa Perda Pintà”, which measures 2.67m x 2.10m and probably dates back to the third millennium b.C.. What distinguishes this latter monolith is that it features a series of cupels and concentric engravings, which make it unique in its kind in Italy. It appears that a similar monolith has been found in Celtic area: Eng-land, Scotland and Brittany.(*)
Until about two centuries ago, many of the archaeological sites must have been pretty much intact. The subsequent destruction and “dismantling” of en-tire sites or single shafts, perdas longas and more did not specifically occur be-cause of vandalism or the construction of boundary walls.
Quoted below in the original language is a brief passage from the “Geographic, Historical, Statistical and Commercial Dictionary” of the States of His Majesty the King of Sardinia, compiled by Professor Goffredo Casalis at the beginning of 1800s, which refers to Mamoiada’s “relics”: «…up there on the boundaries with the slopes of Orgosolo and in the next area close to the slopes of Orani known as Venatieri large pyramid-shaped monoliths can be seen erect on the ground, of the same type that in other regions are called Pedras Fittas (Em-bedded-stones) and that number three with the biggest one in the middle. The first of suchlike monuments to be considered by me was the first. Before that day no other writer had ever considered them.
Anyone who has ever seen the Celtic stones known as Men-hir, which in the language of the Bretons means Stones (men) long (hir), on the shores of the Carnac (Morbihan, France) and then sees these Sardinian monoliths, which many call Pietre-fitte (Embedded-stones), because they are embedded into the ground and others call them Long Stones, will be able to recognize the great and nearly total similarity of such obelisks of the two towns in question, both in shape and from other points of view. However, in Sardinia these stones are located far away from each other and always in sets of three, two of which are smaller than the third whilst those in Brittany occur much more frequently, so much so that one could think they were monuments to the dead on top of the burial place of distinguished persons. Also, they are all the same height, which is the same as the average height of the Sardinians’ Long Stones.
Gullible country folk in many parts of Brittany maintain that at certain times of the year, goblins they call the Cornandous appear in the moonlight and do a diabolical dance around the Menhir and in the silence of the night, their strident voices are heard calling travelers who they try to lure by tinkling some gold. Equally some strange opinions regarding these monuments are held amongst the Sardinian mountain people. There are those who believe that dev-ils have treasures stored under those stones and that one cannot get to them as a thief, other than when it’s a Holy Year and the bad spirits are prevented from defending them. It was in the year of the General Jubilee that the Em-bedded Stones were toppled in many places, including one in the Mamojada area».
text and photos Raffaele Ballore - MORE INFO: www.mamoiada.org


Gastronomy, wine and typical products
Gastrinomy, wine and typical products
GASTRONOMY, WINE AND TYPICAL PRODUCTS
Locally hand-made and genuinely wholesome products include its bread (pane haresau), its cheeses and a vast range of typical local sweets.
The quality of wines, the Biancu and Nigheddu (black and white), is excellent.
Mamoiada’s craft industry produces antique furniture and its traditional chests, together with the now-famous Mamuthones and Issohadores costumes, which can only be obtained from the town’s few master craftsmen who continue to work in their small workshops, just like the ceramic miniatures and full reproductions of the Mamuthones and Issohadores.
text and photos Raffaele Ballore - MORE INFO: www.mamoiada.org




Sport, Fun and Free time

Events and appointments
MASK MEDITERRANEAN MUSEUM
MASK
MUSEUM
The Museum of Mediterranean masks evolved with the intention of creating a cultural link between the cultural universe of the small town of Mamoiada, which is known throughout the world for its traditional masks, the "Mamuthones" and "Issohadores", and other Mediterranean areas, which display a similar history and culture through their masks and Carnival Celebration.
The tour of the museum begins with a multivision scene which, through a sequence of projected images, various texts, recordings and background music, introduces the visitor to the festival of Carnival and the inhabitants of Mamoiada, whilst also giving an account of different interpretations, over the years, of the origins and function of the "Mamuthones ".
You are then transported to another scene, which illustrates a series of Sardinian and Mediterranean masks.
One wing of the room is made up of two large windows, which open out on to a view of the town, like the eyes of a mask, two costumed figures of the "Mamuthones" and one of the "Issohadore" are shown.
On either side of the room are all the traditional masks of Sardinia, the "Boes" and "Merdules" from Ottana and the "Thurpu" from Orotelli.
A glass display cabinet which runs the length of the wall, dispalys numerous masks form Mamoiada, some of which are of great historical value; there are also masks from Ottana which show different zoomorphic and anthropomorphic typologies.
In the centre of the room are two traditional costumes and masks from the Greek Island of Skiros, the "Geros" and "Korela", plus an example of the well know Slovenian mask, the "Kurent", which makes its appearance in all Carnival celebrations in the Balkan regions; there is also a traditional alpine mask, the "Rollate" from Sappada (Veneto region). Another glass display cabinet running the length of the wall, hosts masks from the Val di Fassa (Trentino region), from Croatia and from Bulgaria.
INFO www.museodellemaschere.it
Viseras piccola società cooperativa a r.l.
Piazza Europa, 15
08024 Mamoiada (NU) ITALY
P.I. 01128700919
Tel. 00 39 784 569018 Fax 00 39 784 56719
e-mail: info@museodellemaschere.it
Members:
PAFFI Gianluigi, cell. 00 39 3475504426
PAFFI Mario, cell. 00 39 3471367921
Opening time INFO www.museodellemaschere.it

Information to know
HELPFUL NUMBERS
Commune of Mamoiada
Corso Vittorio Emanuele III, 50
Tel. 00 39 784 56023 Fax 00 39 784 56700
Library
Piazza Europa, 15
Tel. 00 39 784 569018 Fax 00 39 784 56719
Tourist association "Pro-Loco"
Group of "Mamuthones" and "Issohadores" / Corps de ballet
Via Sardegna, 13
Tel. 00 39 784 56285 - 56241
www.mamuthonesmamoiada.it

Archaeological and naturalistic excursions
Tonino Costa
Via Giovanni XXIII, 91
Tel./Fax 00 39 784 402048 cell. 00 39 3392574474
Original masks of "Mamuthones" and "Issohadores"
Mameli Ruggero
Via Antonio Crisponi, 21
Tel. 00 39 784 56222

Bed & Breakfast
"Sa Perda Pintà"
da Maria Giovanna
Via Nuoro
Tel. 00 39 784 56689 cell. 00 39 3203520920

Bed & Breakfast
Titina
Via V. Emanuele, 124
Tel. 00 39 784 56065 cell. 00 39 3471754276

Restaurant Pizzeria
La Campagnola
Via Satta
Tel. 00 39 784 56075 Closing day: monday
www.lacampagnola.net

Restaurant: "Sa Rosada"
P.zza Europa, 2 tel 0784/56713 - www.sarosada.it

Pizzeria "Da Mommo"
Corso V. Emanuele, 82
Tel. 00 39 784 56444 Closing day: wednesday


The Piras-Peròn connection
The sensational book
EL PRESIDENTE - The Piras-Peròn connection,
THE LEGEND OF A SARDINIAN WHO MAY HAVE BECOME JUAN PERÓN
This is one of the most fascinating and mysterious cases in modern history. General Juan Perón, the mythic three-time president of Argentina, may very well have been an Italian, and, to be more precise, a Sardinian.
The claim may seem beyond belief at first, but many facts point to the conclusion that Perón was Sardinian. There was some faint talk to that effect already during the ‘40s and early ‘50s, but only in the small town of Mamoiada (located in the province of Nuoro), the town that was the seat of the opening stages of this incredible story. The claim really burst onto the scene, however, in 1951 with the publication of two articles written by the journalist and lawyer Nino Tola, and published in the newspaper “L’Unione Sarda” and (in excerpts) in “Il Giornale d’Italia”. At that time, even Tola himself was astounded by his findings, and his pieces aroused the curiosity of everyone who read them. Needless to say, in Sardinian cultural circles the reports stimulated a good deal of commentary, ranging from shock to dismay.
The matter was taken up again more than twenty years later by a very young resident of Mamoiada, Peppino Canneddu, and his findings appeared in 1984 in a book entitled “Juan Peron-Giovanni Piras: Two Names, a Single Person”, published by Antonio Lalli/Poggibonsi.
Early investigations suggested that Giovanni Piras, a humble peasant from Mamoiada who immigrated at a very young age to South America at the turn of the century, became none other than Juan Perón. For a long time the question fascinated a third researcher, Raffaele Ballore, who began his own investigations in 1993 and who started gathering materials that might be used for a film dealing with the subject (the end result was a screenplay registered with SIAE in Rome in 1998). But the research needed to be broadened and more systematic in order to discover the kind of documentation, both pro and con, that would address previously unresolved questions as to the like identify of the two persons involved-for only that way would it be possible to provide a solid foundation for establishing the truth or falsehood of this seemingly far-fetched hypothesis.
So what has changed since 1984 down to the present day? Have there been any new developments in the investigation? Has it become possible to substantiate this unlikely claim with rigorous research and reliable documentation? Many new elements have surfaced which have both increased our knowledge and complicated the matter. And although Ballore’s inquiry still moves in the same direction, the new documentary evidence has led him to shift his initial orientation. Doubts regarding the Piras-Perón connection were addressed, and the whole question was greatly clarified thanks to the meticulous research he published in his book, “El Presidente: The Piras- Perón Connection”, with the subtitle, “The Legend of a Sardinian Who May Have Become Juan Perón”.
In addition to disproving the Piras- Perón connection, the investigation also shed light on the many contradictions in Peron’s personal history and the gaps still unaccounted for by Argentine historians. The study made full use of documents and photographs, and was guided throughout solely by the objective of seeking the unvarnished truth in the matter.
Quite often what was said on the subject by local villagers, the “voice of the people” so to speak, turned out to have a substantial basis in fact. But it is also true that at times that “voice” amplified certain elements beyond their due and even distorted matters. Each proposition had to be checked against the facts, because it would have been only too easy to allow oneself to be carried away emotionally with the many clues which favored the notion that Perón was a son of Mamoiada. Indeed, at times it appeared as though a whole series of converging facts (some of them overstated, however) left no room for considering an alternative hypothesis.
An in-depth study was carried out to follow the path of Piras, who emigrated from Mamoiada in 1910, and Piras’ story was compared with particular phases of the life of Perón and the latter’s personal documents. After analyzing important documents of the General’s first wife and Piras’ military records showing his physical characteristics, Ballore was able to show decisively that Perón was not a native son of Mamoiada (at least not via Piras). Although the connection may persist as a folk legend, the study leaves no doubt as to the lack of scientific evidence to support the claim.
The author’s book includes some of these “voices of the people” and the evidence they gave in Sardinia. Many of them are quite startling in the coincidences they reveal, tending to sustain the notion of a Perón-Mamoiada connection. And though it is not possible to maintain a Piras-Perón connection in particular, they do point us in the direction of confirming the truth of another proposition: Perón was Sardinian. Furthermore, the book makes clear and unequivocal that the three-time president of Argentina had something to hide. The basic points supporting this contention are as follows: on the one hand, the oft-proclaimed Sardinian heritage of the General, but, on the other, the complete lack of any records to establish the ancestors’ presence on the island; the discovery of official documents related to the life of the Argentine leader which are clearly false; photographs of Perón as a young man and a military officer which do not correspond at all to his photos as a child and adolescent; the threats received by the journalist/lawyer Tola and the important unpublished evidence gathered by Franco Siddi (current President of the Italian National Press Federation). There is also a whole series of anomalies and incongruities in the official documentation of Perón as a military officer and his family.
Raffaele Ballore continues to pursue and believe in a Sardinian connection, even though he has not been able to pinpoint the locality of Perón’s origin-and, in fact, he refers to “Piras-Perón” throughout his book, though this double surname is used simply to make the case for a Sardinian Perón in general.
At this point many people have caught a case of “Peronitis”, because the story fascinates one and all. Some researchers have come up with written documents, others with oral statements, and others simply hint at clues to follow up. In this case, the more the merrier, because the historical truth will eventually emerge thanks to the contributions of countless investigators.
To arrive at the final word on the question of the Perón’s Sardinian origins, what is needed is genetic evidence, which, according the findings contained in the book “El Presidente”, could be obtained through a DNA analysis of the remains of Juan Perón and his mother, Juana Sosa. The reasons are set forth in the book, drawing on documents, photographs, and oral statements.
Tomás Eloy Martínez, a great writer and independent biographer of Perón, has written: “... Joseph Page and I have both discovered that writing the history of Perón is an unending project and that no one will ever write the final book on the subject.”
In South America it’s not easy to do historical research on this question: too many obstacles, too many closed doors, too much time lost in pursuing dead ends, and (why not admit it) too many interests of the Argentine State opposed to it.
Some writers, when trying to investigate Perón’s origins, have pointed out certain irregularities in the birth records of the General. Some explain this away by pointing to the possibility that Perón might have been embarrassed over his out-of-wedlock birth, while others can find no reason or explanation for it. Few, however, have attempted a systematic study of the matter. But a thorough and unbiased study of Perón’s life leaves no doubt that it’s a life filled with unexplained mysteries and surprises which raise serious questions. And this is all the more worthy of our attention because there now exists considerable additional material for historians to examine.
It should be pointed out that this matter fully deserves the kind of tough scrutiny and thorough investigation it has received. To look into the life of Perón in order to establish his true identity is in no way a slight to the people of Argentina, nor is it part of an effort to belittle their ex-President as an historical figure.
The author makes no attempt to assess Perón as a political leader, since that would require a knowledge and analysis of Perón’s actions and ideas that go beyond the scope of the book—though it does offer a background sketch of such matters. The author would merely point out that, if Perón won the Presidency three times in democratically held elections, for the people of Argentina he very likely had some positive qualities and accomplishments to his credit. And, in point of fact, even today both he and Evita (Perón’s second wife, who was both venerated and vilified) remain two great mythic figures within the Latin-American panorama. But the objective is neither to confirm nor to demolish any “myth”—rather it’s to advance the discussion as to the truth of a matter of particular historical interest. This book is not about judging the historical merits of Juan Perón, but rather about determining whether that figure who had such an impact on the historical stage of the 20th century is a son of Sardinia.
In one of the books of Enrique Pavón Pereyra, the personal biographer of Perón, there’s a striking remark made by Perón to his biographer while living in exile in his Madrid home. It shows how zealously Perón sought to conceal the origins of his birth, and it reads: “...My fortures were tied to a magical bet I made, and so far I’ve been able to keep my origins a deep secret.”
Above and beyond the incredible tale told in Raffaele Ballore’s “El Presidente”, there is another interesing fact that links the histories of Sardinia, Argentina, and their two capitals: the city of Buenos Aires takes its name from the Virgin of the Buona Aria, the patron saint of Cagliari and of the entire island of Sardinia.


Useful numbers

  Links

 MAMOIADA and THE MAMUTHONES - All to Mamoiada and his abitants, archeologi, products, ecc..
 The Museum of Mediterranean masks - The Museum of Mediterranean masks
 JANNAS SERVICES - Tourist and Cultural Services
 Homestay in Spain - Homestay accommodation in Spain and other places
 Homestay in Croatia - Stay with locals in Croatia

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