A stone house, by turquoise fixtures, guarded in the heart of Gergei, a historical village of Sardinia. Carefully restored, today welcomes those who want to know a less touristy and more real Sardinia, in which it is possible to come into contact, up close, with leading food and cultural traditions of the Island. "Domu Antiga” (old house) It has become an example for those who want to make you feel welcome in this corner of Sardinia, in the province of Cagliari, thanks to the brave and farsighted entrepreneurial initiative of the Lai family. The idea comes from an intuition of Samuel Lai, he bought an old house in the old town to renovate it and go and live. After the restructuring, Samuel understood to have given birth to an enchanted place, an oasis of peace and decided to open it to the guests. His parents, Arnaldo (newsagent and restaurant owner) and Maria Grazia (owner of a florist), They have left their jobs and now devote themselves entirely to work in Domu Antiga, which is managed in a completely family environment.
Today Domu Antiga is not only a reality that gives an income to Samuel, his parents and his sister Julia, from infectious smile and eyes that speak, but an entrepreneurial activity that is good for the area. Because, thanks to initiatives like this, the other businesses in the neighborhood can be known and to broaden their market horizons. And Gergei, 1,300 inhabitants, It opens up new possibilities. This small town, that is geographically far from the most popular destinations for those who usually attends Sardinia (the sea and the beaches), found in welcoming and experiential tourism a viable economic alternative. Gergei, like other centers of Sardinia, went through periods of emigration and find local young people involved in caring for a very demanding international clientele is really a nice surprise. The hope is that this type of Sardinia, and this kind of Italy, Italy of villages and food and cultural traditions, can become a resource for young people looking for a job, a resource that makes them decide to stay, or to return, just as he did Giulia.
The nineteenth-century structure is typical campidanese style: a central courtyard around which there are various environments. The kitchens, rooms, stables, the warehouses of agricultural tools. Today, while keeping intact the provision, everything has been renovated and made accessible to a modern tourist but attentive to the beauty and tranquility (in the rooms there are no TVs). The barn has become a cozy room, with private entrance and a color of sapphire window: Wall fixtures are still where the rings were tied animals. The barn, which is accessed via a staircase and a trapdoor, It is a very bright room, all in wood and Sardinian fabrics, where the sky comes from the eyelashes on awakening. Just five rooms, all personalized to detail and furnished with antique furniture and handmade Sardinian. The renovation was made using the same materials of when the house was built: Stone, lime, wood, cork and river reeds. All that decorates Domu Antiga comes from Sardinian artisans.
the backyard, shaded by a porch, overlooking the breakfast room: homemade jams, traditional breads, Sardinian honey and ham, pecorino and ricotta homemade by the same Samuel, who knows how to make even the dairyman. In addition, vegetables, Tarts, cakes with ricotta, of apples, Sardinian sweets. In the Hall, a beautiful fireplace, because the winter is really cold in Gergei, and utensils tin, as those once. In Sardinian costumes salt, hand-carved chests and carded wool and colored naturally, as it once was.
Everything is served on the table at breakfast, but also for lunch or dinner (only for hotel guests), It is prepared from the hands of Maria Grazia and Giulia, that Domu Antiga also take cooking classes and traditional sweets, to let guests in the true spirit of Sardinia. Even the kitchen overlooking the inner courtyard: is small, with a nice center table, indispensable for anyone who executes the hand doughs: from bread to pasta. And there is a large wood-burning oven, because things cooked the old have a taste out of the ordinary, able to take us back in time.
Who sleeps in Sa Domu Antiga can learn, if he wants, to prepare everything that tastes: the coccoi bread or civraxiu, made with Sardinian semolina type of Senatore Cappelli and the yeast; the Sardinian fregula, culurgiones (ravioli with a mint filling, potato and cheese), square ravioli with herbs, ricotta and saffron; are Succu (a very thin pasta cooked in the broth and seasoned with cheese and saffron); i piricchittus, amaretti, the sweet pardulas with ricotta; seadas with fresh cheese and honey. Giulia is one of the most active souls of Domu Antiga. After becoming a midwife, It started first for Australia, where he worked on a farm, and then to London, before returning to Sardinia and decide you want to work in tourism. That Julia is a light hand but determined in the dough, He is cheerful and enthusiastic. While dancing the typical Sardinian dance, He explains in English to tourists which are the basic ingredients to make seadas, he has prepared for us with citrus peel and honey (as you can see in this video).
And if Julia and Maria Grazia mom are the queens of the dough, Samuel, that sounds perfectly the organ, one of the instruments of the folk traditions of South Sardinia, He keeps guests courses on how to prepare the cheeses according to tradition, using an aluminum caldera, fresh and natural rennet. Produce ricotta, pecorino and casu axedu, a fresh cheese and sour, essential to prepare the typical "seadas". In season, Antiga Domu to eating out, under the patio, make ready in common tables with white tablecloths. At the table come the typical dishes of the country Sardinia: ravioli and know, thistles in oil, omelets with asparagus and herbs, are Succu, cheese and local charcuterie, pork or sheep. Domu Antiga is a perfect starting point to visit some of the landmarks of Sardinia: the Nuragic complex of Barumini (Unesco heritage), the Giara (with its wild horses), Isili the lakes and the Museum of the Copper and Fabrics, Arrubiu Nuraghe Orroli, Tombs of the giants in Nurallao, Mandi and her green train, but also dairy, craft shops and modern cellars.
Domu Antiga was the first experiment of the Lai family, quickly followed by a new restructuring curated by Giulia, who decided to keep alive the memory of Mario Cesare, a painter of Gergei, He born in the thirties and disappeared in the Noughties. After his death, the little house, jealously guarded and located a few meters away from Domu Antiga, It was taken over by Giulia, who decided to renovate it personally making an exclusive residence, a sort of bed and breakfast (even if it is an understatement to call it that way) where guests can breathe the air of creativity in which he lived the Sardinian artist. Some of his works are still on display in the building that, in addition to an intimate garden of citrus and olive trees, It consists of rooms, bathrooms and kitchen that Julia has simply chosen to revive, without making substantial changes, keeping intact the atmosphere and the memory of the painter Mario Cesare.
(visited in May 2018)
Former STYLE, via IV Mori. Gergei (Cagliari)
Mario Cesare, via Logudoro 19, Gergei (Cagliari)