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The Church of San Pietro

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THE CHURCH OF SAN PIETRO

The country church dedicated to St. Peter, with that unmistakable, white angular facade that stands out against the backdrop of the mountains separating Golgo from the sea, is one of the most famous sites on the plateau, visited each year by thousands of tourists. According to tradition, the church, located about 8 km from Baunei, was built between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries thanks to donations by Golgo herdsmen who did not want to miss the most important religious events. However, the earliest evidence of the festivities in honour of St. Peter goes back to the beginning of the seventeenth century (1606) and is mentioned in documents (kept in the State Archives in Cagliari) relating to disputes between Baunei and Urzulei on jurisdiction over land at the border of the two towns. The architectural structure of the church is very simple: the interior consists of a single room, which is accessed by a wooden archway. The building, renovated internally in the seventies, is surrounded by a stone wall, enclosing “us istaulus” (from the Latin “stabulum”, meaning “barn”), the quarters that were used in the past by pilgrims who came to Golgo from Ogliastra on public holidays. Not far from the entrance stands an interesting anthropomorphic bethel from the Nuragic era.

The celebrations in honour of St. Peter, which take place on the last Sunday in June, are particularly evocative (up to the late nineteenth century there was also a horse race in which the best riders in the area competed against each other) especially because of the procession that takes place near the church, with the statue of the saint, glittering in its golden vestments, followed by the faithful in religious meditation. Such devotion, according to common opinion in the village, is due to a particular incident that apparently took place on the plateau and involved St. Peter himself. Legend has it that once upon a time the entire plateau was at the mercy of a vicious monster, “Sa Serpente”, a sort of evil dragon who would sometimes come out of the chasm of Golgo (“Su Sterru”) demanding human sacrifices. One day, however, St. Peter came to Baunei and, apprised of the situation, decided to solve the problem of “Sa Snake” once and for all. St. Peter he prevailed in the clash with the evil reptile and has been the most beloved saint of the Baunesis, eternally grateful for being freed from Golgo monster, ever since. According to another version of the legend, however, “Su Sterru” opened up the ground of Golgo, swallowing “Sa Serpente”, when St. Peter threw the evil monster to the ground.

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