The minor churches and The Sassu Museum

This itinerary foresees a visit to the minor churches of the village, to some historical houses and the museum dedicated to the painter Aligi Sassu. Coming from Alghero, on the main road via Medaglia d’Oro Demartini, we come across a small square in which we find the chiesa di S. Sebastiano, built, or maybe only expanded, in XVIII century. The outside is very simple, with its wooden roof mounted with a stone cross. The main body is divided into three spans with three lateral chapels – according to the canons of the order of the Cappuccini, it is enhanced by the wooden altar, by the choir and by several works of art. The convent annex, from here only the cloister is visible, following the suppression of the religious orders became an integral part of the history of the village. It has been, in fact, a locality for schools, offices, artisans laboratories and council housing.

Following on, we reach a crossroads from which start the roads which take us toward the centre of the village. At this point a beautiful muralcan be seen which illustrates the festival of N.S. of Seunis, which is very important to the Tiesini. Once we have taken the road for the centre, via Roma, after a few tens of metres we meet the church of S. Croce on the left, very probably built in the first half of the 1600s. The outside is in renaissance style and has a gable topped door on top of which there is a rectangular window. On the top of the wooden roof we can admire an oak cross decorated with roses and spirals. Inside the main body is in the form of a groined vault, divided into three spans. Originally, there were two chapels on the left, later there was a demolition to favour the building of a road that passes by the building. Amongst the works present inside, we should note the precious wooden pulpit mounted on a decorated base, the wooden altar and the statue of Christ’s crucifixion used during the rites of the Saint’s week. In the past it was the headquarters of the Confraternita della Santa Croce.

The walk continues along via Roma until, before it becomes narrower, we take a small road on the right that takes us to the chiesa di S. Antonio, built by Signora Domenica Angela Fadda Delitala in about 1650, recently restored with the generous contribution of Dottor Battistino Pinna (known as the lawyer s'avvocadeddu). The outside is divided in three sections divided by relief moulding; in the first at the bottom the architrave door opens, in the second a window. The gable is beneath a valuable rib vaulted bell tower. The main body is divided into three spans with groined vaults, as is the apse. Outside on the back walls, the only sundial in the village can be seen.

Back in via Roma we go on for about 100 metres up to number 112. This ancient building, known as Casa Flores, is important for the history of the village because from the two arched balcony the notary Francesco spoke to the people inciting them against their feudal landlords in November of 1795. After his speech the destruction of the palazzo baronale took place and the first anti-feudal pact of Sardinia between Thiesi, Cheremule and Bessude was agreed.

Once we have reached piazza Cavour, we turn left for viale Madonna di Seunis that takes us to the sanctuary of the same name, built presumably around halfway through the XVII century; the first citation in the parish registers goes back to 1637. The outside “curved at the top” in late mannerist style is embellished at the centre by a simple door beneath an arched mullioned window. The inside, nave with a single apse with lateral chapels divided by arches in all six, one of which is jewelled, is simple and plain. In each of the chapels, statues of minor saints connected to the religiousness of the village are preserved. The apse is enhanced by a large neo-classical altar that holds a shrine to the wooden simulacrum of the Virgin within it. The legend states that the church was built on the site of the discovery of the case that contains the simulacrum, which came to light during the works of ploughing of the fields. The view that you enjoy from the square is particularly beautiful, a meeting place for the Thiesini during the warm summer evenings.

Leaving the sanctuary we go into via Garau and, halfway along the road, the Aligi Sassu Museum is to be found. The permanent exhibition hosts a collection of 120 works of art. The exhibition offers a complete view of the different periods of inspiration for the artist and it is embellished by a magnificent fresco realized at the start of the 1960s in memory of the anti-feudal uprising, which began in Thiesi. Besides this, the artist decorated the outside of the ex-Istituto Tecnico Commerciale, with a ceramic that boasts the title “Life and nature,” to be seen in via Manzoni.

Other artists have decorated the village in recent years: along the main road of the middle school, in via G. Deledda, a work of art by the Sassari sculptor Gavino Tilocca is to be found; several murals by Pina Monne enrich the most suggestive views of the village representing typical activities, costumes, popular characters and traditional festivals.

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