Trees Talking History

Oldes olive grove of Sardinia at Villamassargia

Oldest olive grove of Sardinia at Villamassargia

Once a year in October it is quite busy during the ‘Sagra degli Ulivi millenari di S’Ortu Mannu’ near Villamassargia, where you can taste olives and wine, buy any kind of local product, admire folk dance or the latest model tractor; the rest of the year S’Ortu Mannu is quiet and you can hear the olive trees talking history. After all, some of these Olea europaea must be extremely old as they measure more than 15 meters in circumference like Sa Reina (the Queen). The olive grove is 12 acres large and contains 600 olive trees of which many might well be older than 1000 years, planted in times of the castle of Joyous Guard (Castello di Gioiosa Guardia) that used to stand on top of the hill at which foot the olive grove is situated.
The olives and fresh sprouts are still harvested each year by families of Villamassargia. Interestingly, you may inherit a tree, even buy one, but you can never both own a tree and the land on which it grows. You either own the tree or the land. This age old custom had ‘recently’ to be confirmed in writing by article 28 extending municipal police law in 1932. I suspect vendettas over olives, trees, and land; with trees missing limbs here and there, having not told everything yet. Must go back later for some in depth photo reporting.

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