Porto Flavia, the battle between beauty and memory
Porto Flavia, in the municipality of Iglesias, Sardinia, is swept by a strong wind of contrasting emotions. The daily battle that beauty engages against memory here is impalpable, yet impossible to ignore.
Generations of miners, searching for galena and calamine (now called smithsonite), dug into the womb of the furrowed rocks you can see dropping right into a breathtaking Mediterranean.
“Men covered in rags and dirt,” wrote Gabriele D’Annunzio in a report from 1882. Men “with wan faces, eyes reddened by the tormenting dust, their hair untamed”, who squeezed into blind caverns, and stayed there for twelve hours a day while nature outside put on its usual, luminous show: “A fresh fragrance of May roses […] comes from the flower beds: then, beyond them, the wild greenery of the mountains that extend to the sea, the white rocks…”
D’Annunzio described the view he saw over twenty years before Porto Flavia was built. He was talking about the Masua quarry, which had been active for decades already: in 1924 the harbor was built, in fact, to facilitate the operations by which the extracted minerals were loaded onto ships.
A placid ‘farglione’ called Pan di zucchero (literally, “sugarloaf”) rises in front of the port, in D’Annunzio’s words, “in sharp contrast with the background, like the bow of a submerged frigate”.
Past and present, beauty and hard, backbreaking work mix in Porto Flavia, in an experience you will cherish forever.