Sedini – in the province of Sassari, Sardinia – is home to the “cathedral” of the “Domus de Janas”.
Anthropologist Ignazio E. Buttitta can explain what those are exactly: “They are a range of small, artificial caves made by excavating blocks out of rocky walls, usually for collective burials. The Domus were built in the 4th-3rd millennia BC, and are widespread on the island.”
Sedini’s is the largest Domus in Sardinia, and is right on the town’s main street, unlike the large majority of similar structures in the region, which are mostly isolated in the middle of nowhere.
As for the name, Buttitta says, “‘Domus de Janas’ translates into ‘Home of the Janas’, which is most commonly held to mean ‘witches’ or ‘fairies’.”
“This necessary double translation,” he continues, “is only apparently contradictory. While ‘witches’ are seen as nefarious and evil and ‘fairies’ are positive creatures that bring wellbeing, the ‘janas’ are ‘evil witches’ and ‘good fairies’ at the same time. They are supernatural and mysterious witch-fairies, powerful, non-human female entities who interfere with humans, bringing death and tragedy some times and life and wealth others. The important thing is ‘understanding’ them, and knowing the ways and times you can earn their goodwill” (translated from I. E. Buttitta, “Verità e menzogna dei simboli”, Meltemi, Rome 2008).
Now you know everything you need to know to fully appreciate the cathedral of Sardinian Domus.