|Coddhu Vecchju and Li Lolghi
19 May 2008
The bright pink of the main stele was the first thing to strike me about Coddhu Vecchju. This was my first tomba di giganti and I was very excited about it. Since I first leafed through TME and saw these incredible monuments in Sardinia I wanted to see them because they are stylistically unique to the Italian island and very beautiful.
Like many other, but not all, stele of the tombi di giganti, Coddhu Vecchju's stele is carved around the edges – to form a sort of cornice which has a kind of carved raised line or mullion through the middle separating the lower part of the stone (usually squarish in shape) with the upper part (usually arched in shape). Some look really quite phallic. And at the base, sometimes too small to fit a person through, is a small arched opening – what Julian calls a 'catflap'.
Coddhu Vecchju has, like most other tombi di giganti a forecourt area or 'esedra', formed by a line of stones sweeping curvaceously out from either side of the centrally placed stele.
As I stood before Coddhu Vecchju, I had the feeling that the tomb's curved arms were embracing me. This was a feeling that I would have again and again as I visited various T di Gs.
The tomb chamber itself runs back behind the stele and like most other tombi we saw, is constructed like a French allee couverte. Coddhu Vecchju's chamber is in good condition and retains most of its capstones.
Coddhu Vecchju is built on a slight gradient as the land rise gently out of a thickly wooded valley with a stream running along the bottom. So the curved arms of the tomb are not flat, they have been constructed so they echo the lie of the land – the west arm held up and the east arm down, like being embraced by a dancing partner.
The land rises more sharply on the other side of the stream and is now cultivated with lines of vines. This tomb was not meant to be seen in the landscape by all passers by like West Kennett, it is more hidden, private, intimate.
I was enraptured with the place. It wouldn't be the last time we'd see it.
But we had so many more to see! So we moved on, just a couple of kms to Li Lolghi.
Li Lolghi has the most terrific reveal. Walking up a little track past the biglietteria (ticket booth) you turn a corner and suddenly it's there like an old friend standing on a hilltop waving 'ciao!'
Because it stands at the top of a little rise it looks even bigger - and it's pretty damned big to begin with. Li Lolghi's stele is more tapered in shape than arched and the chunk missing at the top simply adds character and charm.
Indeed it's so spectacular that I actually shivered in delight when I pressed myself against its pink lichen covered warm flatness.The slabs that form the monument's curved arms are equally flat and reminded me of the squary flatness of some of the stones at Callanish.
I wanted to make a drawing but the light drizzle and overcast light was not good enough. We'd have to come back here. As it was we were very tried having risen at stupid o'clock to get a 6am flight and my head was beginning to spin. Time to return to our apartment in Cannigione to sleep and dream of the wondrous tombi we'd seen and all those we had still to see.