Our Number Six Reason for living in Sardinia is what I call Vanità Sarda, which lamely translates to Sardinian Vanity. What I mean by this is that Sardinians traditionally go the extra mile to create or to emanate beauty.
Nonna Annetta, Ivano’s grandmother, had nine children. Her husband was a shepherd and would spend days out in the mountains with his herd of goats while she was solely responsible for the herd inside the house. She baked bread from scratch. She fed them food that she foraged for. She washed their clothes in the river - the same river that she walked to in order to fill terracotta urns which she carried back uphill on the top of her head. There was no running water; there was no bathroom; there was no electricity. She was a busy, hard-working woman.
But every morning Annetta would wake up, brush out her waist-length hair with care, braid it methodically and pin it into an elaborate bun. Then she would cover her head with a scarf so that no one would ever see it and get on with her day’s work.
Each woman in Sulcis had two hairstyles to choose from, sa crocchia and is prettasa. Below Tzia Beatrice graciously demonstrates how she styles her is prettasa every morning:
Vanità Sarda often has to do with personal aesthetics and is beautifully displayed in the regionally specific traditional dress. However it extends far beyond folklore. Sardinia has a generally rich tradition of decorating everything from bread to pocketknives. Living here, I try to find a daily reminder in the fact that no matter how tough life can be, it only takes a little dedication to find the beauty - the life-saving, superfluous beauty - in it all.