Friday, 1 April 2016

News from Santa Teresa Gallura ........... enjoying high summer

Santa Teresa Gallura on the north east coast of Sardinia according to one guide book comes alive in the summer.

It’s normal population of about 5,000 increases to between 10,000 and 15,000 during the tourist season.

And it is easy to see why.  It has all you might except of a holiday destination in the sun.  The beech is sandy, the water warm, there are views across to Corsica and there is a fort.

Added to which there are plenty of those tiny little streets that climb up to the church and main piazza which mix ordinary houses with workaday shops and the full range of touristy places which grew in number as you reach that town square.

On a hot summer’s day in high summer the streets are full of people many of whom gravitate to the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele I which is as you would expect is full of bars restaurants and shops.

On one of the many days we wandered into town the local council were mounting a play school in the place with dozens of children doing everything from hula hoop to ball games and a series of sack races using bin liners.

Now I have to say this last activity seemed pretty lethal given the number who fell over on to the hard tiled floor.

But the kids survived, and the locals looked on with that degree of disinterested interest which comes from living in the place all year round.

All of which was very different in February when despite a bright sun shining down many of the tourist shops and bars were closed and the Central Bar which was one of our haunts had cleared away its outside tables and chairs and offered a service confined to the inside.

But that is what happens to so many of those beloved tourist havens which for part of the year teem with multitudes of people and then sink into a quiet existence.

For of course it is not only the tourist who go but also many of those who work in the hotels and bars.

Sitting in a bar in the small village of Conca Verde we got into conversation with a group of hotel staff, one was from Sicily another from Naples and two more from the north.  All had been there since April and would stay till October.

After which like the people they served they would leave possibly never to return seeking a new resort with the new season.

I suppose it’s the bit of a holiday we forget or choose not to think about and instead sit back in the Central Bar order another espresso and watch the life of the town pass by.

And it is well to remember that while according to one source the island is in the best economic position among Italian regions south of Rome, unemployment rose from 8.6% in 2008 to 14.6% by 2012 which compared with 11.1% in the rest of the Peninsula.*

Added to which 25,000 of these had registered between July and September some of which had been in the tourist industry.

Of course this coincided with the general global trade depression and maybe three years on there has been an upturn.

Well we shall see.

*L’unione sarda. Disoccupati: è record nell@ Isola, LaBarbagia.net, dicembre 1 2012, http://www.labarbagia.net/rubriche/rassegna-stampa-di-michele-arbau/800/lunione-sarda-disoccupati-e-record-nellisola-

Pictures; in the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele I, Santa Teresa Gallura, August 2015 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

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