I know the rhyme
needs a bit of work, but, indeed, in the 1960s, the tiny
town of San Salvatore di Sinis, on the west coast of
Sardinia, near Oristano on the Gulf of Otranto, was the
"on location" setting for many a so-called "Spaghetti
Western," (also known as "Italo-Western".) Most of the
films were made in the 1960s and were often
Italian-Spanish co-productions. They were generally shot
in Andalusia in Spain, in the Abruzzi region in Italy, or
in Sardinia; parts of Spain and Sardinia are
geographically strikingly reminiscent of the US Southwest.
Although most Spaghetti Westerns have become deservedly
obscure, some have not. For example, Quentin Tarantino
called Sergio Leone's The
Good, the Bad, and the Ugly —a 1966 film with
Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, and Lee van Cleef— "the
best-directed film of all time." Other well-known actors
who worked in the genre at various stages in their careers
were Charles Bronson, Joseph Cotten, Henry Fonda, Jack
Palance, Rod Steiger and Orson Welles.
NAPLES: LIFE, DEATH
& MIRACLES - ADJUNCT SECTION ON
High Noon in San
Salvatore di Sinis
As I walked out in Salvatore di
as I walked out
in di Sinis one day,
I spied an ol'
cowpoke all dressed in white linen,
he'd jus' been shot all to hell in one of
the Spaghetti Westerns
they used to make here.
The main square (the only square!) in the
town (photo, above) seems ready-made for the part. The
rows of pale, one-storey buildings (called cumbessìas) look as
if they should have some mighty mean hombres loitering out
in front; as a matter of fact, the movie "saloon" was even
open for tourists until some ornery varmints set fire to
it recently. In any event, the town, itself, is ancient
and the structures serve to house religious pilgrims who
frequent the area in late August and early September on
the occasion of the festival honoring the local saint.
Most of the year, the premises are vacant. There is a
local church, and there are paleo-Christian artifacts
going back to the fourth century AD.
As well, there are hypogaea
(underground chambers) with pre-Christian depictions of
Venus, Mars, Hercules, and Eros. That is not surprising,
given the location of S. Salvatore di Sinis; it is on the
Sinis peninsula near the gulf of Oristano and the Roman
settlement at Tharros.
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