St. Blaise Church


The Parish Church of Villasor is dedicated to St. Blaise, the patron saint of the town, celebrated on 3rd February. The construction of the church dates back to the first half of the 16th century with a first Gothic-Aragonese style structure. The parish then underwent several transformations and imposing restorations carried out between the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries, which gave it a late Baroque style. The bell tower, eighteen metres high, has a square structure and five bells. On the sides of the church stand the two parish houses: the one on the left is now the boys’ oratory, while the one on the right has been the parish priest’s residence since 1930. Next to it, we find the oratory of the Confraternity of Our Lady of the Rosary, built in 1680. Inside the church has a Latin-cross plan and four chapels on each side. The building is divided into three naves. The central nave is barrel-vaulted. At the intersection with the transept, a large dome rises resting upon an octagonal drum built at the end of the 18th century.


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Villasor, known Bidd'e Sorris in Sardinian language, is a town twenty-five kilometers from Cagliari. With its almost seven thousand inhabitants, it lies on the fertile plains of southern Campidano sprinkled by Flumini Mannu River and other streams that have favored agriculture since Roman times, to which also a necropolis, the remains of a bridge and some settlements near the thermal spring of S'Acqua Cotta. date back
The territory of the current municipality of Villasor has been inhabited since ancient times, as evidenced by the numerous nuraghic traces found; of particular importance are the remains of the nuraghic complex known as Su Sonadori, discovered in 1994.
In Roman times, the territory of the town was exploited for cereal crops; after all, Sardinia became the granary of the Capital. It is no coincidence that the name of Sorres – House of Sorres, from which the current Villasor - is believed to derive from the Latin “horreum” which stands for granary, passing through the Sardinian bidd'e s’orris, which literally means a country with a great production of wheat.
Numerous archaeological finds from this period have been found: tombs, domestic furnishings, ornamental objects, as well as capitals, remains of columns, memorial stones. Unfortunately, there are no many information about Villasor and its neighboring villages in the period immediately following the fall of the Roman Empire. What it is almost certain is that its prosperity remained in the Byzantine era.
Between the IX and XV centuries, Sardinia was divided into four autonomous counties or districts: the Giudicati.
Villasor was part of the Giudicato of Cagliari and precisely of the administrative district (called Curatoria) known as Gippi (or Ippis). After the fall of the Giudicato of Cagliari, Curatoria of Trexenta and Ippis were assigned in 1326 to the Pisan counts of Gherardesca. Under the Pisans the town prospered, but at the end of the ‘300 it began its decline. Shortly the territory fell into the hands of the Arboreans (heirs of the Giudicato of Arborea, the only survivor of the four Giudicati).
Arborea and Aragon fought for a long time so that the territory of Villasor underwent a rapid depopulation process. Its rebirth may date back to 1414, when at the behest of King Alfonso of Aragon, the territory of the entire Curatoria of Parte Ippis was granted in fief to the Catalan Giovanni Siviller, customs officer of the Castle of Cagliari and crown prosecutor.
The attempt to repopulate the village of Sorres, almost completely abandoned due to plagues, famines and armed clashes, caused the violent reaction of the shepherds. Perhaps for this reason, in 1415 Siviller asked the Archbishop of Cagliari, Pietro Spinola, the authorization to build a fortress on an area owned by the Diocese of Cagliari.
The new fortress, the Castle or Siviller, was supposed to guarantee the defense of the inhabitants from the barbarian incursions, as well as from battles between the Aragonese army and that of the Giudicato of Arborea. Moreover, in compliance with the feudal laws, it housed the residence of the feudal lord. Since becoming a feud, Villasor began to represent a point of attraction, growing and prospering. The feud was one of the richest in Sardinia and then become, in 1594, marquisate with Philip II. The first marquis was James II Alagón. The marquisate remained until 1839, the year in which feudalism was abolished, and Villasor became an autonomous municipality.
The strong historical-cultural link between Villasor and the Aragonese municipality of Alagón (a Spanish village few kilometers far from Zaragoza) is the basis of the European Institutional Twinning Pact signed between the two countries on 28 July 2018, during the City Council held in the Siviller Castle court.

The modern town

The center grew in importance with the construction of the railway line Cagliari - Villasor in 1871.
Villasor is also known for the sugar factory, inaugurated in the summer of 1960, which made it one of the most important centers of cultivation and processing of the sugar beet of Sardinia, but also on national level. For years, the sugar factory was a symbol of the economic miracle of Villasor, but after decades of operation it was definitively abandoned in 2005 because of the gradual decrease of the cultivation of sugar beet.
Furthermore, the countryside around Villasor is always known for its cereal crops and for a fairly good wine production, thanks to the fertility of its land. Today it is famous for its typical spiny artichoke, known as Carciofo spinoso, a cultivation of ancient tradition in Sardinia. However the actual cultivation can be dated around 1920, especially in the coastal areas of the province of Sassari and Cagliari, whose presence of ports favored connections and trade with the peninsula. Local agricultural producers have created forms of cooperation for its commercialization. In 1961, on the initiative of a group of farmers, the "Ortofrutticola Villasor Agricultural Cooperative" has been created in Villasor. Today it represents one of the most important realities in Sardinia among the fruit and vegetable sector. Traditionally, the artichoke cultivation was carried out following the natural cycle of the plant. Then an important turning point has been the identification of an ecotype that allow to anticipate the productions also in autumn. Subsequently farmers have improved this ecotype from which the current Sardinian spiny artichoke is derived, a real product of excellence.
For this reason, the goal is to make the Artichoke Festival, recently established in 2018, an annual appointment of the regional food and wine farming agenda, aimed at enhancing this particular artichoke species.
The Artichoke Festival is held in the autumn in the historic center of Villasor during the first weekend of December and it involves all the local productive realities, cultural associations, artists and citizens.
The agricultural tradition is so rooted in the social and cultural structure of the town that is reflected also in many religious celebrations. The most characteristic is the cult of Saint Isidoro, a saint canonized in 1622, considered the patron of farmers in many Sardinian countries with an agricultural vocation. The Festival is held on May 15th; a large parade of folk groups and festively decorated oxen that ideally represent peasant pride. Others celebrations regards saints such as Saint Biagio, Saint Antioco and Saint Vitalia, which represent the most heartfelt festivals in the town.


Going along the road that goes from the Castle to the City Hall, it is possible to follow the historical path of the town. The Siviller Castle is now located almost in a central position in the center of Villasor, near Matteotti Square with the City Hall built of 1934. The Parish Church overlooks on the complex of the main squares. It dated back to the first half of the fifteenth century but completed in the first half of the sixteenth century in Gothic-Aragonese style. The Church is dedicated to Saint Biagio, Patron Saint of Villasor, whose religious celebrations take place on February 3rd. He is invoked for throat disorders because of his the legend that tells he saved a boy who had a fishbone stuck in his trachea. This miracle is symbolically alluded to by the traditional ritual of blessing two crossed candles on the throat of the faithful. Castle, Parish Church and the City Hall representing the religious and political power, formed the central aggregation pole, around which the town center developed.
One of the most significant site for the historical identity of Villasor is the complex formed by Saint Antioco Church and the Capuchins Convent: in December 1629, the first stone was laid for his construction and then completed thanks to the offers of the population, as evidence of a strong bond between the town and the Order. The Church, adjacent to the Convent and dating back to the early 17th century, is named after Saint Antioco, a Saint celebrated with particular devotion by peasants and invoked during periods of drought to obtain water in the countryside. The Festival is celebrated fifteen days after the Easter. This Festival is still deeply felt especially by the inhabitants living all around the area near the Church and the Convent, who love to proudly declare themselves as Is Guventaiusu, from the Sardinian name of the Convent.
The historic center of Villasor is full of clay houses, built with bricks made of this particular material known as ladiri. These kind of houses widespread both among the humble peasant families and those of the wealthy landowners, but different in size, features and decorations. Nowadays it is possible to admire them in the historic center thanks to a newfound sensibility towards these building techniques and a careful recovery activity. The Municipality of Villasor is in fact a member of an international association with the purpose to preserve the ladiri material, and periodically it promotes initiatives that involve scholars and experts of international level with the aim of enhancing the building heritage in ladiri.
The acquisition and the restoration by the Municipality of some typical houses made of ladiri, known also as Campidanesi house, such as Casa Medda and Casa Podda, located near the area around the Convent, it was intended to give back to the citizenship an identity space, but also to include it in a tourist cultural context.
Leaving Villasor towards Villacidro, you can admire the small country church of the end of the 1800s dedicated to Saint Vitalia, a martyr venerated in several villages of the Campidano area, which gave its name to the district of the same name.
A few kilometers away from Villasor, on the road 196, it extends a green area called Su Pardu, which takes its name from its ancient water springs. It represents the largest park together with Is Arenas Sport Center, located in the opposite side of the town and belong to the district known as S'Isca.
Su Pardu covers an area of over ten hectares of wood, where families and sportsmen use to spend their free time thanks to the presence of modern furnishings and equipment.
Along the same road, there is one of the oldest springs, S’Acqua Cotta. It is a thermal water that gushes out at 46 degrees. Turning towards Vallermosa, you will go along the low hill on which rises the nuraghic complex Su Sonadori, maybe the biggest nuraghic testimony of an ancient settlement dating between the middle and recent Bronze Age. The building stands on a rocky spur, in the middle of an alluvial basin surrounded by low hills. The site was affected by five excavation campaigns between 1994 and 2000 that discovered a complex consisting of a keep, a hexagonal body formed by six autonomous buildings, different in shape and size, connected by curtain walls.

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Text Management Dott.ssa Colette Podda

Text by F. Virdis, Arte e Architettura civile e religiosa a Villasor e Santa Vitalia a Villasor. Il fascino di un culto.

Photography by Ignazio Virdis.