Wandering Sardinia

The prickly pear cactus is everywhere in Sardinia, planted by shepherds to keep the sheep on the path. Some have been carved with the sweet words of love.

To A More Prickly Love in Sardinia

Updated Dec 20, 2020

The casual tourist happily trouncing around Italy may have noticed that many of that country’s medieval bridges have been festooned with locks upon which is written the names of young lovers whose bonds are as eternal as said locks. This is not, of course, “green” behavior. Like locks, love rusts, but the memory remains to fester in a somewhat ugly manner—forever, or at least close enough.

cactus writing
Sardinian love cactus goes international

Sardinia’s approach is simple, “green” and more realistic. You put those lover’s names on an ear of cactus of the type Sardinians plant along sheep paths to keep the sheep in line (do not read anything into the sheep reference, please!) The “prickly pears” or “figs of India” or fichi d’India as the fruits of this type of cactus is called in Sardinia, are boiled down and turned into sapa, which is used to sweeten particular types of Sardinian pastries. You can read something into this: love is sweet (for two or three years until the brain’s chemical reaction wears off, scientists tell us) but also prickly. Darned accurate in my experience.

But obviously this social transference of love’s sweet iconography is in its beta stage; here, as you can see in the picture, the protagonists are French. Just in case things don’t work out, perhaps the Italians will go back to using locks and the French can deal with the consequences. After all, divorce in Italy is a prickly proposition.