18 The  Satta-Bacciu  Story

Father "Babbai" Demelas


A potrait of Babbai and with his car, one of the very first in all of Sardinia

The other formidable character was Giovan Battista Demelas, the son of Anastasia Bacciu, who was ordained a priest in 19.. . Apparently, however, he did not take the vows of poverty, as he was a very wealthy man, who lived well and utilised his resourses to further his studies in archeology. He rode motor-cycles and was one of the first to own an automobile in Sardinia and thereafter frequently changed model. He was affable, cultured and talented in music.

"Babbai", as he was affectionately known to his relatives, travelled widely, never missing his annual holiday at the thermal baths of Montecatini. He played an important role in helping Giacobba rear her children after the premature death of her husband.

His other passion was archeology and he undertook extensive diggings at many Nuragic sites, seeking to understand the origins of the Sardinian people. He achieved considerable success in this work and produced numerous publications, eight books on theological themes and at least ten on tourist itineries and archeology. He had a lovely, easily readable style, showing a profound cultural knowledge and a deep human understanding. In fact his works could well be reprinted today, as they are still current and extremely interesting.  See index of publications.
Babbai, on an archeological excursion

His private collection of ancient artifacts built up enormously and included some priceless specimens, that were contended by the national museums. At his death in 19.. , Babbai bequeathed a vast cultural patrimony, including his entire collection of artifacts. Conscious of its important scientific value, his heirs donated it all to the local parrish church, together with a financial grant, to set up a museum in his honour. As the years passed, however, with nothing happening, they revoked the donation and made a new one to the local Town Hall. Alas, the monster of Italian Bureaucracy struck again, demolishing all good civic intentions and again nothing was done; only this time worse, as the collection mysteriously dissipated.  


One of the most important pieces, a Nuragic bronze anfora, being on temporary loan to the Sassari Museum, was fortunately saved and can be viewed there today.

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    Copyright L. Camillo 2010