San Salvatore di Sinis, the town of the spaghetti western

San Salvatore di Sinis is located on the Sinis peninsula, in the central western part of Sardinia, close to the amazing ancient city of Tharros. Over the centuries, this little town has hosted different civilizations, which left various traces of their presence on the territory. However, San Salvatore di Sinis played also an important role in the history of the Italian cinema, as for years was considered the Italian “Far West” and served as a cinematographic set for different spaghetti western productions. An exceptional and particular town which should definitely be visited by the fans of cinema and history.

History of San Salvatore di Sinis

The village owes its name to a small church from the 17th century, located in the center of the town. But the temple of San Salvatore served not only as a Christian shrine; in the past, this particular spot has been the place of worship of different civilizations. In fact, the undergrounds of the temple hide an ancient pagan sanctuary, which was used by the nuragics and the Romans. The hypogeum, which can be accessed by small stairs, was built around a well, located in the main room of the shrine, and was transformed into a Christian church in the 4th century. The walls of the hypogeum still conserve some inscriptions in Greek, Latin, as well as in Arabic, which come probably from the Medieval. Around the church, there are some little houses called cumbessias, which served as shelters to pilgirims coming to the town.

San Salvatore di Sinis, a cinematographic set

The little town became well-known in the sixties and seventies thanks to its role as the cinematographic set in the Italian productions called “spaghetti western”. Its resemblance to the southern parts of the US as well as to the Mexican villages made of the town a perfect location for this kind of movies. The village hosted some of the most important productions of this kind in Italy, among which the western with Clint Eastwood from 1964 “Per un pugno di dollari” (A fistful of dollars), directed by Sergio Leone.

San Salvatore di Sinis nowadays

Nowadays, during the year the village of San Salvatore di Sinis is uninhabited and it becomes populated only at the beginning of September during the celebrations of the San Salvatore festivity. The most important element of the celebrations is the so called “Corsa degli Scalzi”, a barefoot run. During the 7-kilometers-long run, the participants who wear no shoes, bring the statue of San Salvatore from the town of Cabras to the church of San Salvatore di Sinis.