The popular legend that circulates around the fountain of the Billellera has deep origins and is a mixture of legend and history that still today hovers in the popular voices. A Gallurese saying says that “Sossù, Calangianus and Lodè are all three” and unites the three municipalities to popular legends of madness, but what madness do they talk about?
Let’s start with the historical origins of the fountain, made in the seventeenth century by Baron Deliperi and which is very reminiscent of the fountain of Rosello of Sassari, and the first legend was born on this similarity:
the story is based on the envy of the Sorsesi from the nearby fountain of Rosello of Sassari and that they would have devised the “crazy” feat of bringing it to Sorso by binding it with strong ropes. It was from this idea that the Sassaresi would have pointed to the Sorsesi as “macchi” and bringing this madness back to the water of the Billellera.
The second legend, on the other hand, would link the madness of Sorsesi to the fact that the fountain was excessively sumptuous for what was considered a modest country, insanely elegant for the possibilities of the community, thus becoming a judgment commonly shared by other neighboring communities so much to become label.
In reality there is also a historical reason, as recounted by Enrico Costa, which speaks of an economic agreement between the two cities that was not successful due to the shared use of the Rosello fountain. At this point the Sassaresi broke the agreement calling for an exclusivity of the same, which would have followed struggles between the two communities that ended with the resignation of the Sorsesi who built at this point the famous Sorsese fountain, which they said did not flow water, but excellent wine, and hence the call to the madness of the citizens.
The last historical reference, on the other hand, takes its origin from the plant of the hellebore (from which the fountain takes its name), a poisonous plant that in ancient times was used to cure epilepsy or madness, to which it is has been given the power to make people who drink its infusions mad. Finding this plant near the fountain was given the power, to the fountain itself, to make people who would drink its water mad.
In reality the Sorsesi are proud of their madness, but understood as an excess of intelligence that makes them superior to others precisely because of their inspiration, and history is full of examples of Sorsesi who distinguished themselves for their qualities.
The Sorsesi like to reply to those who accuse them of being “macchi” with the affirmation that “lu more maccu of Sossu pò fà lu sindacu of Sassari”, that is that the craziest of Sorso can easily make the mayor in Sassari