San Pantaleo in Sorso and the mystery of Barisone III

Chiesa di San Pantaleo. Interno. Immagine della metà del Novecento.

Among the arguments in support of the antiquity of the Parish of Sip and its importance within the policy judged , there is also one relating to the killing of Judge Torres Sip Barisone III , and his alleged burial in the church of San Pantaleo .

If it finds a mention in a report parish written in 1839 in response to questionnaires bishop .

The parish priest Don Lorenzo Nura, wrote in 1839 [1] in the church of San Pantaleo had been present Barisone the tomb of King III of Torres, as appeared by an inscription engraved on a tombstone . We know also that the Theologian Don Salvatore Oggiano , Nura ‘s predecessor at the helm of the parish, had given the historic Sardinian Pasquale Tola , during a visit to the scholar Sip , the news about the tombstone of the young prince , as proof of Sip in his killing and burial in the church of San Pantaleo .

This tombstone, if really existing , went probably lost during the reconstruction of the church, designed and directed by the architect ( and Franciscan friar ) Antonio Cano , because we did not receive any evidence of its existence. The intent of the Nura was perhaps to emphasize the historical importance of the parish entrusted to him by describing , in detail , not only the religious life and administration, but also at the same time tracing the glorious origins , based on ancient authors , the Fara and on oral tradition , and bringing in support of this claim the news about the tombstone of young Barisone :

” […] Although no monument is found not certain , that determines the precise time of its erection , however , would not be alien to the truth, if we speak of what the authors of National History would be fixed in the tenth century , in which, in state of prosperity there was the old Torres while Fara since the twelfth century called Sip = opidum distinguished . To be so, especially in the centuries of ignorance and invidezza , it would be necessary that at least two centuries , from this , precede its existence , and in which , in accordance with the prescribed fees of Sagri , this population had been erected in parochia : the more that before the middle of the 13th century in such a parochia was buried the body of Barisone III, King of Torres, as is clear from the tombstone , that in it there parochia with his lapidary inscription , and the bones of that Prince, that are preserved separated from all the others: azzardoso then would not it, to say , the Parochiale of Sip recognized his erection in the tenth century ” [2] .

Perhaps the news of the death of the prince to Sip had been taken from Fara ( who in turn had taken from the Liber iudicum turritanorum ) that, in the De Rebus Sardois , handed down this event , pointing to a Barisone , according to the court with this name ( according to Fara ) , who succeeded his father in the kingdom of Mariano Torres , who died at an early age and was buried in the church of San Pantaleo Sip [3] .

 In fact , historians of the nineteenth century spoke of the criminal act especially to refute the legend of the killing of the young prince to Sip rather than to support it , but the fact remains that the news of the death of the young Sip and burial in the parish church , was much debated topic in the nineteenth century by a number of scholars mainly because it showed that , at a certain moment in its history , Sip found itself at the center of the political events that shook the family Judicial. And although the evidence to support the veracity of these facts no longer exist today , the fact remains that there is some truth in what has been handed down .

The historic Sorso Nino Gaetano Madau Diaz [4] , in the second half of the last century , dwelt on the issue of the killing of Judge Barisone , in the days when the city of Sassari was trying to get his municipal autonomy , and the burial of Prince in the parish church of San Pantaleo at Sip .

Welcomed in this regard the version of La Marmora and concluded by saying that certainly Sassari , after buying more autonomy and throughout the Romangia , they could not allow that in the church of San Pantaleo was still clearly visible plaque which attributed the crime to a certain Peter sassarese so , probably , called plaque was removed , transported in Sassari and placed in a closet without destroying it but mutilating the part that indicated the Sassari as responsible for the crime .

According to the judgment of one historian of the Church of Sardinia, Monsignor Damiano Filia , who analyzed the events perhaps based on knowledge of the report prepared by the parish priest Nura and other similar pages written by historians of the nineteenth century (but mostly on Fara ) , which he regarded as reliable evidence , it appeared likely that the conspirators had reached Barisone of Sassari in Alghero , where probably relatives had done refuge , to protect it from the dangers of the crisis policy in place.

Also at that time assumed an accentuation of the antagonism between the two villas as it was in Sassari rapid rise to the municipal autonomy and Sassari he felt the intrusion . Traces of this ancient rivalry , albeit in a minimized and ridiculed , have survived to our times in the form of folk- legends .


San Pantaleo (2)The Canon Damiano Filia had included these topics in a speech in support of considerable antiquity of the parish Sorso , namely on 26 May 1950 , on the occasion of the solemn coronation of Our Lady of Noli Me Tollere , which took place just to ‘ interior of the church and not in the sanctuary of the Capuchins , which for centuries they guarded the statue .

To mark the occasion they produced a booklet , a unique number, entitled: Coronation of the SS . Virgin Tollere of Noli Me Sip , which collected the reports of the various preachers who had intervened to emphasize the importance of the event. Among these relationships , as already mentioned, is particularly interesting for the purposes of this research, it was revealed that of the canonical Filia [ 5], which drew the attention of the faithful on the origins of the rectory Sorso , highlighting the pre-eminence , from the point of view of history as well as religious , other scattered in the vast Sassari.

In fact, when , in the early years after the year one thousand , recently passed the crisis barbaric – Byzantine , was getting the written history of the island, Sip already appeared as the most populous town of Sassari .

In his speech, then corroborated the dating given by Nura priest who was about to ascend to the tenth century , the origin of the Parish Sorso , and therefore put the emphasis on the importance of this area , east of Turris Lybissonis (today’s Porto Torres) , which formerly had been assigned to settlers , Roman citizens , ie veterans sent to rest Turres , after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. He had imagined that these people had learned the Christian message through Turres , that since the fourth century was episcopal church .

In the early years after the year one thousand , the Christian community of Sip appears as rectory, in the same years of San Nicola di Sassari ( 1113-1130 ) .

The Canon Filia wanted to strengthen his argument in support of the antiquity of the Parish of San Pantaleo citing in his speech , also news of an economic and references to the main agricultural activity in the village of Sip , linked to the cultivation of the vine , which can be derived indirectly from condaghe of St. Nicholas of Trullas , , in a note of the valuable document reads: ” Woman Positinke Iorgia of Athen now knows his death dessa domo de Sip , cun onia pertinenthia his saltu de terras et et et de Binias court homines et et et cane palm . Testes : prebiteru Gunnari Arbarakkesu on de Siloke , et donnu Mariane of Athen donnu Ithoccor et de Thori de Setilo . Testes ” [6] .

The testatrix , Giorgia woman had taken part , 29 October 1113 , along with other members of the family Athen , among the most powerful of Logudoro , the foundation of the monastery of Trullas at Semer (SS) , entrusted to the monks of Camaldoli . Later the same Camaldolese community was nominated by her heir to his house Sip , with vineyards and other lands , including the servants who already worked , reeds and jump palmettos . Were present at the donation as witnesses , and Mariano Athen Itocorre de Thori , demonstrating that at that time were at Sip various representatives of the most important families of res judicata.

Other written sources attest to the presence Sip , even during the thirteenth century , the representatives of the main families of Torres , the document that proves it is the Liber judicum turritanorum , considered “the most ancient Sardinian chronicle ” [ 7] in which it is said that Barisone III , following the death of his father Mariano , and after a government of just three years (1233-1236) , died at Sip and his body was buried in the parish church : ” … domicellu Barisone on which istetit juigue apustis knows death of babu annos three o’clock ET on September 3 meses morisit in Romangia know in villa de Sip et fatet of corpuscular sou intro de sa ecclesia de santu Pantaleu ” [8] . Sip is therefore theater of the sad events that saw the killing of the young judge Barisone , on which , however, the Liber Iudicum Turritanorum does not dwell limited only to bring back the news.

The intervention of Monsignor Filia the ceremony of coronation of the Madonna Noli Me Tollere buy for us a very important both because it includes the testimonies of the parish priests of the past on the antiquity of the parish and for the recognition of the political importance of the territory Sorso view its location in a strategic position in front of the sea and country , next to the ancient Turris , and this justifies the direct presence in this village , the members of the ruling family.


pantaleoIt seems therefore useful to retrace part of the last events using as its source the Liber Iudicum Turritanorum edited by historian Henry Besta .

The judge Mariano II , according to the Liber , ” apustis death of de babu regnait greatly ” [9 ], this Mariano had three children by his wife Agnes: the first was Adelasia , which was given in marriage to Ubaldo di Gallura , the second daughter Benedetta , became the wife of the Earl of Ampurias in Catalonia , the third son was Barisone which as noted above was killed by the enemies of his father . [10] Grandfather of the young Barisone III was therefore the judge Comida [11] , one of four children of Gunnari : ” Comida Custu juigue regnait well . Multiplicait of regnu de dogni well … ” [12] .

Great-grandfather of the unfortunate judge Barisone died in infancy and was buried at Sip , according to the ancient chronicle , was therefore Gunnare . Even the youth of this character had been rather troubled : he was still a boy when he became an orphan of his father, the judge Constantine and his mother , a widow , he left for his Gunnare leaving Sicily to Sardinia. The body of Constantine was buried in the church of SS. Trinity Saccargia ; ” totu sos sos prelados et cleru cun totu lieros de Logudoro […] lu Portain in on monasteriu de sa holy Trinitade Sacargia de ecclesia et de sa intro sutteraintilu dae Nantis de altar of magiore […] et restende batia woman Marcuzia ” [13] , embarked and returned to Sicily to reach Messina , his hometown , and there founded a hospital.

Then left in Sardinia Gunari his only son , at an early age , the safety of which took charge of a character linked to the deceased judge Constantine by strong bonds of friendship and loyalty , ” Restende less of dictu juigue Gunari […] , you pesait unu lieru benevolent fidele et de iuigue Constantinu de sa land Matessi clamadu Itocor Cambellas […] . Comente morisit of babbu uncle east juigue Constantinu this s’indi de lu leait of dictu pizinnu pro dubidu not here lu boquiren sos de inimigos of babu , here fuit know Parida de sos On Athens Archiados et isos Trabunas , et que lu secretly to leait portu de Turres here Tandu habitadu fuit et de populadu mercantes pisanos homines et de ricos well [14] . The young Gunari was thus entrusted to a knight called Pisan mossen Ebriando , which took him to Pisa and gave the boy an education suited to his rank , finally giving him his daughter to wife . And Gunari , returned to Sardinia with his wife and father in law accompanied by Ebriando , was recognized as a legitimate judge and lord of Logudoro , took possession of his kingdom and settled in the palace of Ardara . Punished harshly with his former enemies , and were not spared the relatives of the family Attene Archiados of Pozzomaggiore which were reached and killed in the church of St. Nicholas of Trullas has always been very dear to the judges of the Logudoro . Did not forget to reward his faithful allies , chief among which was Ittocor Cambellas : ” … lu et feit cavalleri them donait sas villas detsa vile de sos jump Romangia cun et terras ” [15] .


Such news makes you want to hazard a connection with the family in mind, however, Gambella Sip in a period subsequent to these events: a Gonario Gambella had succeeded in 1430 in the possession of the manor , initially called Jericho y Tanegue and then Encontrada de Romangia to the De Senay Pilo y Castelvì [16] . In fact, the district had even been purchased by Gonario Gambella dall’algherese Don Pietro de Ferrerio after the De Senay Pilo had lost for tax purposes. Gonario , became Baron of Sip , feudal lord of the district of Romangia Gerido Taniga and at his death left his son Antonio as his sole heir , who in turn, in the absence of male descendants , it should send the feud and other assets to sons of their daughters Rose, Mary Magdalene and Marchesa and , in the absence of male descendants for his brother Juan Gambella .

Rosa , the eldest daughter of Antonio Gambella , he soon widow of Captain Angelo de Marongio , with whom she had a son.

Rose married his second wife, Gambella , the Viceroy of the Kingdom of Sardinia Ximen Perez Escriva de Romani, bringing with him the district of Sassari. After the wedding , Rose indicated with a special testament , her husband as heir , in case of his premature death , so when she died , the popular voice is attributed with the responsibility to the viceroy. These facts were narrated by Costa in his novel Rose Gambella [17] .

After these events opened a long period of litigation for the legitimate succession to the estate and , after several passages sent to the family Amat, the Marquis of San Filippo, who had added the patronymic Y Gambella to their family names . [15]

The coat of arms of the family Gambella , carved into a stone slab , still dominates the facade of a building in the current Via Fiorentina in Sip , the same symbol , in spite of some changes that occur over time , was chosen by the city governments as the distinctive emblem Sip of the town .

In conclusion we can only speculate , in the absence of documents, that the link between Gonario Gambella and the district of Romangia could be motivated by some descent from Gambella quell’Ittocor that , for being the protector and then faithful minister of the judge Gunnari ( great-grandfather the unfortunate Barisone III) , received as a reward the territory of Sassari which included Sip and its territory , as described above .



Vanna Pina Delogu       Sardegna Antica” ed è tratto dal libro La parrocchia di San Pantaleo in Sorso, edito da Carlo Delfino, Sassari in maggio 2012, € 39.00


San Pantaleo Santa Croce


San Pantaleo, editore Carlo Delfino, Sassari maggio 2012, € 39.00

Santa Croce, editore Documenta di Cargeghe (SS), gennaio 2013, € 18.00

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[1] Qualche notizia su questo parroco si trova nella sua relazione del 1839; cfr., ASPSPS, L. Nurra,  Relazione dello Stato della Parochia cit., Paragrafo duodecimo.

[2] L. NURRA, Della Chiesa Parochiale e sue pertinenze, in  Relazione dello stato della Parochia cit., Paragrafo primo.

[3] G. F. FARA, Ioannis Francisci Farae, Opera, De rebus Sardois, libro II,  Gallizzi, Sassari 1992, p. 304, l n. 31-33.    

[4] N. G. MADAU DIAZ, Periodo preromano, romano e medioevale, in  AA. VV., Sorso ed i sorsensi, Cagliari 1972, pp. 11-18. Il Madau Diaz è inoltre l’autore de Il codice degli statuti del libero Comune di Sassari, Editrice Sarda F.lli Fossataro, Cagliari 1969. Tale opera venne redatta dallo storico sorsense quando era stato chiamato a ricoprire l’incarico di Segretario Comunale nel Comune di Sassari.

[5] D. FILIA, La Chiesa di Sorso alla vigilia del Concilio di Trento, in  Numero Unico, Sorso 26 maggio 1950, pp. 10-12.

[6] P. MERCI, a cura di, Il condaghe di San Nicola di Trullas cit., 312 (carta 279, 278), p. 148. Sull’argomento vedere  inoltre: G. ZANETTI, I Camaldolesi in Sardegna, Cagliari 1974; Id., La Vicaria o Priorato Camaldolese di San Nicola di Trulla in Sardegna, estratto da Bollettino Storico Pisano –XLIII – 1974, Pisa.

[7] D. FILIA, La Chiesa di Sorso cit., pp. 10-12. 

[8] E. BESTA, Il liber Iudicum Turritanorum con altri documenti logudoresi; (titolo del ms. torinese: Condagues de Sardina), Palermo 1906, p. 11. Ibidem, nota n. 5. si precisa: “ Il C.D.S. (Condagues de Sardina) in senso analogo usa jaguet, ma la correzione qui non è sicura”.

[9] E. Besta, Il liber Iudicum Turritanorum cit., p. 10.

[10] Ibidem, p. 11.

[11]Ibidem, p. 6: Comida era stato il quarto figlio del giudice Gunari “apisit quimbe figios zo est domizellu Barizoni, domizellu Pedru, domicellu Ittocor (fa pensare ad un omaggio ad Ittocor Cambellas, protettore di Gunari), domicellu Comida[…]”.

[12] Ibidem, p. 10.

[13] Ibidem, p. 4

[14] Ibidem, pp. 4-5.

[15] Ibidem, p. 6.

[16] N. G. Madau Diaz, Breve storia di Sorso, in Sorso ed i sorsensi, pp. 10-48. Cfr., F. Floris, Feudi e Feudatari in Sardegna, Edizioni della Torre, Firenze 1996, vol. II, pp. 457-458.

[17] E. Costa, Rosa Gambella. Racconto storico sassarese del secolo XV, Ilisso, Nuoro 2004.

[18] N. G. Madau Diaz, Breve storia cit., pp. 22-26.

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