Built in the 12th century, Malaspina Castle, set atop the Seravalle Hill, overlooks the colourful houses of Sas Covas, the medieval streets, which cascade downwards towards the town below. Formerly located in the shadow of St. Peter’s Church to the east, the ‘new’ town was moved to nestle under the protection of the hill and castle, with the Cathedral becoming the parish church, and making the town less vulnerable to invaders.
A small admission fee gives you leave to explore the ruins of the castle, with an information sheet (available in English) and your imagination to conjure up a picture of the important defensive role the castle with its walls and towers formed through the centuries. The Church of Regnos Altos is still in use, especially for festival events, and inside can be seen the 14th century frescoes, discovered and restored less than 100 years ago, depicting the Adoration of the Magi, the Last Supper, St George and the Dragon, and St Christopher – and more besides.
At certain times during the Summer months, the Castle and/or the Cathedral become the focal point of traditional feasts and celebrations at which visitors are welcome. To get caught up in the festive, sometimes slightly chaotic nature of these events is to truly feel a part of the town and its history.
This writer’s favourite time of year is to be in Bosa for the Feast of Our Lady of Regnos Altos, held annually over the second weekend of September. Leading up to the festivities, there is much activity in the streets of the old town as the locals spend much time, care and artistic licence building colourful shrines to Our Lady. Decked in drapes, traditional lace, reeds, branches, flowers, candles – the shrines range from simple to very ornate, and as you wander along this is a wonderful opportunity to meet the locals, vigilant at their particular altars, say a quiet prayer or two if that is your inclination, admire their handiwork and take pictures – they will be delighted and so welcoming. Over the weekend tables are set up for the sharing of local food and drink. Processions take place though the town, culminating on Sunday evening with clergy, band, costumed folk groups and local people (and you!), walking through the old streets between cathedral and castle, to celebrate an open air Mass in the Castle grounds. A large platform is set up for the altar and the concelebrants so whether you are early enough to secure a seat, or simply to stand, to participate is an experience.
Check general opening times for the Castle, which vary according to season, wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to break your climb several times to wonder at the stunning views. At the foot of the Castle walls refreshment can be purchased from a café kiosk.