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The Village of Sent Steva

The village of Sent Steva belonged to the curatoria of Balayana and has been linked to the Baldu Palace because of the permanence of the place name in the area, still known as Santo Stefano (Saint Stephen-Sent Steva) where there is a church dedicated to the martyr himself, and because this site is still within the Balaiana region.

We know about the village from fourteenth century sources which mention the payment of four lire to the Municipality of Pisa (fig. 1), on the basis of which its population has been estimated to consist of between thirty and sixty individuals.

Fig. 1 - Excerpt from the registry page containing the measures taken for the Giudicati of Gallura and Arborea (ASC, Antico Archivio Regio, reg. F1, f. 25) in which the villages of Locus Sancto, Ariaguono and Sant Steve are mentioned (from

The village has been given - for a long time and by various authors - different interpretations and was made to coincide with the spaces arranged around the courtyard of the Palace of Baldu (fig. 2).

Fig. 2 - The area surrounding the Palatzu of Baldu, seen from the North (photo by Unicity S.p.A.).

West of Lu Palatzu, near the church (fig. 3), several dividing walls have been identified which have led to two hypotheses: the first suggests that the walls are an extension of the village, larger than the known spaces; the second identifies it as the inhabitation, distinct from the complex: the latter would identify a building in its own right, around and outside which the village characterised by dwellings, craft and subsistence-based structures was located.

Fig. 3 - Church of S. Stefano (photo by Unicity S.p.A.).

The depopulation of the village may have occurred in the late fourteenth century, according to the statement by King Alfonso V of Aragon in the 1421 act which gave Rambaldo de Corbaria some lands as fief - including those of the village of Sent Steva - which had been uninhabited for approximately fifty years. This figure does not seem to coincide with the archaeological evidence, as the artefacts found during the site excavations document at least one inhabitation - if not a continuity of life – up until the fifteenth century.

The extinction of the town could well be due to the progressive depopulation which affected the whole district of Gallura from the fourteenth century, but the information gathered from the Fifteenth-century document might more appropriately show the end of the village as an administrative entity capable of centralising the population, which at that time, must have been spread throughout the countryside.



  • Archivo de la Corona de Aragón, Barcelona, reg. 2784, f. 96.
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  • V. ANGIUS, s.v. Gallura, in L. CARTA (a cura di), Città e villaggi della Sardegna dell’Ottocento, I, Abbasanta-Guspini, Nuoro 2006, pp. 470-528.
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