In Sardinia, Saint Valentine is su santu coiadori, the ‘saint who marries’. The only church on the island dedicated to the protector of lovers is in Sadali, a picturesque town with medieval origins and agro-pastoral traditions in the historical region of Barbagia di Seulo, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and a way station for the Trenino Verde. The village celebrates its patron saint three times a year: on the ‘classic’ date of 14th February, then on 8th May and 6th October. The devotion derives from a legend - a vagabond came carrying a statue of the saint, stopping in Sadali in front of a waterfall. Upon resuming his journey, despite all his efforts, he was unable to budge the statue. The people of Sadali jealously guarded the simulacrum, even erecting a ‘temple’ dedicated to the saint. From the parish church, the spectacle of nature perpetually flowing in front of this place of worship took its name - the Cascata di San Valentino, as the only waterfall on the island to flow within a town. Indeed, according to the canon and historian Flavio Cocco, who lived throughout the first half of the 20th century, it was the only such example in all of Europe.
The evocative waterfall seems to have been made especially for a visit on the most romantic day of the year to this pilgrim destination who have come here time immemorial to implore the saint to grant them the blessing of finding a companion. Powered by the wellhead Funtana Manna that ensures a cool climate all year round, its waters jump seven metres along a green rocky ridge. The flow ends, like that of the countless sources in Sadali, within sa Ucca Manna, an underground ravine, equipped with a stone access path.