Barbagia is a large mountainous area in the central-eastern part of the Italian island Sardinia with beautiful nature and little isolated villages where people still live respecting traditions, working most of sheep-farming and breeding. One of these villages is Sedilo, where every year on July 6th a hundred of the best, most daring and brave horse riders participate in a wild and unrestrained race; S'ardia.
They don't run for money or glory but to show their devotion to a warrior saint never approved by the Vatican Church. Sedilo's people continue to recognize Saint Costantine as a saint and celebrate his deeds and courage in defending the weak.
Riders race down the hill at full gallop, pounding towards the narrow entrance below the Arc of Constantine amid rifle shots and clouds of dust. The speed is crazy and a mistake can be lethal. The last death occured in 2009.
The dust filled air, harsh with the smell of gunpowder and the crowd's frenzy bring Sedilo and it's devout inhabitants back to a time long gone.
Mattia Vacca ITALY
Mattia Vacca is a freelance photojournalist and a documentary photographer.
He graduated with a BA in Science of Communication and completed a MA in Cinema and Journalism at USI/Università della Svizzera italiana in Lugano. He was selected for two editions of the Masterclass FSS Film Studies and Documentary Filmmaking in Locarno. For ten years, he was a daily contributor for Il Corriere della Sera covering the breaking news stories in Northern Italy.
At this time he is working on various personal projects focused on social issues and the consequences of the armed conflicts around the world.
His first self-published photobook, A Winter’s Tale, came out in 2014 thanks to a crowdfunding campaign. He was also a TEDx speaker.
His work was featured on The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Indipendent, ZEIT, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, France Soir, Daily Mirror, BBC, VICE, Sette, Vanity Fair, Elle Decor, Private Photoreview, L'Oeil de la Photographie, Il Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, La Stampa, il Fatto Quotidiano, il Giornale, il Messaggero, Libero, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Etiqueta Negra, Sportweek, Open Migration, Wu Magazine, Bak, Fstop, Bild der Frau, Mercure Liquide, I Meridiani.
He received numerous awards, including Sony World Photography Awards, Royal Photographic Society Awards, Unesco Humanity Photo Awards, Renaissance Prize, New York Photo Awards, International Photography Awards, Foto 8 Summershow, Phodar Biennial.
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