The charming little churches in Balai, Balai Vicino and Balai Lontano, are also linked to the devotion to the Holy Martyrs of Porto Torres. The church of Balai Vicino or San Gavino a Mare, set in the rock overlooking the sea, was in fact built in memory of their most ancient burial place. The building consists of a nave in limestone and it is next to some tombs dating back to Roman times. Inside the Hypogeum (a tomb excavated in a rock), which can be accessed from the church there are, still visible, niches where, according to tradition, the bodies of Gavino, Proto and Gianuario were hidden the day after their martyrdom, which happened in Turris Libisonis towards 303. Precious marks, left over time by the believers on its stones, tell visitors the story of an ancient devotion, still alive today among the population. From the 3rd May to the day of Pentecost, a period in which the wooden statues of the martyrs are kept inside, the church is a pilgrimage destination for crowds of faithfuls who pour from various parts of the city and neighboring towns.
Just two kilometers far from Balai Vicino, there is the small church of Balai Lontano, which stands on the cliff where the Three Saints were probably martyred. The building consists of a small room in limestone and barrel vault, it could be the reconstruction of a previous not easily dated building. In Balai Lontano, on 25th October, is celebrated the mass in memory of the martyrdom of St Gavino.
GPS 40°50’23.97” N 8°25’2.94” E