Cagliari Tourist Attractions
SituationCagliari (in Sardinian Casteddu), capital of the autonomous region of Sardinia and the province of Cagliari, lies on the south coast of the island - in the wide Gulf of Cagliari. The oldest part of the town, which was founded by the Phoenicians and became the Roman "Carales", is known as the Castello (Sardinian Castedd'e susu). It clings picturesquely to the slopes of a precipitous hill, around the foot of which are the newer districts and suburbs of the town. To west and east are two large lagoons, the Stagno di Santa Gilla and the Stagno di Molentargius (salt-pans). During roadworks, remains of a medieval town were discovered.
The tree-shaded Via Roma runs along the busy harbor quay, with the railroad station and the modern Town Hall (two towers; in the interior murals by F. Filgari) at its northwest end. From the Town Hall the wide Largo Carlo Felice goes northeast, gently uphill, to Piazza Yenne, from which the busy Corso Vittorio Emanuele runs northwest. In Via Tigello, a side street off the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, are the remains of three Roman houses.
Piazza della Costituzione
Via G Manno, a shopping and commercial street popularly known as the Costa, descends southeast from Piazza Yenne to the Piazza della Costituzione. A little way off the Via Garibaldi, which begins here, is the church of San Domenico, with a beautiful cloister.
Viale Regina Elena
From the Piazza della Costituzione, the beautiful Viale Regina Elena, affording fine views, runs north below the sheer east side of the old bastion to the Giardino Pubblico.
Bastione San Remy
A flight of marble steps, the Passeggiata Coperta, climbs to the Bastione San Remy, a magnificent terrace (fine views), laid out on the medieval bastions, which are preserved in part. Higher up, to the north, is the Bastione Santa Caterina, which also commands extensive views.
From the Bastione Santa Caterina Via dell'Università leads northwest to the university (founded 1956; fine library) and the massive Torre dell'Elefante (1307), a fine building in medieval Sardinian style.
Cathedral of Santa Cecilia
From the Bastione San Remy we pass through the gate of the old Torre dell'Aquila into the narrow Via Lamarmora, the main street of the old town, which runs north along the steep hillside, linked with parallel streets to right and left by steep lanes or dark archways and flights of steps. Half-way along is the terraced Piazza del Palazzo, above the east side of which is the cathedral of Santa Cecilia, built by the Pisans in 1312, with beautiful old doorways in the transepts. Inside, on either side of the entrance, are the two halves of a pulpit from Pisa Cathedral, a masterpiece of 12th century Pisan sculpture by Guillelmus, which was presented to Cagliari in 1312.
Museo Archeologico Nazionale
At the north end of Via Lamarmora is the Piazza dell'Indipendenza, in which are the Torre San Pancrazio (erected in 1305 to defend the old bastion; view) and the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, with Punic, Greek and Roman material as well as the largest collection of Sardinian antiquities. Of particular interest in Room I are the bronze statues found in the nuraghi (dolmens). On the upper floor are pictures of the 14th to 18th centuries.
Address: Piazza Arsenale, I-09124 Cagliari, Italy
Opening hours: 9am-8pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €4.00, Concession or reduced rate €2.00
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Chiesa della Purissima
Adjoining the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Calliari is the 16th century Chiesa della Purissima, built in Gothic-Aragonian style.
From the museum, Viale Buon Cammino runs north through the outer courtyard of the Citadel and along the ridge of the hill. In 500m/550yd a road leads down on the left to the Roman amphitheater (88.5m/292ft by 73m/241ft; arena 50m/165ft by 34m/112ft), constructed in a natural depression in the rock, which is now used as an open-air theater. To the southwest lies the Botanic Garden.
Cittadella dei Musei
Municipal Art Gallery
Nearby the museum is the Municipal Art Gallery, which contains modern masterpieces of the most important Sardinian artists. Adjoining is a Sardinian ethnographical museum.
Festival of St Efisio
This Festival of St. Efisio is held May 1-4. The festival features one of the largest and most colorful processions in the world involving several thousand pilgrims wearing 16th and 17th century costumes. The processionists accompany the statue of the saint on foot, as well as with horses and carts.
Sights to the East
East of the center of Caliari, in Piazza San Cosimo, is the church of San Saturno, also called Santi Cosma e Damiano. The church (founded in the 6th century; enlarged in the 11th-12th centuries), is dedicated to St Saturnus.
Santuario di Bonario
Farther south stands the Santuario di Bonario, where the famous painting "Madonna of Bonario" can be seen; adjoining the sacristy is a small museum (votive pictures).
The surroundings of Cagliari include the villages of Dolianova and Uta.
At Dolianova (212m/700ft) stands the Romanesque-Gothic Basilica S Pantaleone (12th-13th century), with a notable façade; some of the decoration has Arabic features.
The village of Uta, situated on the road to Iglesias, is worth visiting for its Romanesque church of Santa Maria (12th century), the finest country church in Sardinia.
There is an attractive trip (7km/4.5mi southeast), passing close to Monte San Elia (139m/459ft) and the extensive Molentargius salt-pans to the Spiaggia di Poetto, Cagliari's popular bathing beach, which extends for 10km/6mi along the Golfo di Quartu. From here the road traverses an extensive agricultural development area, then beyond the hamlet of Flumini a beautiful stretch of road keeps close to the indented coast, passing many old watch-towers and nuraghi (dolmens), to Capo Carbonara, the extreme southeasterly point of Sardinia (views), with the Torre Santa Caterina (115m/378ft). Nearby is the Fortezza Vecchia (17th century).
Map of Cagliari Attractions