Santuario & Basilica di Nostra Signora di Bonaria
Crowning the Bonaria hill, around 1km southeast of Via Roma, this spiritual complex is a popular pilgrimage website. Devotees come from all around the world to see the understated 14th-century Gothic church sanctuary and pray for Nostra Signora di Bonaria, a statue of the Virgin Mary and Christ that allegedly saved a boat’s crew in a storm. On the best of this sanctuary, and accessible via a connecting doorway, the most towering basilica nevertheless acts as a landmark to arriving sailors.
Museo Archeologico Nazionale
Of those four paintings at the Cittadella dei Musei, that really is the famed star. Sardinia’s premier archaeological tradition showcases artefacts spanning thousands of years old, in the early Temple, during the Bronze and Iron Ages into the Phoenician and Roman eras. Highlights include a set of colossal figures referred to as the Giganti di Monte Prama and a great assortment of bronzetti (bronze figurines), that, at the absence of any written documents, are a vital source of information about Sardinia’s mysterious nuraghic civilization.
Cattedrale di Santa Maria
Cagliari’s graceful 13th-century cathedral stands on Piazza Palazzo. Except for its square-based bell tower, the small remains of this original Gothic architecture: that the clean Pisan-Romanesque facade is a 20th-century imitation, added between 1933 and 1938. Indoors, the once-Gothic church has all but disappeared beneath a wealthy icing of baroque decoration, the end result of a radical late-17th-century makeover. Vibrant frescoes adorn the ceilings, and the side chapels trickle finished with exuberant sculptural whirls.
This hilltop citadel has been Cagliari’s most renowned image, its domes, towers and palazzi, formerly home to the city’s aristocracy, increasing above the rugged ramparts built by the Pisans and Aragonese. Within the battlements, the ancient medieval town reveals itself such as Pandora’s box. The college, cathedral, museums and Pisan palaces are inserted into a jigsaw of narrow high-walled alleys. Sleepy even though it may seem, the area harbours a range of stalls, bars and cafes popular with people, pupils and hipsters.
Bastione di Saint Remy
This vast neoclassical architecture, containing a gallery space, monumental stairway and panoramic terrace, was constructed to the town’s medieval walls between 1899 and 1902. The highlight is that the elegant Umberto I terrace, that commands sweeping views around Cagliari’s jumbled rooftops into the sea and distant mountains. To reach the terrace, you can try out the stairway onto Piazza Costituzione or take one of those elevators — eg in the Giardino Sotto Le Mure or even Piazza Yenne — although at the time of research that they had been shut and you had to walk upward via the roads.
An easy bus journey from the center, Cagliari’s fabulous Poetto beach extends for 7km outside of the green Promontorio di Sant’Elia, nicknamed the Sella del Diavola (Devil’s Saddle). In summer a lot of the town’s childhood decamps here to sunbathe and party in the restaurants and bars that line the sand. Water sports are large and you can hire canoes at the beach nightclubs. For the beach, take bus PF or even PQ out of Piazza Matteotti.
Chiesa di San Michele
Although consecrated in 1538, this Jesuit church is famous for its lavish 18th-century decoration, known as the best example of baroque styling in Sardinia. The spectacle starts out using all the ebullient triple-arched facade and proceeds via the vast colonnaded atrium to the magnificent octagonal inside. These six heavily decorated chapels radiate from the center, capped by a grand, brightly colored frescoed dome. Also of notice is that the sacristy, with its vibrant frescoes and intricately inlaid timber.
One of just two Pisan towers still standing, the Torre dell’Elefante was constructed at 1307 as a defence against the threatening Aragonese. Named after the sculpted elephant from the vicious-looking portcullis, the 42m-high tower became a matter of a horror series, thanks to its severed heads the town’s Spanish rulers employed to adorn it with. The crenellated storey was added in 1852 and employed as a prison for political detainees. Climb to the very best for far-reaching views across the town’s rooftops into the sea.
Galleria Comunale d’Arte
Positioned in a neoclassical villa at the Giardini Pubblici (Public Gardens) north of the Castello, this fantastic gallery specializes in contemporary and contemporary art. Works by many of Sardinia’s leading artists are on display, alongside paintings and sculptures in your Collezione Ingrao, a formidable assortment of 20th-century Italian art.
Chiesa di Sant’Efisio
Despite its own unassuming facade, the Chiesa di Sant’Efisio is of considerable local importance — maybe not to get any artistic or architectural reasons but rather because of the ties to s t Ephisius, Cagliari’s patron saint. A Roman soldier that converted to Christianity and was later beheaded for refusing to recant his faith, s t Ephisius may be your star of this town’s enormous 1 May celebrations . The effigy of the saint that is paraded around town onto a beautifully ornate carozza (carriage) is retained here.
Cagliari’s principal gallery showcases a precious set of 15th- to 17th-century art. Many of the finest functions are retablos (grand altarpieces), painted by Catalan and Genoese artists. Of these by famous Sardinian painters, that the four 16th-century functions by Pietro Cavaro, father of those so-called Stampace faculty and arguably Sardinia’s most important artist, are outstanding. They comprise a shifting Deposizione (Deposition) and portraits of St Peter, St Paul and St Augustine.
Basilica di San Saturnino
One of the earliest forts in Sardinia, the Basilica di San Saturnino is a spectacular example of Paleo-Christian architecture. Based on a Greek-cross pattern, the basilica was built over a Roman necropolis from the 5th century, to the site where Saturninus, a much-revered local martyrthat was first buried. According to legend, the Saturninus was beheaded in AD 304 through emperor Diocletian’s anti-Christian pogroms.
Museo del Tesoro e Area Archeologica di Sant’Eulalia
At the heart of the Marina area, this museum contains a rich set of religious art, as well as an archaeological area beneath the adjacent Chiesa di Sant’Eulalia. The main drawcard is a 13m part of the excavated Roman road (built between the 1st and 2nd centuries AD), which archaeologists believe would have linked with all the nearby port.
From the upstairs treasury you’ll come across all kinds of spiritual artefacts, ranging from beautiful priests’ vestments and silverware through to medieval codices and other valuable documents. Nice wooden figurines abound, along with an Ecce homo painting, depicting Christfront and back, after his flagellation. The painting has been attributed to a 17th-century Flemish artist.
Parco Naturale Regionale Molentargius
The Secure reed-fringed wetlands of the Parco Naturale Regionale Molentargius lie Marginally east of Cagliari towards Quartu Sant’Elena. A housing estate creates an amazing backdrop to those freshwater and brackish pools, that attract real, migrant and wintering birds in their thousands. With a little luck you may spot pink flamingos, purple herons, little egrets, marsh harriers, sandwich terns and black-winged stilts in the observation points.
Cripta di Santa Restituta
This crypt has already been in use because pre-Christian times. It is a big, spooky, natural cavern at which the echo of leaking water drip-drips. Originally a place of pagan worship, it became the house of the martyr Restituta from the 5th century and a reference point for Cagliari’s early Christians. The Orthodox Christians afterward took it — you can still see remnants of the frescoes — before the 13th century, as it was abandoned.
Cagliari’s most significant Roman monument will be the 2nd-century amphitheatre. Currently constituting a messy construction website (it is closed for restoration), the construction has been carved into the rugged flank of this Buon Cammino hill, near the northern entrance to Il Castello. Over the centuries a lot of this original theatre has been cannibalised for construction material, but enough continues to stir the imagination.
Established in 1858, the Orto Botanico is one of Italy’s most famous botanical gardens. Today it expands more than 5 hectares and promotes 2, 000 species of flora. Leafy arches lead to trickling fountains and gardens bristling with palm trees, cacti and ficus trees having huge snaking roots.
The focal point of this Marina district, and really of central Cagliari, is Piazza Yenne. The small square is adorned with a statue of King Carlo Felice to mark the start of the SS131 cross-island highway, the job where the monarch is best recalled. On summertime, the piazza heaves as a youthful audience flock into the bars, gelateria and pavement cafes.
Only steps from the cathedral, this pale carrot palazzo was home to the town’s Spanish and Savoy viceroys. Today it functions as the provincial assembly and stages regular exhibits and summer music festivals. Indoors, you can go to several richly decorated rooms culminating in the Sala del Consiglio, the assembly’s main assembly chamber.
Cittadella dei Musei
Cagliari’s main ministry complex occupies the website of this town’s former arsenal at the northern end of the Castello district. It is home to several museums, for example, Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Pinacoteca Nazionale, as well as several college departments.
Torre di San Pancrazio
Rising above the skyline from the Castello’s northeastern gate, this 36m-high tower will be the double of this Torre dell’Elefante. Finished in 1305, it’s constructed on the town’s best purpose and commands expansive views of the Golfo di Cagliari. It’s presently closed for renovations.
Chiesa di Santo Sepolcro
The astonishing feature of this church would be an enormous 17th-century gilded wooden altarpiece home a number of the Virgin Mary. In the church, the stairs lead down to the crypt, a creepy grotto comprising 2 cave-like rooms gouged from bare rock. In one you’ll discover a skull and crossbones in the wall.
Housed in Cagliari’s 18th-century mattatoio (abattoir) — thus the sculpted cow’s head across the entrance and around the internal courtyard — Exmà is a beautiful cultural center. Check the web site for details of its varied program of events, performances, concerts and exhibitions.
Chiesa di Sant’Anna
Largely destroyed by bombing in 1943 but painstakingly rebuilt afterward, Chiesa di Sant’Anna rises grandly above a broad staircase at the Stampace district. More striking outside than previously, it is fronted with a towering two-tier baroque facade topped by a pair of matching fire bottoms.
Museo del Duomo
Treasures in the Cattedrale di Santa Maria are displayed at this compact memorial just around the corner in the cathedral. One standout is that the 15th-century Trittico di Clemente VII, that was transferred here in the cathedral for safe keeping. This valuable painting oil on wood has been attributed to the Flemish painter Rogier van der Weyden or to one of the disciples. Another important function is that the 16th-century Retablo dei Beneficiati, created by the faculty of Pietro Cavaro.
Overlooking Piazza Matteotti, the neo-Gothic Palazzo Civico, also referred to as the Municipio, will be currently home to Cagliari’s municipal council as well as the town’s tourism division. Capricious, pompous and at the right time of research half-covered from scaffolding, it was constructed between 1899 and 1913, and faithfully rebuilt after bombing in 1943. The upstairs chambers contain works by a range of Sardinian artists, such as Pietro Cavaro. Admission is by appointment only.
Castello di San Michele
Lifted by a mountain above the town, that this stout three-tower Spanish fortress shore of the center commands incredible town and sea views. Place in tranquil grounds, ” the 10th-century castle was constructed to shield Santa Igia, capital of the Giudicato of Cagliari, however, is most famous as the lavish residence of their 14th-century Carroz family. It currently hosts exhibits and cultural events. To get here, take a bus from Via Roma into the foot of this mountain and walk 800m into your castle.
Museo d’Arte Siamese
Cagliari’s medieval heart is an unlikely place to get a selection of Asian art, but that’s exactly what you’ll find here. Donated to the city by local engineer Stefano Cardu, that had spent many years in Thailand, the group is extremely diverse. Alongside Ming- and Qing-era Chinese porcelain vases, there are lace paintings, Japanese statuettes, Burmese sculptures and a few genuinely frightening Thai weapons.
Villa di Tigellio
All these remains of three Roman homes date to the 1st century BC. Legend has it that Tigellio Ermogene — a famous Sardinian poet and musician, and a friend of Julius Caesar — dwelt here. Today the ruins are fairly overgrown and surrounded by homes, and that means you will want to use your imagination to envision the most magnificent mosaics, columns and baths that formerly stood .
Founded in 2011, this contemporary glass and steel pavilion has given a new lease of life into a prior food market. It is currently a cultural complex home two libraries, that the town’s historical archives and also the Sardinian film library. As a tourist, the main attraction is that the arrangement , but its own cafe is a popular place to while away an hour or two to a dull afternoon.
- 1 Santuario & Basilica di Nostra Signora di Bonaria
- 2 Museo Archeologico Nazionale
- 3 Cattedrale di Santa Maria
- 4 Il Castello
- 5 Bastione di Saint Remy
- 6 Poetto Beach
- 7 Chiesa di San Michele
- 8 Torre dell’Elefante
- 9 Galleria Comunale d’Arte
- 10 Chiesa di Sant’Efisio
- 11 Pinacoteca Nazionale
- 12 Basilica di San Saturnino
- 13 Museo del Tesoro e Area Archeologica di Sant’Eulalia
- 14 Parco Naturale Regionale Molentargius
- 15 Cripta di Santa Restituta
- 16 Anfiteatro Romano
- 17 Orto Botanico
- 18 Piazza Yenne
- 19 Palazzo Viceregio
- 20 Cittadella dei Musei
- 21 Torre di San Pancrazio
- 22 Chiesa di Santo Sepolcro
- 23 Exmà
- 24 Chiesa di Sant’Anna
- 25 Museo del Duomo
- 26 Palazzo Civico
- 27 Castello di San Michele
- 28 Museo d’Arte Siamese
- 29 Villa di Tigellio
- 30 MEM