Cagliari and its Districts
A stronghold on seven hills in the middle of the Golfo degli Angeli, where the great peoples of the “mare nostrum” left indelible traces.
The striking landscape setting of Cagliari adds value to the complex universe of art and tradition of this town.
All around it you find from the promontory of the Sella del Diavolo (Devil’s Saddle) with the coves of Calamosca, to the tourist port of Marina Piccola and the long Beach Poetto with the ponds (Park of Molentargius and old saltworks), through the Mediterranean Park of Monte Urpinu, up to the other area of ponds west of the gulf.
A crossroads of peoples and cultures (Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Spaniards and Catalans), columns of the Mediterranean identity, the town of Cagliari has ancient origins, as evidenced by the findings in the area of Colle San Michele.
We also find here the footprint of the Nuragic civilization, since the National Archaeological Museum in Cagliari preserves the artefacts found in some of the most important centres of this civilization, Barumini, Nurri and Orroli.
Browsing the pages of the history of Cagliari means to entrer the four districts of the Old Town. The heart of this area, the Castello District (“Casteddu ‘e susu” to distinguish it from the entire town “Casteddu”) has its ideal centre in the Cathedral of Santa Maria, and is surrounded by the characteristics Pisan fortifications with the Torre San Pancrazio and the Tower of the Elephant.
Here there are the most important cultural institutions: the Cittadella dei Musei (where you find, among others, the National Archaeological Museum and the National Art Gallery) and the University of Cagliari, founded in ‘600. The neoclassical Bastione of Saint Remy is a sort of hinge between Castello and the underlying districts of Villanova and Marina.
The District Villanova, which extends inland and has an agricultural origin (as evidenced by the simplicity of the oldest buildings), contains the most significant expressions of Sardinian religious architecture: above all the Basilica of San Saturno (5th century) and the thirteenth-century complex of San Domenico (the highest expression of Gothic art in the region).
The lively District Marina is of the nineteenth-century style, with the portico of via Roma and the picturesque streets behind it, which house a rich historical heritage in the archaeological area found in the basement of the Church of Sant’Eulalia.
The Roman Carales survives mostly in the medieval District Stampace. This district, in addition to the places of the Roman world (above all the Amphitheatre and the Villa di Tigellio) and of Christian worship (the Crypt of Santa Restituta and the Crypt of Sant’Efisio), also preserves the most important example of a Punic necropolis in the Mediterranean area: the remains of the Tuvixeddu necropolis.
The streets of Stampace are also the place where for three and a half centuries on May 1 the Sagra di Sant’Efisio has been celebrated. It is the most participated religious procession in the island: the characteristic “traccas” (ancient decorated agricultural carts) are followed by thousands people in traditional dresses coming from all over Sardinia, followed in turn by groups of horsemen from Campidano, the “Militia”, the “Guardiania” and finally the cart of S.Efisio.