“Monumenti Aperti” is the main festival dedicated to the promotion and enhancement of cultural heritage in Sardinia
Thanks to students and volunteers, “Monumenti Aperti” (that is, Open Monuments) is an opportunity to discover the most beautiful places in Cagliari and on the island.
With its historic districts, palaces and terraces overlooking the sea, Cagliari is a city full of charm and culture. It is really worth a visit and “Monumenti Aperti” is the best way to do it. Actually, this event gives tourists and local people the chance to discover the most beautiful spots of all over Sardinia.
Let’s find out more!
What is “Monumenti Aperti”
“Monumenti Aperti” is an event dedicated to the cultural heritage of Sardinia. It was conceived in 1997 by a passionate group of university students in Cagliari. Two years later, the Imago Mundi Association began organizing the event which annually involves more than 70 local administrations.
In each city, students and volunteers (more than 20,000) for two days guide tourists and onlookers to discover their territories. During 6 weekends between April, May and October, nearly 1000 monuments are open to the public for free. And guided tours include routes for people with disabilities and experiences dedicated to children.
During the two years of the pandemic, the event underwent a drastic transformation. A fully digital version took place in 2020, and a mixed version in 2021.
But “Monumenti Aperti” has always been such a success that since 2013 it has also extended to other areas of Italy.
This year it involves 39 municipalities and started on April 23rd. Cagliari opens its monuments on the weekend between May 21st and 22nd.
The calendar of “Monumenti Aperti”
- April 23/24: Iglesias and Tissi;
- May 7/8: Carbonia and Padria;
- May 14/15: Alghero, Dorgali, Monserrato, Oristano, Ovodda, Pula, Serramanna and Villanovafranca;
- May 21/22: Cagliari, Genoni, Ittiri, Ploaghe, Porto Torres, Sassari, Siddi and Villanovaforru;
- May 28/29: Cossoine, Cuglieri, Genuri, Monastir, Pabillonis, Quartu Sant’Elena, Sanluri, Selargius and Tuili;
- June 4/5: Assemini, Elmas, Gavoi, Guspini, Muravera, Neoneli, Ossi, Sardara, Uta and Villaputzu.
As every year, “Monumenti Aperti” ends in autumn, with a national conference for the enhancement of cultural heritage. This year the focus is on Community Foundations. These are local, private and autonomous non-profit organizations, born on institutional, economic or Third Sector initiative. Their goal is to improve the quality of life of their communities, with a particular interest in cultural development.
Which monuments can people visit?
Sardinia has a long history. Each people that has lived on the island has left tangible and intangible traces of its passage.
As written on the official site of “Monumenti Aperti”, the prehistoric populations have left the wonderful Nuraghi. The Phoenician and Punic civilizations, the remains of Monte Sirai in Carbonia. The passage of the Romans is visible in Porto Torres, the ancient colony of Turris Libisonis, and in Cagliari, Karales, the capital of the province of Sardinia et Corsica. And then the Middle Ages, with the castle of Sanluri and the end of the Sardinian giudicati, or the walls of Iglesias.
In addition, there are churches, such as that of San Giovanni in Assemini, the Romanesque one of San Giuliano in Selargius, or the Gothic-Aragonese style church of Santa Giulia di Padria.
Finally, the old abandoned mines and naturalistic areas, such as the Molentargius and Saline Park.
“Monumenti Aperti” in Cagliari
During “Monumenti Aperti”, visitors can admire the most beautiful city symbols, from the Bastion of Santa Croce to the peculiarities of each district.
In Castello are Palazzo Regio, Palazzo di Città, the cathedral of Santa Maria and the medieval towers. In Villanova, the bastion of Saint Remy, the cloister of San Domenico, the church of San Saturnino and the basilica of Nostra Signora di Bonaria. Marina is home to the Civic Palace and the church of Sant’Eulalia. While Stampace to the Baroque church of Sant’Anna, the Roman Amphitheater and the Botanical Garden.
Even outside the city there are interesting places: the Castle of San Michele and Tuvixeddu, the largest Phoenician-Punic necropolis in the Mediterranean.
The collateral events
In addition to tours, “Monumenti Aperti” includes numerous special events. Among these, musical performances, sound installations and theatrical shows at the monuments or in the squares. Furthermore, initiatives such as “Taste the city” or “Food is Heritage”, in partnership with Slow Food, help people discover the Sardinian cuisine. But there is also room for literature with “Tales of Monumenti Aperti”. For the occasion, Sardinian artists such as Michela Murgia, Marcello Fois, Francesco Abate, Paolo Fresu and Massimiliano Medda wrote stories related to the open monuments. All these tales have been collected in a volume available upon request (in Italian only).
Do you want to take advantage of “Open Monuments” to discover the city? Book a stay at Palazzo Doglio, Cagliari.