Nuraghe Diana: a masterpiece of Nuragic engineering
A masterpiece of constructive ingenuity and great charm, the nuraghe Diana are considered one of the best-preserved nuraghi of the Quartese territory.
Sardinia has thousands of years of history and boasts a vast and articulated cultural, artistic and archaeological heritage that includes extraordinary monumental works such as the nuraghe Diana, a coastal Nuragic complex dating back to the 2nd millennium B.C. in the municipality of Quartu Sant’Elena, in the metropolitan city of Cagliari.
Nestled in a magical setting and surrounded by the scents of unspoilt nature, the site stands on the granite hill of Is Mortorius, in the Baia Azzurra, from which you can enjoy a view of the beautiful Golfo degli Angeli, bounded to the east by Capo Carbonara and the island of Cavoli, and to the west by Capo Spartivento.
The nuraghe Diana, of complex dating back the final Bronze and the first Iron Age, consists of a central tower with a tholos roof and two smaller towers connected by a wall that outlines a triangular plan type, the so-called “a tancato”.
This type of construction, considered the evolution of the mono-tower nuraghi, is constituted by the main tower to which it was added, in a second moment, another circular building connected to the original tower by two walls that enclosed a courtyard with a well.
At the centre of the nuraghe Diana, there is an open-air courtyard in a quadrangular shape from which you can access the various spaces, while the fort built on top of the main keep dates back to the period of the Second World War.
The first surveys of the complex date back to the fifties by Enrico Atzeni, archaeologist and professor of palethnology at the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy of the University of Cagliari, where he succeeded Giovanni Lilliu, considered the greatest expert of the Nuragic civilization. Excavation investigations, however, began in the year 2000.
The entrance to the nuraghe opens to the southeast and continuing along the corridor, which has two niches carved into the wall, you reach the courtyard where by looking to the right and left, you can see the accesses to the two towers. Further ahead, still, on the right, there is the inner wall staircase leading to the upper floors, while turning left leads to another room.
Continuing in a straight line, you reach the entrance to the tower with recessed niches in the thick wall placed to the east and west of the circumference of the room.
The coastal Nuragic complex, and all its elements, was built from a project of conception and construction simultaneously, a peculiarity that makes it unique: The nuraghi were enlarged over time with the addition of other buildings attached to the central tower.
A description of the nuraghe Diana is in the Monografia Storico-Statistica del Comune di Quartu Sant’Elena, dell’Avvocato Luigi Rossi Vitelli, where we read the following: ” (…)
“The Nuraghe Diana locally called Nuraxjanna for its particular internal construction very different from the others, and its underground compartment: all archaeologists who wrote about the Sardinian antiquities, Abbot Angius in Booklet 5 of the Library of Sardinia calls it the magnificent Nuraghejanna of Quartu, it is located about 10 Kilometers from Quartu, it was very damaged, almost destroyed, and in recent years much of the granite of which it was built was transported to Cagliari for the paving of the city”
Nuraghe Diana: the story of a hidden and never-found treasure
The nuraghe Diana has a part in the story handed down from generation to generation about a hidden treasure near the ancient building and buried by the Saracen pirate Mujāhid ibn ʿAbd Allāh al-ʿVamirī, called al-Muwafaqq, known in Italy as Giacomo Mugahid al ÄAmir and popularly called Museto, Musetto or Mugetto.
According to legend, Musetto, before leaving the island, would have hidden a treasure of inestimable value just near the nuraghe, expecting to return to Sardinia to recover it and reunite with his bride. The pirate, however, did not return to the island, leaving his companion alone who spent the rest of her life gazing at the sea waiting for her beloved.
The woman was nicknamed by the locals the “Capitana”, a name that today indicates the beach facing the nuraghe Diana.
The legend of the treasure of the pirate Mugahid al ÄAmir sparked a “gold rush” and a frantic excavation nearby and at the nuraghe, in search of an alleged well inside which, it was said, the treasure was hidden. A treasure that, according to popular tales, is cursed and can never be found because protected by damned souls.
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