Visiting Cagliari’s in 1 day: the city with thousands of years of history
Fabulous beaches and water like the Caribbean, Sardinia is the perfect destination for an unforgettable vacation, but if you don’t have much time and you would like to visit Cagliari in a day, there are 5 incredible places in the old town of Casteddu that are worth visiting.
Ichnusa, the ancient name of the island has Greek origins, it’s famous not only for the beautiful coasts and the extraordinary uncontaminated nature, but it’s also famous for its marvelous cities including Cagliari.
This metropolitan city has 431.038 inhabitants, making it the most populated on the island, it has thousands of years of history going back to the age of Ancient Greece.
According to Gaio Giulio Solino, Roman writer who lived in the III century AC, Cagliari was founded by Aristaeus, son of god Apollo and the huntress Cyrene, who arrived in Sardinia from Boezia in the XV century BC.
Aristaeus made peace among the populations, he introduced hunting, agriculture and taught the inhabitants of the island how to make cheese, oil and how to raise bees for their honey and wax.
Some sources believe Aristaeus arrived on the island with Dedalo, a character in Greek mythology known for having built the legendary labyrinth of the Minotaur in Crete and also, according to the ancient Greeks, author of the Nuraghi in Sardinia.
Even David Herbert Lawrence, one of the most famous English writers and poets during the XX century, was bewitched by the eternal charm of Cagliari and described it in his book Sea and Sardinia: “ and suddenly there is Cagliari: a naked city which rises steeply, steep, golden, stacked up naked towards the sky from the flatland of the shapeless deep bay. It’s strange and quite surprising, it does not resemble Italy. The city piles it’s self upwards, almost in miniature, and makes me think of Jerusalem: no trees, no shelter, raising naked and proud, remote as if it was behind in history, like a city in a missal illuminated by a monk. One would wonder how it got to be there. It resembles Spain or Malta: not Italy”.
If time is short and you must make a choice on what to see among the churches, historical buildings, natural reserves, we will advise you the ideal itinerary for visiting Cagliari in one day and discover 5 representative places of the city.
Visiting Cagliari in just one day: 5 unmissable places that you should visit
If you don’t have much time and you would like to visit Cagliari in one day, here are 5 things you should do.
- Il quartiere Castello: founded by the Pisans in the XIII century, Castello is the main district of the ancient city Casteddu, Sardinian name of the capital, and views the city from the limestone hill on which it’s built. It has walls, towers and bastions, the district also holds some of the cities important institutions: the Prefecture, Assembly room of the Metropolitan City of Cagliari and the Università degli studi di Cagliari. In the center of Castello there are some of the most famous monuments of the capital: the Pisan towers San Pancrazio and dell Elefante, the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and Santa Cecilia, the Palazzo Reggio, the bastion of Saint Remy, and the museum pole of the Cittadella dei Musei.
- The cathedral of Santa Maria: located in the medieval district of Castello, the primordial cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and Santa Cecilia is one of the most important religious buildings in the city, it faces into Palazzo square where there are also the Palazzo Reale, home to the offices of the prefecture, and the old municipal Palace. The church holds the encounter of many artistic styles, it became a cathedral in 1258 and holds seven centuries of the city’s history. According to the rules of romanic-pisan style, it was built in 200, the cathedral was restored between 600 and 700 with baroque principles and in the early 30s of the 20th century, the present facade was built with neo-romanic qualities. There are two treasures of priceless value inside the Capella Aragonese: the Sacred thorn from Jesus’s crown which was put on his head during the Passion, and the Flemish triptych by Rogier van dear Weyden.
- The bastion of Saint Remy: the fortification built around the XX century, marks the boundary between the Villanova district and that of Castello. The name is a tribute to viceroy from Piemonte Filippo-Guglielmo Pallavicini, baron of Saint Remy. In 1896 engineer Giuseppe Costa and Fulgenzio Setti made a project for the panoramic terrace Umberto I, and the marvelous covered walk which hosted feasts after its inauguration, it was also used as an infirmary during the First World War. During the second world conflict, the walk was used as a shelter and in 1948 it hosted the first trade fair in Sardinia. Nowadays, after some restoration, it is a cultural space.
- Roman Amphitheater: the amphitheater was built between the I and II century AC and is half dug in to rock, the remaining part is built in white limestone. It could have held 10.000 spectators who could have assisted battles between fierce animals or gladiators, the execution of capital punishments or theatrical shows. When emperor Valentiniano III banned fights between gladiators in 438 AC, the building became a quarry used by the Byzantine conquerors, the Pisans, and Aragonese.
- The Poetto Beach: the best way to end a day discovering the city, is to have a relaxing walk along the seafront of Cagliari, at the Poetto beach. The restaurants you can find here also offer the perfect occasion to have a marvelous dinner and try typical gastronomical Sardinian products.