Archaeological area of Nora: a jewel between history and the sea
The archaeological area of Nora is an incredible place to visit at least once in a lifetime and be immersed in the beautiful island history.
Nora was once a Florentine city on the southern coast of the island, just a few tens of kilometers south-west of Cagliari, on the promontory of Capo Pula.
Nora was the first Phoenician city in Sardinia, conquered by the Carthaginians and later became an important Roman center. It was one of the most important ports of the island and fulcrum of the Sardinian economy because of its strategic position.
Ancient Greek writer and geographer Pausanias attributed the foundation of the city to Norace, a hero of Sardinian mythology, who while guiding the Iberians, came to Sardinia from the Iberian Peninsula. Pausanias wrote in the geo-historiographical treatise Periegesis of Greece (or Guide to Greece): ” After Aristeo, the Iberians moved to Sardinia under the guidance of Norace and founded the city of Nora, they say this was the first city of the island. Norace was the son of Hermes and Eritheia, daughter of Gerion.”
Archaeological area of Nora: the history of a legendary city
The discovery of some artifacts and a well near the Nuragic Terme a Mare, testify that the site of Nora dates back to the Bronze Age. The nuraghi present in the surrounding area such as the Sa Guardia Mongiasa and the complex of Antigori and Sarroch, where Mycenaean ceramics were recovered, support the thesis of the Nuragic presence in Nora.
The tombs dating from the late 7th to the early 6th century BC, are the oldest remains found on site. Meanwhile, the stele of Nora, a block of sandstone 105 cm high and 57 cm wide with a Phoenician inscription reading the name of Sardinia which appears for the first time with the word Shrdn is from the Nuragic-Phoenician period (8th century BC). Housed in the National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, the stele is the oldest written document in the Western world and is also the first Phoenician script found west of Tyre, the ancient city of Lebanon.
The archaeological site of Nora also includes the Tophet, a Phoenician-Punic open-air sanctuary, the remains of the so-called “Temple of Tanit” located on the homonymous hill and dedicated to the cult of the most important goddess for the Carthaginians, also some craft facilities were found in the area closest to the sea. The Phoenician-Punic vestiges were almost entirely covered by the buildings of the subsequent domination, however, the studies on the materials found in the tombs confirm that the city lived its period of maximum splendor in the V but especially in the IV century B.C. before passing under the Roman domain in 238 B.C.
When the Romans conquered the island, Nora was the capital of the Roman province of Sardinia and Corsica and was later a municipality. From this period are the forum, the theatre, the amphitheater, some private and religious buildings, and the spa facilities that along with the treasures found in the archaeological area of Nora, witness a period of great wealth for the city resulting from trade with the nearby regions of the Mediterranean Sea.
The history of Nora evolved during the fifth century after the Vandal’s occupation of the territory, forcing the local population to seek refuge in the inland areas of the island. During the VII century, the Ravenna Cosmography indicates it as Praesidium, a fortress not a city.
Although the merit of having brought back much of the site to light goes to the superintendent Giovanni Pesce who coordinated the excavations between 1952 and 1960, followed by the works in 1977 under the direction of Carlo Tronchetti, the site was initially identified by the sixteenth-century historian Giovanni Francesco Fara, and the first excavations date back to the end of the nineteenth century by archaeologists Giovanni Spano and Filippo Vivanet. At the beginning of the nineties, the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage for the provinces of Cagliari and Oristano inaugurated the Archaeological Mission still in progress and entrusted to some of the major Italian universities.
Nora is also the place where the martyrdom of Sant’Efisio took place, to which the church erected in 1089 is dedicated, consecrated in 1102, and restored in 1656 consequently to Alfonso Gualbès Marquis of Palmas donation, who wanted to thank the saint for saving them from the plague epidemic.
Nora Archaeological Area: The Stay and Drive Package at Palazzo Doglio
The archaeological area of Nora is now one of the most important sites of Sardinia, and is managed by the cooperative societies La Memoria Storica and Semata.
The site can be visited on any day of the year from 9:30 to 19:30. The ticket office opens at 9.00 am and the cost of a ticket is 6.00€, the discounts vary according to the categories.
For any information regarding visiting Nora and the educational activities that take place within the archaeological park, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call +39 070 9209138.
The site is not far from the luxury hotel Palazzo Doglio in the heart of one of the historic districts of Cagliari. In collaboration with Sixt, the hotel offers its guests the perfect formula to move without worries and discover the ancient city of Cagliari, the hinterland of the island, and the beautiful coasts of Sardinia.
What the Stay and Drive package provides:
- Treatment in B&B
- Discounted rates for customers of Palazzo Doglio for car rental which can be booked directly on the website www.sixt.com/palazzodoglio
- Reserved parking in the vicinity of the hotel
- Doglio Club wellness trail (sauna, steam bath, exclusive hot pool with stimulating hot tubs)
- Free access to Doglio Club Fitness Zone
- 10% Discount on Doglio Club Treatments
- 10% discount on drinks at the American Bar
10% discount at Osteria del Forte Restaurant
- VIP treatment upon arrival
- Wi-Fi included
- Early Check-in / Late Check-out (subject to availability)
- Room category upgrade (subject to availability)
- Price from 215 Euro
- Rates in Euro, accommodation in a Deluxe room, per night, double occupancy
- VAT included
Package not combinable with other offers and promotions
- Valid from 15th May to 31st December 2020
- the car must be booked directly through the dedicated website of www.sixt.com/palazzodoglio and can be picked up at the airport or directly at the hotel