Built on seven hills like Rome, Cagliari offers the visitor the charm of a thousand-year-old history, the relaxation of a city beach among the most expansive in all of Europe and of some surprisingly naturalistic locations. Here are some of our recommendations for a stay in the capital city of Sardinia.

Discover the Castello quarter, the heart of the city

Let’s begin from the fortified neighbourhood of Castello. The castle stands, surrounded by defensive walls built by Pisans between the Thirteenth and Fourteenth centuries, on the highest hill in Cagliari and holds some of the most important monuments of the city, such as the Bastione Saint Remy, the Palazzo Regio (Royal Palace) and the Santa Maria Cathedral, majestic building which safeguards numerous art treasures. A visit to the Museo Archeologico (National Archaeological Museum), the most important in the world for findings of the Nuragic age, located inside the Fortress of museums is a must.

Take in the view from the city walls while enjoying an aperitif

The walls surrounding the Castello area, built for defence, today are elegant terraces where it is possible to enjoy an aperitif overlooking the most beautiful views of Cagliari. The Bastion of Santa Croce, considered the hot spot for night-life in the city, looks out over the historic centre of Stampace and the intense blue sea of the port.

Take a dive into the most distant past

Wherever the ancient Romans have passed through, it is likely to find an arena for battles between gladiators or between ferocious animals. Even Cagliari, snatched from the Carthaginians with all of Sardinia and Corsica in 238 B.C., has it own amphitheatre. When it was built, between the First and Second century A.D., it was able to hold up to 10,000 spectators.

Defeated by the Romans, the Carthaginians still left Cagliari with an important testament to their civilisation: the Tuvixeddu Necropolis, the vastest Phoenician-Punic necropolis of all of the Mediterranean. The name, which in Sardinian means “hill of little holes”, comes from the numerous tombs dug into the rock.

Visit one of the most important monumental cemeteries in Europe

If we continue on our tour with another burial ground, we do not do so to make you sad, but because the Cemetery of Bonaria, adorned with elegant and melancholy sculptures is truly worth visiting. No one has been buried there since 1968: since then it has become a unique testament to the history of Cagliari.

Come into contact with an ancient spirituality

A short distance from the monumental cemetery, it is possible to find two important buildings of the Catholic religion. The first is the Shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria, a sanctuary whose origins is tied to the legend of a statue of the Madonna which escaped a storm and arrived to shore holding a candle, miraculously lit, in hand. The second is the Basilica of San Saturnino, the oldest Palaeo-Christian monument of the island and one of the most important of the Mediterranean basin.

Relaxing on the city beaches

The inhabitants of Cagliari are lucky people: their city has a wonderful beach, 8 km long with fine sand and crystalline waters, Poetto beach. This stretch of coast can be reached by bus which will make it possible for you to comfortably choose between enjoying the services provided by a beach property or if you prefer, sunbathing on the public beach. The seafront, dotted with small kiosks, will tempt anyone into taking a long walk either on foot or by bicycle. During summer evenings, the beach comes alive with an intense night-life. Just before the Poetto, you will find the Calamosca beach, an inlet sheltered by two promontories, Sant’Elia and Sella del Diavolo.

Admire the pink flamingos

If you love nature, you will be happy to learn that the city of Cagliari has received recognition by biologists and naturalists from all over the world because it offers refuge to impressive colonies of flamingos in Molentargius Park and in the Stagno di Cagliari lagoon, formed by the Saline di Macchiareddu, Port Canale, Santa Gilla lagoon, Capoterra lagoon and sa Illetta, once the island of San Simone. You can observe these winged animals and over 200 species of birds without disturbing them by using the designated birdwatching posts.

Enjoy the flavours of the local cuisine

The typical cuisine of Cagliari is that in the campidanese tradition, with Spanish and Ligurian influences and with a superiority in the rich catch of fish and of the bottarga from the area, thanks also to the tradition of the city’s fish farms. The sweets made with honey and the wines such as the Malvasia and the famous Moscato of the area are unbeatable, craved by anyone who visits.

You may be interested in: