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It is one of the fifteen metropolitan cities in Italy and its metro area (including the surrounding districts under Cagliari) exceeds 424,000 inhabitants who reach 488,000 with the urban sprawl. The city of Cagliari is a university and an archiepiscopal seat. Boasting over a thousand years of history, it is the historical administrative centre of the island due to the fact that it was under the control of Karalis, capital of the province of Sardinia et Corsica in Roman times, and subsequently it was the capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia from 1324 to 1720 and again from 1798 to 1814. Its harbor is categorized as “international” because of its importance on the Italian and international scene; it handles several functions from commercial to industrial and touristic as well as passengers service.

To visit

The Castello suburb in Cagliari is a visit galore: you get there from the monumental St Remy Bastion, locate between the two main shopping streets, Via Garibaldi and Via Manno, through the ancient “doors” which used to be the only ways into the stronghold or through the modern lifts that are found at the bottom of the suburb. The necropolis at Tuvixeddu, which stands on the hill of the same name between the Sant’Avendrace and the Is Maglias suburbs, is the biggest Punic necropolis of the whole Mediterranean area, both for extension and for number of burial sites. Cagliari’s Roman amphitheater, this big Roman structure is truly striking: dating back to the two decades between the I century BC and the I century AD, the Cagliari’s amphitheater was dug out of the calcareous rock of Buon Cammino hill, in the high part of the historical suburb of Stampace. San Saturnin Basilica, dedicated to the city’s Patron Saint, is the most ancient church in Cagliari: it was built in the V century AD and it stands in the Villanova suburb where, according to tradition, the Saint from Cagliari was decapitated in 304 AD. The Basilica, in Byzantine-Romanic style, stands today inside a fenced-off area, where there lies a paleo-Christian necropolis that is being currently being excavated by archaeologists. The beach of the city of Cagliari is the Poetto, an 8-km sandy stretch that starts from the “Devil’s saddle”, the promontory that inherited this name because of its shape, and finishes at the coast at Quartu Sant’Elena.


Already a ‘nuraghe’ settlement, the city’s foundation is ascribed to the Phoenicians in 800 BC. The city is called Casteddu (castle) in the local dialect, in memory of the role of military district played by the city and by the fortresses built by various governments through the centuries. During the Piedmont political domination, Cagliari hosted in its Royal Palace (actually named Vice-royal) the Savoy family, following Napoleon’s descent to Turin from 1795 to 1814. Cagliari was long exploited as stronghold by the various peoples who conquered it through the millennia. This vocation created a coastal defense system, extremely complex and fascinating, which develops through a series of towers like the tower of Scafa, of Cala Fighera, of Sant’Elena, of Lazzaretto, of Mezza Spiaggia and of Poetto. Worth noting is also the collection of internal military structures like the Castles of Castro, of Saint Michael, the Fort of Saint Ignatius and the towers of Saint Pancratius and of the Elephant. On the latter tower the head of the Marquis of Cea, the leader of a revolt of the local nobility against the Spanish, was gloomily hung in the XVII century: it was left hanging for 17 years!