A holiday in Cagliari is the perfect opportunity to discover an ancient city founded and already flourishing at the time of the Phoenicians.
Regarded as the centre of Sardinian political, economic, tourist and cultural life, Cagliari stands on seven hills. Surrounded by imposing towers and ramparts, it includes the biggest and most important Punic necropolis in the Mediterranean, Tuvixeddu, the archaeological remains of which are kept in the Archaeological Museum of Cagliari and in the British Museum in London. Holiday packages to Cagliari are always available and convenient, both because of the mild and warm climate, throughout the year, and because of the full range of accommodation and tourist facilities designed to fulfil any requirement.
Your holiday in Cagliari has to start in the historic centre, guardian of the ancient history and traditions of the city. The upper part of Cagliari offers much to see and do, particularly the Castello district, which preserves the most important architectural, historical and artistic testimonies of the medieval age. Still today, the face of the city is strongly dominated by a significant section of the fortifications, creating one of the most popular and remarkable picture postcard views of the island's capital. The tour starts from the Bastione di Saint Remy ramparts, one of the most important monuments and among the most prestigious exhibition venues of the city centre, built on the ancient defensive curtain of the medieval city. The covered walkway, consisting of white and yellow columns with Corinthian style capitals, and the majestic Umberto I terrace, were designed in the late 19th century. The Terrazza di Santa Caterina is at the northernmost end of the Saint Remy rampart. Here you can enjoy one of the many breathtaking views of the Castello district. The terrace can easily be reached using the panoramic lift from Viale Regina Elena. From the majestic Umberto I terrace, a staircase leads up to the Santa Caterina rampart, an area intended to defend the city since medieval times, when it was part of a curtain wall with two towers.
Continuing along Via del Duomo, you'll come to the Palazzo di Città, the former seat of the city council from medieval times to the beginning of the twentieth century. The Palazzo hosts permanent exhibitions and a series of collections. Behind it is the Cathedral of Saint Mary, built in Romanesque-Pisan style and altered over the centuries to include Gothic, Baroque and Neo-Romanesque elements. The interior of the church, built on a Latin cross ground plan, consists of three naves, with a transept and side chapels, while under the presbytery you'll find the Crypt and Sanctuary of the Martyrs. Arriving on Piazza Palazzo, you cannot fail to notice the Palazzo Regio, the former residence of the Viceroy during the periods of Aragonese, Spanish and Savoy rule. Also in the Castello district, between Porta Cristina and Piazza Indipendenza, is the Cittadella dei Musei, home to some of the city's most important artistic treasures, including the Archaeological Museum and the National Picture Gallery.
Beyond Pozzo di San Pancrazio and the Basilica di Santa Croce (built as a synagogue in the area that once bordered the Jewish ghetto and converted into a Catholic church following the expulsion of the Jews from Cagliari in the sixteenth century) you'll come to the Bastione di Santa Croce rampart. Here you can enjoy one of the best views of the upper city, a short walk from the Torre dell'Elefante. The Bastione di Santa Croce is commonly referred to by locals as the “Santu Juanni” rampart and is situated in the area that used to house the Jewish district of Giudaria. The Bastione del Balice is also part of the fortified walls of the Castello district and can be visited by entering via the Palazzo dell'Università. For plant lovers, the Botanical Gardens, the green heart of the city, offer numerous species of tropical and Mediterranean plants. Birdwatchers will enjoy the Santa Gilla and Molentargius lagoons, EU protected areas rich in fauna and colonies of pink flamingos.
A holiday in Cagliari is also an opportunity to relax on some of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia. The long Poetto coastline extends from Cagliari to Quartu Sant'Elena and is dominated by the Sella del Diavolo promontory. Easily reached from Calamosca, following a nature trail that takes an hour to complete, the Sella del Diavolo provides a view of the whole city and coastline. Thanks to the nearby Molentargius lagoon and salt pans, the beach at Poetto provides an opportunity to admire flamingos flying over the protected oasis. Close to the Sella del Diavolo, Calamosca beach has a seabed of coarse sand and unevenly sized pebbles, with a cliff and watchtower on the western edge. Both beaches are easily reached from the centre of Cagliari.
Finally, the Feast of S. Efisio, which takes place on the 1st May every year, is a religious event not to be missed. The procession, with groups dressed in traditional costume from all over Sardinia, accompanies the chariot bearing the statue to the church at Nora, the place of the sacrifice, to fulfil the vow made by the population during the plague outbreak in the seventeenth century. The festivities continue until 4th May with the Saint's return to Cagliari. This is only a short list of the attractions and magic that await you in this corner of Sardinia.