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Cagliari: what to see

We want to introduce you to Cagliari, a perfect city for those who want to discover and enjoy the best of Sardinian culture.

Sardinia (a fab location easy to reach by ferry) is a lot more in spite of the trendy clubs and luxury yachts, and in recent years finally this wonderful region is appreciated for what it is: a land full of natural beauty, culture and traditions.

cagliari_rathaus

Photo CC-BY-SA Hans Peter Schaefer

Cagliari is the capital of Sardinia; it is a modern city located in the South of the island, in a wide gulf between Capo Teulada and Capo Carbonara. The town sits on a hill, and extends to the sea. The port has a great role in the local economy has always covered. Tourism is currently a great resource for Cagliari, which is very well connected, and with other localities of the island, which with the most important cities of the Tyrrhenian and Mediterranean coasts.

In prehistoric times this area was inhabited; the testimonies of the human presence already at that time have been found in the caves of Cape St. Elias, St. Bartholomew and Poetto.

The Sardinian landscape is increasingly reminiscent of the Nuragic civilization; a visit to the National Archaeological Museum is the first step to better understand the reality of Sardinia. Here you can be admired finds from the copper and iron ages, as well as various objects of Phoenician eras, Punic, Greek and Roman. It can really tell that the museum contains two millennia of history.

The Roman Amphitheatre, with its staircase, bears witness to the presence of the Romans in the third century, as well as the Tigellio house, located not far from the amphitheater, which is close to the Botanical Gardens. The stones of the Roman ruins have been in the past reused in the construction of the various churches.

Inside the cathedral, there is a mix of various historical periods: its construction dates back to the buckets. XII-XIII and style is Romanesque-Pisan. The pulpit is medieval and comes from the Cathedral of Pisa. There are works by the Flemish painter Gerard David; the crypt of the Sardinians protomartyrs is carved into the rock, and there are also the tombs of the princes of the House of Savoy.

The churches are very interesting to visit, as the Church of S.Saturnino, also called the SS.Cosma and Damian, from the fifth century, which is the oldest Christian monument in the whole of Sardinia; it is one of the most remarkable remains of early Christian art in the Mediterranean basin.

Very impressive also the Shrine of Bonaria, a building of the fourteenth century dedicated to Our Lady of Bonaria, the protector of sailors. Inside is a beautiful painting by a Spanish painter “Crucifixion”.

The old city fortifications include the Elephant Tower, built in the early fourteenth century, the Tower of San Pancrazio by 1305, and the Bastion of St.Remy (Terrace Umberto I), with its monumental staircase.

On one side and the other of the city there are the salt pans, always important parts for the city’s economy; adjacent ponds are occupied by thousands of birds: when they fly, they offer an unforgettable show.

If you have the opportunity to drive around, just 14 km from Cagliari, in the hinterland, there is the city of Assemini, very well known for its pottery.

Here we have only a few examples of interesting things to see in the beautiful city of Cagliari, but, once there, it will be easy to discover many more locations and attractions!

About Sardinia: amazing facts and history

What do we truly know of Sardinia? For example, do we know what are the Mamuthones? Or how is an ancient Sardinian marriage performed?

We can get on this beautiful island by ferry very easily and it is difficult to find elsewhere a place that offers both tradition and fun, beautiful beaches and wild nature and, yet, such a varied and succulent gastronomy.

But some of the many amazing historical and cultural features related to Sardinia are less known, so let’s unravel some curios and extraordinary facts regarding its traditions, its landscape and its culture.

– In Mamoiada, an area which is located in Barbagia about 60 km from Nuoro, there are the most incredible traces coming from the past and connecting to a very ancient local culture:  even if it is a small region, you will find here the MAMUTHONES, the Sardinian traditional costumes considered among the most beautiful on the island and in the world: the Mamuthones are indeed a peculiar kind of carnival masks boasting a prehistoric origin and holding a great ethnographic interest. They are related to the ancient pastoral traditions still alive in Sardinia. Together with the other Issohadores masks, the Mamuthones are an important part of the Carnival of Mamoiada, also known as “the dance of the Mamuthones”.

The name seems to come from the Greek word “maimon” which means crazy, good for nothing. The clothes are made of skin folds, the masks are created from dark wood and heavy bells are placed on the back. The Mamuthones parade will see coming together groups of 12 (one for each month of the year) accompanied by Issohadores masks that would be their guardians.

mamuthones-fotoballorePhoto CC-BY-SA R.Ballore

– Do you know that one of the largest underground lakes in all of Europe is located in Sardinia? The LAKE LAMARMORA is an underground lake (130 meters long), wide even more than 25 meters and with a maximum depth of 9 meters.

This lake is located in the Cave of Neptune, one of the most famous among the many sea caves located in Sardinia. The cave can be found at the foot of Capo Caccia (Alghero), not far from Sassari. To access the cave you have to get off the Escala del Cabirol, consisting of more than 600 steps, or going there directly on the sea by boat.

– The Sardinian local crafts is one of the richest and detailed in Italy and has ancient origins. An outstanding feature is the many GEOMETRIC SHAPE decorations in the artcraft; this particular figurative expression is found in the figures belonging to the temples located at the nuragic holy well, a typical Sardinian hypogean structure designed, during the Bronze Age, to the worship of the waters. It prevailed even during the Roman time.

The geometric sign is present in the carpet drawings, vases, wedding crates and woven baskets made by the Sardinian women. The human figures are stylized and we cab find the same combinations belonging to gold or silver jewelry designs.

Thanks to the influence of the Phoenicians, the bright colours have added a twist to tapestries, carpets and the women’s clothes; instead they derive the splendour of ornaments and the use of gold from the Byzantines ruling. The blooms that we find in embroideries and fabrics are due to the early Renaissance influence.

– The vegetation of Sardinia is Mediterranean but still shows the characteristics that distinguish the island from other Italians regions; forests cover a fairly large area and, among other plants, stands the cork oak, also called cork. This plant is of particular importance for Sardinia and occupies approximately 60,000 ha of the isle; this means that it is two-thirds of the entire national wood heritage.

Most of the cork forests is located in the Gallura and characterizes the landscape of the North-east side. The cork oak is a beautiful tree with great foliage and reddish bark and is invaluable for what it offers: the acorns for animals, firewood, and, of course, the cork used all over the world.

quercia_da_sughero_inclinataPhoto Public Domain

– Marriage is a moving and important ceremony for all the participants. In Sardinia there are still ancient customs that make the celebration of a Sardinian marriage a real exciting show. In the Sulcis region, exactly in Santadi, it takes place a Mauritanian-style MARRIAGE called  “Sa Coja Maureddina“. The name has origins in the presence, in the past, of Africans landed in this area. Despite the name, it is still a Christian wedding, celebrated according to the rites of the Catholic Church.

Starting from the respective homes of the couple, the groom and the bride are riding each a decorated cart, called “traccas“, along with relatives, all of course dressed up with traditional costumes. They will reach the main square where the ceremony will take place. When it ended, the newly weds will distribute the nuptial bread to all present. There will also be numerous folk groups performing for the wedding and coming from all over Sardinia.

Another ancient rite is the one which takes place in Selargius: THE Selargino OLD WEDDING called  “Sa Coja Antiga Cerexina“. It begins with the blessing of the couple in front of the door of their respective houses using wheat and salt, which have always been vital to the country’s inhabitants. Then the two processions make their way to the church where the celebration will take place in the Sardinian language; the bride and groom will be linked with “sa cadena”, the symbol of their unbreakable bond. Obviously in this case, all the participants will show off their most fantastic traditional clothing – and you can not miss the Sardinian folk music performed on the occasion!

Golfo degli Aranci in Sardinia: what to visit

Golfo degli Aranci (Gulf of Oranges), also known as Figari in Sardinian, is a town in the province of Olbia  and, therefore, an integral part of that wonderful paradise that is the Gallura. It is one of the top holiday destinations of the exclusive Sardinian summer.
The small town, which in summer is filled with tourists and colour, offers a lot to those who visit it and, therefore, we will launch into a virtual adventure to discover all the beauties of the Golfo degli Aranci, visiting monuments and beaches, to get an idea in the round of what the area offers.

Before going on the trip, it is good to know that once you reach Olbia by ferry (click here) or a flight, you must then move to the north to reach the town. The ideal time to visit the area begins in late spring. Summer time begins here as early as the end of May and goes on until the end of September. The hottest months are July and August, when they touch temperatures that can sometimes be even higher than 30 degrees. The water temperature, however, is around 25 degrees, for a  very pleasant experience to try. In addition, the bays of the Golfo degli Aranci are one of the things that deserve to be seen and can be accessed very easily by swimming. But let’s go step by step: what to see in the Gulf?

Golfo_Aranci_8232Photo CC-BY-SA by Gianfranco

One of the first things to look at, soaking in the beauty of the land, is the promontory of Capo Figari, which took its name from the local dialect and that is located 340 meters above sea level. The peculiarity of this promontory is its beauty, being covered with junipers and oaks. But Golfo degli Aranci means also, and above all, the sea and beautiful beaches. In the north there is the beach of Cala Sabina, located next to the beautiful bay of the Gulf of Marinella. In the south, however, they are Cala Sassari, Cala Moresca and Sos Aranzos. In front of Cala Moresca is, then, the island Figarolo, one of the best isle ever. Here you can admire the famous lighthouse of Capo Figari from which you can observe the islands Mortorio and Soffi up to Punta Romazzino. In the area there is also the beautiful Cala Greca, a small bay that cannot be visited.

Moving toward the northwest, however, they are Punta Marana and Punta della Volpe. Continuing our visit to the beaches of the Golfo degli Aranci you should visit the Spiaggia Bianca, offering an expanse of fine white sand and a breathtaking view. Although it is difficult to reach, given that you have to take a dirt road, it’s worth doing it, because you can park easily and, once there, you can enjoy a true paradise on earth.

We also suggest a detour to the beach of Villa Margherita which is located right in the heart of the Golfo degli Aranciand that is also partially equipped, and has a small marina. The city’s beach par excellence, however, is Terza Spiaggia: thanks to the boundless expanse of sand and shallow waters, is ideal for families with children. As you can see, what characterizes these places are the long stretches of sand that sometimes are pristine, and other times, however, they have tourist facilities and organized. According to those who have their travel needs, then, you can decide where to go.

But Golfo degli Aranci is not just sea and sun. There are also some, delicious, monuments, not to be missed. One of the things to see is undoubtedly the sacred well of Milis, which is a testimony to the Nuragic civilization  who came to this day. To see this, you have to walk a bit but it is located shortly after the station Golfo degli Aranci and, therefore, is easily accessible. Unfortunately, the monument was partially demolished in 1800, just to make room to the nearby train station. Currently, they can still see a staircase and a room of the well that, despite everything, has some quite large and gives a good idea of ​​what it should be. It is a well built with regular rows of blocks of cistus, limestone and granite, which were first machined and then used for the construction. To go down, there are about 40 steps, leading in the area still standing. Surely this, together with the lighthouse above, is the most important monument of the town.

For those, however, is more interested in the nightlife, it must be said that the Golfo degli Aranci is right in that area of ​​Sardinia very dedicated to clubbing and parties Taking a few kilometers you can find temples of fun, ideal for young tourists who loves to have a great time.