Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia is a beautiful city with ancient origins, that overlooks the Bay of the Angels. The districts of the historic centre - that of Marina, near the port, or that of Castello, the highest and most panoramic area – are rich in ancient monuments of great historical and artistic value.
But this sunny city boasts also delicious culinary traditions and lots of picturesque spots where you can admire the crystal-clear sea or where you can take a dip in the scents and colors of the Mediterranean nature.
So, to make sure you don’t miss the must-see while you're in Cagliari, here is our list of the Top 5 (+1) attractions you cannot miss. Check it out!
The main religious monument in Cagliari is located in the upper part of the city, the district of Castello. It is a 13th century Cathedral, built in Pisan-Romanesque style, with Gothic, Baroque and Neo-Romanesque influences.
The exterior façade, built with the white limestone of the Bonaria hill was rebuilt in 1931 by architect Francis Giarrizzo. It shines, overlooking the picturesque square below.
The entrance is free, and its wonderful interior houses important relics and artworks. For example, in the Aragonese Chapel is preserved an ancient relic that, according to the legend belonged to Jesus crown. Under the presbytery, the Crypt-Sanctuary preserves the relics of the local Martyrs.
This impressive defensive monument was erected at the beginning of the 14th century by the Pisans in order to strengthen its monopoly in the south of Sardinia, in response to the threatening Aragon rise in the Mediterranean Sea. It takes its name for a marble statue of an elephant that decorates the façade.
With its walls of thick limestone blocks, its narrow loopholes and its heavy gates, the Elephant Tower was originally used as an armoury and prison, but today it serves merely as an access to the Castello district. It can also be climbed, and from the top you can admire some of the most breathtaking views of the city.
The tower was designed by Giovanni Capula, the Sardinian architect who also designed the St. Pancras Tower, which is an identical tower on the opposite part of the district. Both tower are considered among the best military works of the entire Europe.
Located in the heart of the historic centre, this impressive monumental complex is probably the most representative monument in Cagliari, as well as one of the most popular and beloved meeting place for locals. An authentic symbol of the city.
The Bastion was built as a defensive outpost, nestled on the medieval boundary walls. It owes its name to the first Piedmontese Viceroy, the Baron of Saint Remy.
Built in a classic style with white limestone, the Bastion of Saint Remy was inaugurated in 1901, but during the World War II bombings in 1943 its façade was severely damaged. But later the destroyed parts were accurately reconstructed.
From the panoramic terraces of the rampart you will have the opportunity to admire unforgettable sunset on the Gulf of the Angels, with terrific picture opportunities.
The Roman Amphitheatre of Cagliari is probably the most important remain of the Roman Period in Sardinia. Dating back from the 2nd century AD, this building almost entirely is carved into the sloping rock of the southern hillside of Buoncammino.
The Amphitheatre could originally accommodate up to 10,000 spectators, and the bleachers are divided into three different orders, depending on the spectators' social class. The shows included fights between gladiators, or against wild beasts, which were kept in cages along the corridors, at the sides of the arena, and still visible today.
Make sure to don’t miss a walk along the panoramic street of Buoncammino to take a look at this extraordinary Roman ruin.
Built in the 18th century in the Neoclassical style, this religious complex is one of the most important in Cagliari. It consists in a small Catalan Gothic church dating back to the 14th century and the impressive Basilica.
Inside the Sanctuary is a Museum that preserves important archaeological finds, naval models, church ornaments and relics and, such as the wooden statue of Madonna with Child in her arms that – according to a legend – has miraculously arrived in Cagliari from the sea. The statue was soon celebrated in all Sardinia, and it was believed to be the protector of sailors.
The shining limestone-made exterior is characterized by Renaissance style, with its three-arches porch and the façade that overlooks the beautiful square where are two sculptures: the first depicting a ship in a stormy sea, evoking the discovery of the statue, and the second depicts Pope Paul VI. Just ahead of the square is the magnificent staircase, adorned with gardens and sculptures.
The Poetto is “the” beach of Cagliari, universally considered one of the longest and most beautiful urban beaches in Europe. Beloved by both, tourists and locals.
The vast beach stretches between Cagliari and the city of Quartu Sant'Elena. It starts with the Devil’s Saddle, one of the most significant features because of its particular shape that characterized the city skyline. You can climb the promontory through a walk up along a nature trail starting at Calamosca, and once at the top you’ll have the opportunity to admire beautiful views of the whole city and the beach.
As the Poetto is close to the Molentargius Natural Park, standing on the beach it is often possible to spot the colonies of pink flamingos, which have been safely nesting in Cagliari since 1993 in a protected oasis.
The Poetto beach today has a full range of facilities, such as equipped lidos, kiosks, bars, restaurants, sea sports centres and other attractions. You cannot say you’ve been in Cagliari without a walk or a swim at the Poetto beach!