On holiday in Cagliari: what to do, what to see

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The people of Cagliari have a great love for their city, and many are convinced that being born and living in Cagliari is a great fortune. They are not all wrong, Cagliari offers a lot and life is good. In addition to the long coastline with a crystalline sea, the many parks and gardens, the relaxing pedestrian areas, there is a lively cultural and social life. The squares, Yenne, Savoy, Santa Croce, Gramsci and the Saint Remy Bastion every evening they seem to be celebrating, with many young and old who gather for an aperitif or dinner sitting at the outdoor tables in all seasons. In the four historic districts, Castello, Villanova, Marina and Stampace, it is easy to find quiet corners for relaxation. Our favorite for the 11am break is Caffè Florio in Piazza San Domenico to the Villanova district or Dulcis in via Baylle at the Marina. In the evening it is pleasant to sit in the small square of via Savoia for an aperitif or dinner at Manàmanà.

In case of rain, you can stroll under the arcades of Via Roma or under the covered promenade, with entrance from the steps of the St. Remy Bastion. It is the historic living room of the city with the elegant arches and the archaeological paths of the Galleria dello Sperone. Throughout the year, in the covered spaces, you can visit exhibitions or participate in cultural meetings. Another space with covered areas, terraces and a very pleasant internal courtyard is the Exma, the former public slaughterhouse. Besides being a perfect place for a coffee or a quick lunch, you can attend events, visit art exhibitions and listen to good music.

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Viale Regina Elena is an important road in Cagliari that runs along the east side of the fortified ramparts of the upper city. An urban park runs along the avenue and leads to the public gardens of San VincenzoGuido Cozzi / Atlantide Phototravel

Between botanical gardens and flamingo parks

Cagliari is a green city, with parks, gardens and tree-lined avenues with very beautiful blooms, such as the jacarandas in Largo Carlo Felice. It is almost a Zen meditation to walk in theBotanical Garden which occupies 5 hectares, to admire the approximately 2000 plant species, Mediterranean, tropical and many succulents. Jan Brokken in his book «The soul of the cities» tells about Cagliari starting from the botanical garden, directed in the early 1900s by Eva Mameli, mother of the writer Italo Calvino. From the Monteclaro park on one of the seven hills of the city, the view sweeps over almost the whole city, the library inside is quiet and bright and is very popular with students from nearby universities.

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To the Music Parkthe complex to which it also belongs Opera Theater, an important institution in the city, the garden benches are shaded by sixty centenary plants. By renting a bike – even e-bikes – and following a cycle path, you will arrive at the Molentargius-Saline Natural Park. We start from the Nervi Pavilion, just restored, in Su Siccu, and almost always along the water, we arrive at the natural oasis which is home to hundreds of pink flamingos and other bird species.

There Saddle of the Devilat Poetto, a naturalistic promontory set in the Gulf of Cagliari

Andrea Lobina Photography

On the beach at Poetto

On the way back, a stop at Poetto, the coast of Cagliari, frequented all year round by swimmers and surfers who do not fear the cold. Along the six kilometers of beach there are many kiosks with restaurants, among the favorites of the locals who matter The Palmettes, simpler, famous for its mixed fried food, the Aurora in Marina Piccola with a terrace overlooking the sea. Very popular, always at Poetto, but towards Quartu, the Ricciomania restaurant, which, as the name implies, offers specialties with sea urchins, but also other Sardinian dishes. An iconic place for Cagliari is the Saddle of the Devilat Poetto, a naturalistic promontory set in the Gulf of Cagliari. A 4 kilometer trek undemanding with suitable shoes, take you to the top from where you can admire: the small bay of Cala Fighera, the Golfo degli Angeli, the Torre dei Segnali with the Cala Mosca lighthouse and the Pond of Cagliari. The route is well traced, with yellow-green lines, and is also very interesting at an archaeological, historical and naturalistic level. On the paths you will find S. Pietro palms, olive trees and junipers, a fort from World War II and the Torre di Sant’Elia built by the Pisans in 1292.

Around town

A fun way to discover the city, in particular the four historic districts, is to tour it on thecalessino bee which starts from via Roma, in front of the Rinascente, and offers various itineraries. The red train leaves from Piazza Carmine, which climbs up to the castle, the upper part of the city for the Casteddu Sardinians, with medieval squares and alleys, the Royal Palacethe Cathedral with the sanctuary of the martyrs And the Archbishopric. From the train you can get off and on, it is worth making a stop at the citadel of the Musesi with the archaeological Museum, with its mysterious giants of Monte ‘e Prama, great white stone warriors found in recent years in Sinis. Inside there is also the Pinacoteca, the Ethnographic Museum which preserves fabrics, jewels and antique furniture, and the Mas of Siamese art with paintings, Buddhist sculptures, silver and porcelain of the different civilizations of Asia.

They close the walls of the ancient city the tower of the Elephant of 1300 and the twin of S. Pancrazio. Between the Via Santa Croce and the Via Stretta del Castello is the Ghetto, the neighborhood (erroneously called ghetto) hosted the Jewish community of Cagliari in the Middle Ages. In the area of ​​the Ghetto, with a panoramic terrace, until 19 June it is possible to visit the exhibition “Onde sonore. Music from the sea: a journey through the seas of Sardinia, a visual / sound / musical journey born from a project by Andrea Palombini and Federico Ortica. Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 May thanks to Monumenti Aperti it will be possible to visit some sites open only for the occasion, such as the oldest church in Cagliari and the adjacent necropolis, dedicated to San Saturnino, patron saint of the city.

To discover the real heart of the city, it is nice to walk around the four historic districts, even aimlessly, because there will be many “random” discoveries. For example, in the Villanova district, an ancient baker district, almost entirely pedestrian, you can walk surrounded by greenery. The low houses have few balconies and terraces, so the inhabitants of the area put their greenery in large pots in front of the entrance doors.

From the profane to the sacred to visit two important churches: a Stampace there church of San Michele Arcangelo it is the symbol of Baroque art in Sardinia with eight richly decorated chapels and the imposing high altar, dominated by the statue of the saint in polychrome wood. Another church that deserves a visit is that of Sant’Agostino in the historic district of Marina. The building is one of the rare examples of Renaissance style architecture in Sardinia. Inside there are paintings by various authors, the ancient statue of the saint and a baroque altar in gilded wood. The religious tour is not complete without a visit to the monumental cemetery of the Madonna di Bonaria, better if guided (Voleare cooperative tel. 070/300205) created in 1816 when, due to the cholera epidemic that hit Cagliari, the existing cemeteries were no longer sufficient. From the second half of the nineteenth century to the first decades of the twentieth century with the burials of the deceased of noble families and the bourgeoisie, the cemetery has become almost an open-air museum with precious sculptures in different styles, from neo-gothic to neoclassical and liberty of the most important Sardinian sculptors.

Source: Vanity Fair

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