|Cagliari, is a city which has inspired poets
and writers, it displays a rare, unusual beauty sat on the splendid Angel
bay: these impressive stone forts are reflected in the crystal waters,
these forts are immediately (and unexpectedly) visible to those who arrive
70 years ago, D.H. Lawrence felt that the city that rose in an unexpected like a golden mountain, he compared it to Jerusalem, claiming that there was nothing Italian about it.
Words can hardly describe the scenery that greets you from the prow of the boat, as you approach the coast. The city rises behind Via Roma culminating in the ancient majesty of the Castello quartiere. Via Roma is the keeper of many of the city's memories, a silent spectator of all the comings and goings of the local bourgeoisie who have chosen her as one an ideal place to take an afternoon stroll. The Via was at one point abandoned by Cagliari's inhabitants, but she now seems to be undergoing some form of revival: once again, people sit on her benches and reflect on life, while those who used this place to carry on sordid transactions have now fled to darker dens.
Via Roma leads from the port to Essa, Marina, which is part of the
centro storico, along with Stampace, Villanova and Castello. In ancient
times it was surrounded by a wall, today it still conserves its square
shape of the Castrum romano, delineated by Via Roma, Largo Carlo Felice,
Viale Regina Margherita and by the Castello's forts on the hill. It is a
maze of streets and steps which lead down to the sea, allowing you to
glimpse beautiful snippets of the bay and the mountains of Capoterra; the
silence in these sidestreets which contrasts with the chaos of the port
and the Largo Carlo Felice is bound to stun any visitor. In the past it
was the headquarters of many religious buildings which have long since
been destroyed, but some of the main attractions in the city are still its
churches eg the Baroque churches of Sant'Antonio Abate and Santa Rosalia,
the Gothic Catalan design of Sant'Eulalia and the Santo Sepolcro, and the
Renaissance interiors of Sant'Agostino.
Via Manno marks the end of the quartiere, here you will find high quality shops, the heart of commerce and trade, although in recent years many of the more distinctive boutiques have had to close.
Castello sits next to Marina, this is the city's ancient stronghold. Three ports can be reached from here to the north is Porta San Pancrazio (or s'Avanzada) and Porta Cristina, with Porta dei Leoni to the south. These introduce to a grid of narrow tiled streets in which can be seen traces of the Spanish domination.
The first two ports lead to Piazza Arsenale where the Torre di San
Pancrazio stands and where you'll find the headquarters of the Cittadella
dei Musei. Via Martini, which has been renovated (along with other streets
such as Via Lamarmora and Via Cannelles), leads to Piazza Palazzo. This
was once the political, administrative and religious centre of the city.
The Cathedral is located here, as is the Vecchio Municipio, the Palazzo
Viceregio and the Archbishops headquarters.The whole quartiere is a
melting-pot of churches blessed with glorious architecture and precious
furnishings eg the church of the Blessed Virgin
The old private palaces, which still bear traces of the ancient nobility and are still closely linked with the areas around them. Numerous shops and workshops grab the attention of passersby and in the evening, lots of pubs and bars offer an comfortable place to relax where the young things of Cagliari can eat, drink and listen to live music.
It is difficult not to be tempted by the Bastione di Saint Remy on Sunday morning where you can indulge in lots of purchases in its market. From the Bastion you can wander into Via Università and drink in the sights of the Torre dell'Elefante and the ancient university library in the ex Seminario Tridentino. The Scalette di Santa Chiara are just ahead and lead to Piazza Yenne and on to Stampace.
Stampace is another area that has many churches. The first is Sant'Anna, which is in Via Azuni, this is a breathtaking piece of architecture with a grand and imposing flight of steps. Behind her is Santa Restituta's and Sant'Efisio, where stories of persecutions and martyrdom dating back to the dark ages add to the religious significance of this church. At the end of Via Azuni, beyond the Porta dello Sperone, is the Baroque Chiesa di San Michele, which is just as sumptuous as Sant'Anna.
The monumental Saint John's hospital is on Via Ospedale and it is worth visiting, dating back to the second half of the XIX secolo, as are the nineteenth century prison and Carlo Alberto barracks in the spacious Passeggiata di Buon Cammino. These buildings are enough to make a criminal think twice. The little church of SS.Lorenzo e Pancrazio is also close by. Viale S.Ignazio is home to some of the most important sites in the city: Anfiteatro Romano and the Villa di Tigellio. The Orto Botanico lies between these two buildings and is of national importance as it is filled with rare trees and offers a veritable oasis of peace for any visitor or tourist.
The Chiesa dell'Annunziata in Corso Vittorio Emanuele dates back to the XVII century and is the home to the Scolopi order. Viale Trento is near to the Corso and is filled with many villas from the early 1900s.
From here, we enter into the quartiere of Sant'Avendrace where the Necropolis of Tuvixeddu rests on the hills of the same name the Necropolis was used by the Romans and behind this lies a tomb monument known as Grotta della Vipera the viper's cave.
Villanova is also an historic quartiere, which represents the city's
expansion beyond its ancient city walls towards the adjoining countryside;
remains of these can be seen in some of the ancient gardens which are
hidden by high walls.
To the north, the Viale Regina Elena marks the boundaries of this area, which stretches back to the rock of Castello, close to the Public Gardens, where you can visit the Modern Art Gallery.
The city seems to have spread out towards the east and the west and from here arose the quartiere of Villanova, and where the quartieres of sia verso est che verso ovest, dove a partire dal primo dopoguerra sono sorti i quartieri di S.Benedetto, S.Lucifero arose after the first world war (around the area which contains Basilica di S.Saturno and the Chiesa di S.Lucifero), S.Alenixedda, Bonaria, all of tutti di origine recente, which owe their name to the churches around them. The city expands westwards to the quartieres of Genneruxi, Monte Urpinu, Fonsarda and La Vega, Monte Claro until it reaches Pirri (which is Cagliari's 11th district); it stretches south with areas such as Quartiere del Sole, La Palma, S.Elia (an ancient fishermen's suburb, which was at one time separated from the city) and Poetto. Moving further north you will find S.Avendrace, Is Mirrionis, S.Michele and lastly the newly created Mulinu Becciu.
The city reaches down to Molentargius and S.Gilla, and at sunset, thousand of lights in the hills twinkle on the water and the evening sky is filled with flamingos returning to rest amongst the reeds.