Cagliari and Surroundings


The island of Sardinia, with its 24,089 square Km surface land, is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean. Sardinia's coastline (over 2,000 Km) makes up a quarter of the entire Italian coast and is probably Europe's most spectacular.

Cagliari, located in the South of the island, is the capital of Sardinia and has a population of about 400,000 in its metropolitan area. It is located at the center of the wide Mediterranean gulf of Cagliari and is the main port and airport of the island. An ancient city with a long history, Cagliari is today Sardinia's economic and industrial hub.

Cagliari is a city with a fascinating history. It has been inhabited for a very long time, and owes its features to a melting pot of traditions, architectural styles and habits.

Cagliari was initially a Carthagenean colony, and later thrived under Roman rule. Its Roman amphitheater is a major roman heritage. Almost destroyed by the Saracens, the city  reflourished  under the Republic of Pisa starting from the 11th century. Three gates guarded by three towers – St. Pancras', Elephant's and Lions' – together with the Cathedral, are the most notable Pisan traces in the city. In 1326 the Aragonese conquered the city, thus beginning four centuries of Spanish domination. Still today, the city's urban structure, architecture and monuments reveal the city's medieval heritage, with the old town in an elevated position. Downhill lays the old port quarter.

In the light of sunset, a beautiful view with shining domes can be enjoyed from the medieval quarter of Castello (the Castle) surrounded by its grey walls and shadows of the towers. But the city shows other Spanish elements besides the Castle, as well as quarters from the 18th and 19th Centuries. Saint Remy Bastion is one of the city's main fortifications.

The most important archaeological museum of the Island is in Cagliari and around the City there are also many archaeological remains dating  back to the Nuragic, Punic and Roman culture.

The main exhibition is dedicated to the extraordinary Mont’e Prama statues, ancient stone sculptures created by the Nuragic civilization of Sardinia, Italy. Inside the museums, an interactive system, developed by CRS4, lets visitors virtually explore every statue at very high resolution using a touch screen connected to a large rear projection system. The user interface lets visitors select a model for visual exploration, seamlessly moving from overall views to detail analysis thanks to multiresolution visualization techniques. Synthetic lights and illustrative shading methods allow one to appreciate even the smallest surface relief.

Only 15 km away lays the Poetto beach, which is about 10 km long. Poetto Beach is also home to the Harbor of Marina Piccola where you can rent surf boards and boats. Many other beaches can be found along the coast, both South-East and South-West from the city. Behind the Poetto beach, the Molentargius natural park hosts numerous birds, among them pink flamingoes, and marsh harriers.

Further information about Sardinia

SardegnaTurismo: the official tourist information site of the Region of Sardinia

Tourist itineraries: selected tourist itineraries

CagliariTurismo: info point of the city of Cagliari

City Tour Cagliari: open bus tours of the city of Cagliari

Recommended visits around Cagliari

The following are only three among many possible suggestions.

Nora, the Roman e Phoenician ruins built on a peninsula, an hour's drive west of Cagliari in Pula. Still surviving today are beautiful mosaics, Roman baths, and the remains of tombs and warehouses and a gorgeous amphitheatre. Much of the site is now submerged and scuba diving tours over these portions can be arranged.

Su nuraxi in Barumini, 60 km from Cagliari,  one of the most famous and important archaeological sites of Sardinia,  and a UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The complex is centered around a three-story tower built around the 16th century BC.

Grotte is Zuddas, 60 km from Cagliari, caves in which time has playfully created a fairytale world: there are stalactites and aragonite formations, including the spectacular, eccentric filaments of pure white aragonite that grow in all directions, seemingly defying the laws of gravity.

Sardinia climate

The climate is typical of the central Mediterranean area with mild winters and hot summers. Thanks to its geographical position, Sardinia is often refreshed by north-westerly winds with a constant breeze.

The average minimum annual temperature is +4°C, while the average maximum is +38°C. The warm season begins slowly in May, with an average daily temperature varying between +12°C for the daily minimum and +22°C for the daily maximum. In May, the average sea surface temperature in Cagliari (Poetto beach) is about +17°C.