Cagliari

Cagliari is the capital city of Sardinia and the island’s largest urban centre. Founded in ancient times by Phoenician mariners, it is set between the sea and the coastal wetlands. From the sea, it appears as a shining white fortress, with an unmistakable profile formed by the fortified quarter of Castello, with its bastions, the two medieval towers looming over it and the dome of the cathedral. Its most ancient heart is divided into four quarters consisting of narrow alleyways paved in cobblestones, flanked by old houses, workshops and many, many churches, at times almost hidden. Karalis, its name in ancient times, meant “city of stone”, but in the Sardinian tongue they just call it Casteddu, the castle. Perhaps its two names are just two ways of expressing the wonder of its beauty at sunset, when the sun bathes the city in shades of red and gold.

The port

The aspect and the function of the port of Cagliari have evolved with the city. At one time a fortified area of arrival and departure of goods and traders, fishing boats, sailing vessels and ferries. Today it is increasingly a terminal for cruise ships and a point of departure for pleasure boats. And an important base for sailing boats competing in international events, such as Luna Rossa. Facing it is the picturesque Marina quarter.

The Bastion

Your experience of Cagliari would not be complete without enjoying the jaw-dropping view offered by the panoramic terrace on top of the Saint Remy Bastion. The best time is at sunset, as the flocks of pink flamingos fly across the city on their way back to the Molentargius wetland and the setting sun reveals the beauty of the Gulf of Angels. The covered promenade hosts exhibitions and events and, in the summer nights, the entire Bastion, with its bars and cafés, becomes a buzzing nightlife spot.

Castello

Castello in Cagliari is a fortified quarter which was constructed on a precipitous limestone hill which overlooks the city’s other historic quarters. From the top of its parapets, you can enjoy some of the most splendid panoramic views of Cagliari. Long stretches of the walls are still in existence, as are two imposing stone towers, the Elephant Tower and the Tower of San Pancrazio. Castello is also home to the Cathedral of Santa Maria, Pisan in origin but with later additions over the centuries.

Stampace

At one time, this was the quarter inhabited by artisans and merchants and indeed Stampace still holds the true soul of Cagliari. Today it is enjoying a new lease of life, and has become the pulsing heart of the city’s nightlife. From Piazza Yenne to Corso Vittorio Emanuele, visitors will find a pedestrian area brimming with eateries, restaurants and bars, interspersed with artisan workshops and antiquarians’ shops.