Cagliari

description of D.H. Lawrence

"[...] And suddenly there is Cagliari: a naked town rising steep, steep, golden looking, piled naked to the sky from the plain at the head of a formless hollow bay. It is strange and rather wonderful, not a bit like Italy. The city piles up lofty and almost miniature, and makes me think of Jerusalem: without trees, without cover, rising rather bare and proud, remote as if back in history, like a town in a monkish, illuminated missal.

One wonders how it ever got there. And it seems like Spain or Malta: not Italy. It is a steep and lonely city, as in some old illumination. Yet withal rather jewel-like: like a sudden rose-cut amber jewel naked at the depth of the vast indenture. [...]"


Cagliari, Sardinia's main city, is situated in the middle of the Gulf of the Angels (Golfo degli Angeli). Spread out over seven hills (Sant'Elia, Bonaria, Monte Urpinu, Castello, Monte Claro, Tuvixeddu andSan Michele), Cagliari has Phoenician-Punic origins and today still conserves important Roman ruins such as the Amphitheatre, the Viper's cave and Tigellio's villa. During the first centuries of the last millennium, the town suffered the Spanish and Pisan dominations. Evidence of their influence can be found in the two Pisan towers built in the 1300's together with the massive city walls that mark and watch over the oldest part of the town Castello. In the Castello neighbourhood, you'll find the Cathedral, built in the same period as the towers (in 1254).

Thanks to its port, over time Cagliari has been Sardinia's entry, and therefore meeting point, of different cultures.

Cagliari is a town of many traditions. Still today there are numerous popular historical events. Among the most important is the S. Efisio festival. For the last 400 years, it has gathered thousands of believers in a procession behind this Saint and town's protector. Another important event is "Sa Die de sa Sardigna" (Sardinia Day) that recalls the people's insurrection ending with the expulsion of the Piedmonts from the island the 28th of April, 1794.

Today, Cagliari is an important point for sporting events such as the Women's beach volleyball World Championship. It takes place on the Poetto Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia and preferred destination for summer holidays for tourists and Cagliaritani alike.

 

 

 

Cagliari is set in a favourable position in the middle of a huge natural harbour boasting 8 Km of white sandy waterfront, called Poetto, enlivened by cafes and lounges and providing well equipped areas and facilities to hundreds of beach and water sport lovers. The waterfront beauty and uniqueness is enhanced by the surrounding Molentargius lagoon and saltpans, residence of thousands, flourishing pink flamingos and water birds nesting and breeding in a safeguarded and protected marine environment.

The city centre develops around and above the harbour area and a steep cobblestone path takes you to the old town called Castello, a medieval district on a rounded hilltop surrounded by a limestone wall. Tiny alleys and long flight steps open into wide terraces overlooking the city and the harbour below, with the imposing gulf right in the background. Sofas and cafes, music and cocktails are the setting for every night entertainment and enjoyment and a perfect location for tourists to mingle with the friendly, suntanned and fashionable local people.

Easy to explore over a week-end, its blend of narrow streets and boulevards are lined up with 14th and 15th century buildings where churches alternate with old cafes and designer's shops.

Within a short distance, the Archaeological Museum opens into an unimaginable past of the island with thousands of findings ranging from 6000 BC until 800 A.D. Obese female statuettes, bronze warriors and animals from the Middle and Late Neolithic, funerary urns, tools, artefacts and vases, from the dominations of Punic and Phoenician, from the Romans and ultimately the Byzantines. Before leaving the city centre, a visit to the fish market of San Benedetto is a true must. Open to the public and the trade every morning except on Sundays, it is a striking place for its colours and its shouting vendors. They loudly sell a huge variety of fish tidily lined up in marble stalls with busy customers bargaining over fine tuna and lobsters. Not unusual to spot some very old woman making and selling fresh pasta right on spot!


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