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Cagliari (Sardinia), Italy

Cagliari is an Italian municipality and the capital of the island of Sardinia, an autonomous region of Italy. Cagliari's Sardinian name Casteddu means castle. Cagliari is the 26th largest city in Italy and the largest city on the island of Sardinia.

An ancient city with a long history, Cagliari has seen the rule of several civilizations. Under the buildings of the modern city, there is a continuous stratification attesting to a human settlement over the course of some five thousand years, from the Neolithic to today. Historical sites include the prehistoric domus de janas, very damaged by cave activity, a large Carthaginian era necropolis, a Roman-era amphitheater, a Byzantine basilica, three Pisan-era towers and a strong system of fortification that made the town the core of Spanish Habsburg imperial power in the western Mediterranean Sea. Its natural... Read more

Cagliari (Sardinia), Italy


Cagliari is an Italian municipality and the capital of the island of Sardinia, an autonomous region of Italy. Cagliari's Sardinian name Casteddu means castle. Cagliari is the 26th largest city in Italy and the largest city on the island of Sardinia.

An ancient city with a long history, Cagliari has seen the rule of several civilizations. Under the buildings of the modern city, there is a continuous stratification attesting to a human settlement over the course of some five thousand years, from the Neolithic to today. Historical sites include the prehistoric domus de janas, very damaged by cave activity, a large Carthaginian era necropolis, a Roman-era amphitheater, a Byzantine basilica, three Pisan-era towers and a strong system of fortification that made the town the core of Spanish Habsburg imperial power in the western Mediterranean Sea. Its natural resources have always been its sheltered harbor, the often powerfully fortified hill of Monti Castru, the modern Casteddu, the salt from its lagoons, and, from the hinterland, wheat from the Campidano plain and silver and other ores from the Iglesiente mines.

Cagliari was the capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia from 1324 to 1848, when Turin became the formal capital of the kingdom (which in 1861 became the Kingdom of Italy). Today the city is a regional cultural, educational, political and artistic center, known for its diverse Art Nouveau architecture and several monuments. It is also Sardinia's economic and industrial hub, having one of the biggest ports in the Mediterranean Sea, an international airport, and the 106th highest income level in Italy (among 8,092 comuni), comparable to that of several northern Italian cities.

It is also the seat of the

University of Cagliari

, founded in 1607, and of the Primate Roman Catholic archdiocese of Sardinia, since the 5th century AD.

Tourism is one of the major industries of the city, although historical venues such as its monumental Middle Ages and Early modern period defence system, its Carthaginian, Roman and Byzantine ruins are less highlighted compared to the recreational beaches and coastline. Cruise ships touring the Mediterranean often stop for passengers at Cagliari, and the city is a traffic hub to the nearby beaches of Villasimius, Chia, Pula, and Costa Rei, as well as to the urban beach of Poettu. Pula is home to the archaeological site of the Punic and Roman city of Nora. Especially in summer many clubs and pubs are goals for young locals and tourists. Pubs and night-clubs are concentrated in the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, a narrow street in Stampace district, in the Marina district, near the port, and in the Castello district, The clubs are mostly to befound on the Poetto Beach (in summer) or in Viale Marconi (in winter). In Cagliari, there are 180 B&B and 22 hotels that totals 3,300 beds. There are many others hotels in the seaside resort of his gulf.


Cagliari has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa), typical of your location with hot, dry summers and mild winters like other historical regions along the coast. Its precipitation values also bring it closer to semi-arid conditions. The summer extreme values can be slightly over 40 °C (104 °F), sometimes with very high humidity, while in winter, under special and rare conditions, the temperature drops slightly below zero. Heavy snowfalls occur on average every thirty years.

The average temperature of the coldest month, January, is about 10 °C (50 °F), and of the warmest month, August, about 25 °C (77 °F). But heatwaves can occur, due to African anticyclone, starting in June. From mid-June to mid-September, rain is a rare event, limited to brief afternoon storms. The rainy season starts in September, and the first cold days come in December.

Winds are frequent, especially the mistral and sirocco; in summer a marine sirocco breeze (called s'imbattu in Sardinian language) lowers the temperature and brings some relief from the heat.

Tourist information

  • Infopoint, Via Roma n. 145 (Palazzo Comunale), ☏ +39 070 6777397, ✉ Apr-Oct: 09:00-20:00; Nov-Mar: M-Sa 10:00-13:00 14:00-17:00, Su 10:00-13:00.

Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0

Cagliari (Sardinia), Italy: Port Information

Cruise ships dock close to the city center – you just have to cross a wide boulevard in front of the Port. Most of the attractions can be easily covered on foot.
Besides, you can take advantage of shuttle service.

Get around Cagliari (Sardinia), Italy

By public transportation

Cagliari Public Transportation CTM provides a fast and efficient service to get around in Cagliari city and suburbs. There are about 30 lines of buses, and four new metro lines are in progress. At least the bus traffic is amazingly efficient and reliable to Italian standards. It is advised to buy tickets from automatic vending machines or tobacco-shops ("Tabacchi") or newsstands ("Edicola") before getting on the bus. Some cafe/bars also sell tickets ("biglietti"). Look for a "CTM" sign for an establishment that sells tickets. Remember to validate your ticket once on board.

There is a light rail service in Cagliari known by its commercial name "Metrocagliari." Presently it serves in between the stops 'Repubblica' and 'Policlinico Universitaria.' Presently, the tram line does not serve the area of popular tourist attractions. Take note that the 'CTM ticket' is not valid on the tram as it is operated by 'ARST Gestione FdS.'

By taxi

Taxis are available in very few specific taxi stands or by advanced booking over the telephone (Quattro Mori: 070 400101 and Rossoblù: 070 6655). As the main attractions are either very close to the city center or very well connected by public transport, taxis are not very essential.

By car

It is really difficult to get parking and drive in a rush-hour even if the road network has been recently improved.

On foot

The best thing you can do is walk through the old city and discover it. Almost everything you have to see in a quick visit to Cagliari can be joined by a pleasant little walk.

Wear comfortable shoes, though. The old town of Cagliari lies on a somewhat steep hill so that you will be walking uphill or downhill most of the time.

There are clean public toilets in the building on the Pontile Sanita ferry wharf, near the bus terminal.

By bike

The Cagliari bike station is in the center of Cagliari, inside the parking area, at the train station. Please take note that Cagliari is a hilly city and biking in the historic center can be tiresome. Also, in most of the parts of Cagliari, there are no specific bike lanes.

What to see in Cagliari (Sardinia), Italy

History and architecture

Most of the historic and architectural attractions in Cagliari are very close to the main city center (Via Roma/Piazza Yenne) can be covered on foot.
  • Santuario e Basilica di Bonaria is worth a visit. The complex consists of a sanctuary, a basilica, and a cemetery. You can either walk from the port or take buses numbered 5, 31, 30, PF, PQ. Line 5 takes you in front of the church. The other lines take you 200m away from the complex.
  • Bastione di Saint Remy is very popular for the beautiful panoramic view of the city. Can be pretty noisy in the evening, thanks to a popular cafe located on the piazza at the top, but very quiet and tranquil in the morning. After you've enjoyed the view below, don't forget to go even higher and explore the streets and piazzas there.
  • Chiesa di Santa Maria
  • Torre di San Pancrazio and Torre dell'Elefante are both typical examples of Pisan military architecture. These towers provide a great view of the city, the port area, and the distant mountains.
  • Chiesa di San Michele is located at the end of via Azuni, 5min walk from Piazza Yenne.
  • Castello di San Michele was built in the XII century and located on one of the beautiful hills in Cagliari city. The San Michele castle offers an interesting story and a beautiful view to his visitors.
  • Considerable remains of the ancient city are still visible at Cagliari, including those of the Roman Amphitheatre, traditionally called Is centu scalas ("One hundred steps"), carved into a block of rock (the typical limestone from which Cagliari is built), and of an aqueduct, used to provide a water in which it is generally scarce.


  • Museo Archeologico Nazionale
  • Cittadella dei Musei
  • Capitol arte contemporanea


  • Parco Naturale Molentargius-Saline
  • Orto Botanico

What to do in Cagliari (Sardinia), Italy


  • Poetto: is an 8 km long beach that will excite you and is perfectly equipped to satisfy every your wish. You can get there by buses PF, PQ, 3P, PE and 9P.
The beach is divided into the free parts and the beach clubs, the latter charging you with an entry fee but rent umbrellas, deck chairs, etc. for you. The club beaches clean the sand each night and provide you with showers and toilets.
  • Calamosca is a smaller but very beautiful beach which can be reached by bus 5/11. Take note that during the peak season, the beach gets very crowded so plan to get there earlier.

Day trips

Sardinia is a land of natural beauty with exciting places with historic interests. There are many beautiful places worthy of a day trip. In many cases, there is no efficient public transport system to reach these places, and so, you have to rent a car. Also, there are many companies that conduct day trips at affordable prices.
  • Isola di San Pietro or San Pietro Island is an island is of volcanic origin. With 51 square kilometers (19.7 sq mi) it is the sixth-largest island of Italy by area. The island is connected by regular ferry service to Portovesme and Calasetta.
  • Villasimius is a municipality in the Province of Cagliari, located about 35 kilometers (22 mi) east of Cagliari. It is famous for its beautiful beaches. Most important beaches of the area are Porto Sa Ruxi, Piscadeddus, Campus, Cala caterina, Cala Burroni, Porto Giunco, Timi Ama, Simius, Punta Molentis, Spiaggia del Riso.
  • Chia is popular for its beautiful beaches.
  • Cala Domestica is another small but beautiful beach.
  • Barumini is a municipality in the Province of Medio Campidano, located about 50 kilometers (31 mi) north of Cagliari and about 15 kilometers (9 mi) northeast of Sanluri. It is home to Su Nuraxi di Barumini, a Nuraghe complex listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Nora is an ancient Roman and pre-Roman town placed on a peninsula near Pula, near to Cagliari. According to legend, Nora was founded by a group of Iberians from Tartessus led by Norax, a mythological hero son of Eriteide and the god Hermes. It is believed to be the first town founded in Sardinia and to have been settled by the ancient Sherden or the Nuraghi people, and later colonized by Phoenicians

What to eat and drink in Cagliari (Sardinia), Italy


There are many restaurants in the old town area, and you probably will not make a bad selection anyway since the food seems to be top class at least if you enjoy seafood.

There are also a few places to enjoy lunch salads at the Piazza Yenne and wonderful Gelaterias if you don't want to eat too heavily during the day. These places double up as decent eateries by night.
  • l'Oca Bianca, Via Napoli, 38 (Marina District), ☎ 070 664339. A good pizza place tucked away in the side streets. Make a reservation, though. 
  • Glitter, Via dei Genovesi, 22 (Castello area). If you want to taste another kind of typical Italian food, try piadine at this place. This small café has a unique atmosphere that recalls medieval times with its stone walls, and you can admire a Punic cistern under your feet while tasting delicious piadine.  
  • Trattoria Sa Turra, Via Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 126, ☎ "070. A traditional low-key place to eat that's been serving traditional pasta and seafood dishes since the 1930s. Affordable and friendly.  


  • Cafe Restaurant Van Gogh, coastal road Cagliari Villasimius km 19,4, ☎ 070 786082. Traditional Sardinian food that is freshly prepared and beautifully presented, afternoon light meals and salads, lunches, and dinners, prix fix lunch menus, facilities for children, good parking. Close to beach

Shopping in Cagliari (Sardinia), Italy

Most of the shops are concentrated in a couple of areas: Via Roma and Largo Carlo Felice, the pedestrian roads Via Manno and Via Garibaldi, and the part of town around Via Alghero, Via Paoli and Via Dante. Lots of beautiful shops are concentrated in these areas which could remind you of Copenhagen's Strøget.

Safety in Cagliari (Sardinia), Italy

In general, Cagliari is a very safe city in comparison to many touristic places in Europe. Most of the pubs and bars are located around 'Piazza Yenne' in the city center. This place is quite safe and lively even very late at night. Try to avoid small dark alleyways and deserted small streets.

Language spoken in Cagliari (Sardinia), Italy

The native language of Cagliari, declared official along with Italian, is Sardinian (sardu), a Romance language, specifically the Campidanese dialect (campidanesu) in its local variant (casteddaju).

The variant of Cagliari in its high register has traditionally represented the linguistic model of reference for the entire southern area of the island, and the high social variant used by the middle class in the whole Campidanese domain, as well as the literary model of reference for writers and poets. This language is less spoken by the younger generations in the city, who use Italian instead as that language is compulsory in education and the mass media. Italian has increasingly become predominant in social relations, both formal and informal, relegating Sardinian to a mostly marginal role in everyday life. Young people often have only passive competence in the language, gathered from elderly relatives who still speak it, as their parents often speak only Italian, or they may use a juvenile slang (italianu porceddinu) that mixes both Sardinian and Italian.

Since Cagliari was the metropolis of the ancient Roman province, it absorbed innovations coming from Rome, Carthage, and Constantinople, and its language probably reflected late Latin urban dialects of the 5th-century core cities of the empire.


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