Cagliari: the Citadella of Museums
In the Castello district, within the Regio Arsenale, is the largest museum complex in Sardinia, the Cittadella dei Musei.The structure includes the Archaeological Museumwith a collection of finds from the prehistoric era to the Byzantine period. You will also find Nuragic bronze statuettes, Nuragic sculptures of Mont’e Prama, Phoenician jewels, Mother Goddess statues, the National Pinacotheca with various painting collections, and the Ethnographic Museum.
Sardinia has an unbelievable amount of archaeological sites that are recognized worldwide for their historical importance. Some of the most significant sites are accessible from San Sperate within a one hour drive.
Nora in Pula
Nora is the first city of Phoenician heritage in Sardinia, located in a strategic location with a breathtaking landscape. After the Phoenicians, the area was occupied by the Carthaginians, followed by the Romans, leaving amazing architectural structures, such as the thermal baths and the amphitheater. The oldest Phoenician inscription in the whole Mediterranean is also found in Nora, dating back to 900 BC.
Pranu Mutteddu in Goni
Goni is a small village (just 500 inhabitants) in an uncontaminated territory that hosts numerous important prehistoric sites.
The archaeological park of Pranu Mutteddu s probably the best known site. Located inside a cork forest is one of the most significant archaeological areas in Sardinia. In this park there are burial grounds, a small cluster of huts, and domus de Janas. The site was inhabited between 3600 BC and 2600 BC. There are also groups of menhir,(elongated stones set in the ground). There are enough of these to be called the Sardinian Stonehenge.
Santa Anastasia in Sardara
Sardara is located in the center of the Campidano area. It was awarded the Orange Flag in 2005 by the Touring Club, and is known primarily for their natural thermal hot springs. The water gushes out at 50°C to 69°C. The most relevant historical area is the Nuragic sanctuary of Sant’Anastasia located in the upper part of the town. It took its name from a nearby church. The temple is built around a sacred well fed by underground aquifers called funtana de is dolus (source of pain), which was used in the ancient times for the worship of water.
Tomb of the Giants Sa Domu and s'Orku in Siddi
In the Giara of Siddi, a basaltic plateau of volcanic origin with an area of 960 hectares, there are significant remains of the Nuragic civilization. There you can find the Tomb of the Giants Sa Domu e s’Orku, a nearly entirely intact and well-preserved structure. The blocks are finely shaped and carved.
In the Giara of Serri rises another important structure, the sanctuary of Santa Vittoria. It is a large sacred area containing: a sanctuary, a well for the worship of water, a two-altar hypethral temple, a priest's and chief's hut, a celebration enclosure, and a market. The sanctuary was built when the Nuragic civilization resided, during the Punic-Roman age. In the Byzantine period, the church of Santa Maria Della Vittoria was created, then rebuilt in the 11th-12th century.
Barumini: Nuraghe Su Nuraxi and Museo Casa Zapata
In Marmilla, on the slopes of the Giara plateau and not far from the town of Barumini, stands the only archaeological site in Sardinia declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (1997): Su Nuraxi. It is the most impressive and well preserved monumental complex of the Nuragic civilization. It spans a history of two thousand years, from the sixteenth century BC. to the seventh century AD. The plateau is a complex nuraghe, composed of a bastion with a central tower (18 meters high) and four corner towers, with a sort of intricate village of 50 huts (dating back to the Late Bronze Age), wells, and cisterns. The prehistoric origins of Barumini are also witnessed by another three-lobed nuraghe, in the center of the town, dating back to the sixteenth century BC. The Nuraxi e Cresia (nuraghe of the church) came to light during the renovation of Casa Zapata. The beautiful residence of Aragonese barons (arrived in Sardinia in 1323), built in the mid-1500s, is a rare example of Renaissance-inspired Hispanic public architecture.
Villanovafranca: Nuraghe e Civico Museo Su Mulinu
The complesso nuragico su Mulinu sorge su un’altura che domina la valle del rio Mannu, nei pressi di Villanovafranca. Presenta una sovrapposizione di varie tipologie costruttive risalenti a differenti epoche. A partire dal XIV secolo a.C. su Mulinu fu luogo di culto, come testimoniato dai due focolari rituali nel vano centrale della fortezza. I materiali rinvenuti negli scavi sono esposti nel civico museo archeologico su Mulinu, allestito nell’ottocentesco ex monte granatico di Villanovafranca.
Nuraghe and Civic Genna Maria Museum
The Nuraghe of Villanovaforru dominates the Marmilla area between Oristano and Cagliari, respectively 50 kilometers away. Both are visible from the height of 400 meters. It is a nuraghe with a complex structure. Originally (in fifteenth century BC) it was a rampart with three large towers joined by thick walls surrounding a central tower with an inner chamber. Later, the tower was enclosed and partially rebuilt with a bastion of four towers with loopholes. In the eleventh century BC, the quadrilobate mural was surrounded by a wall with six corner towers. The inside and outside portions gradually grew up the village. The construction started around the tenth century BC and, step by step, became bigger.
The Genna Maria Archaeological Museum displays the valuable discoveries that showcase the industriousness of the Nuragic and post-Nuragic civilization through seven centuries. Pre-Nuragic, Nuragic, Punic, Roman and Late Antique Roman findings from settlements, necropolis, and monumental tombs of the Marmilla area are also collected in the Sa Corona Arrubia Consortium.
the ancient city of Sulki
Founded by the Phoenicians around 770 BC, Sant’Antioco was one of the most important centers of the area and was occupied in 520 BC by the Carthaginians. Quite impressive is the Tofet, a typical Phoenician sanctuary, where children were cremated and buried in urns. The Punic necropolis (from fifth to third century BC) with an extension of six hectares, suggests that the city was very populated, with about 10,000 inhabitants. As often happens, the Punic necropolis, from the Roman and, in the Christian era, produced catacombs.
Monte Sirai area
Founded by the Phoenicians in 750 BC, then occupied by the Carthaginians in 520 BC which, after a period of decline, fortified and rebuilt it (250 BC). The Roman occupation of the second century did not affect its layout, for this reason, it is considered the most entire Phoenician-Punic colony. Houses, squares, temple, tofet, and necropolis are still identifiable.
The Villaperuccio is the most extensive Domus de Janas burial ground in southern Sardinia, one of the most relevant remains of the pre-Nuragic era. The necropolis composed of over 40 graves dug into the rock, and was in use for a millennium and a half, from the end of Neolithic (3200 - 2800 BC) to the First Bronze Age (1800-1600 BC). In addition to the necropolis, the area hosts an important archaeological park.