CAGLIARI

The City, with a very modern look, leans on a hill between two salt pools.

Since prehistoric times, there were villages present on the hills overlooking the Gulf of Cagliari, but the true and proper centre dates back to a Phoenician
Appropriation of the 7th Century BC, to which, in the end, a Carthaginian town planning nucleus was laid on top. It probably became a municipal during the Sillana era and receiving the full citizenship from Julius Caesar (Caralis or Karalis). It was a bishop’s seat during the 4th Century and a Christian cultural centre during the first half of the 5th Century after the African bishops’ immigration due to exile by the Vandali. They occupied the City during 454; the City was then re-conquered by Giustiniano during 534. It was subsequently pillaged by the Goths and Arabs; the latter imposing a short occupation of the City through an incursion until the end of the 11th Century, when the City entered into orbit with the activity of the marine republic of Genoa and Pisa. It was in the hands of the Pisani family since 1258, who constructed the renowned Castrum Kallaris (1270) and the Cathedral dedicated to Saint Cecilia (1312). Since 1326, after a fierce battle with Pisa, it became the possession of the Aragon’s and was the seat of the viceroy and the Sardinian parliament (the Stamenti). Four centuries of Catalan domination, then Spanish, gave the City a deep characteristic imprint. In 1708, during the war of Spanish Succession, Caglieri was bombed by the English and occupied by them in the name of Austria, then passed to the latter with the Treaty of Rastatt (1714). Four years later, with the Treaty of London, applied in 1720, the whole island was surrendered to the Savoia, though still preserving old privileges and rights. Repelled by a French invasion in 1793, it became the capital of the reign of Sardinia between 1799 and 1815 and the residence of the Savoia family. It remained an important stronghold until the end of 1862, at which time the defensive pieces were dismantled. The City was bombed numerous times during the Second World War.

There are some monumental remains from the Punic era, such as the cisterns in rock, whilst dating back to the Hellenistic period there’s a good example of a sanctuary with a cavea directly in front of the sacred fencing. There’s also an aqueduct dating back to Roman times (I st Century AD), numerous buildings, the Amphitheatre (dating back to the II Century AD, and one of the most notable Roman buildings in Sardinia), and finally the Thermal Baths.
There are various types of archaeological finds from the areas in the City, from terracotta figures to small bronzes, vases and coins which have all been conserved in the local National Archaeological Museum.

Amongst the main religious constructions in the City which underwent grave destruction over the centuries, we can note the Church of Saints Cosma and Damiano (already known as San Saturnino) dating back to the Palo Christian era; it is the oldest Christian monument in Sardinia and through its primitive form, also brings to mind an Arabian type of architecture, Cathedral of Saint Maria of Castello, from the 13th Century (on its exterior is preserves characteristics from Spanish architecture), re-adjusted during the 17th Century but the façade was redone more recently in 1933), conserving in its interior two pulpits formed from the parts of a Romanesque one which was dismantled to make room for a Gothic one, by Maestro Guglielmo (1159-1162) which came from the cathedral in Pisa, and the Church of the Purissima (16th Century) in a Gothic-Aragonite form.
The bombardments of 1943 almost totally destroyed the Church of San Domenico, founded in 1254.
The remains of the forts erected by the Pisani Family are also noteworthy: San Pancrazio Towers (1305), Elephant Towers (1307), Leoni Doorway, and outside the city walls, the San Michele Castle.

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CAGLIARI
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