CAGLIARI, once a Carthaginian port, then an important Roman city, fought for by Pisa and Genoa in the Middle Ages, falling under the rule of the Aragonese in the 14° century.
We shall devote a day of our journey to the city. The most ancient and interesting part stands on the hill between the modern streets of Via Mannu and Via Regina Elena. Let us begin by visiting the Umberto I Terrace, like a spur over the city and harbour, vrithin sight of the ruined walls of the Castle.
Narrow streets lead us towards the Cathedral, Romanesque but with a recently rebuilt facade. There are two superb works of art in the interior, the pulpit, carved by Maestro Guglielmo between 1159 and 1162 for the Cathedral of Pisa, and which the Tuscan city gave to Cagliari, and the Altar-piece by the Fleming Gerard David which a Spanish soldier left here in a fit of remorse, having looted it in during the Sack of Rome (1527). Through Via Martini Lo Piazza Indipendenza where stands the Archaeological Museum, the most important on the island, with a wealth of bronze statuettes (over 400) of the Nuraghic age of the 8°-5° centuries BC and of Punic, Greek and Roman sculpture. In the Pictures Gallery are collections of works by Spanish and Sardinian painters. Along Via Buon Cammino we go down to the majestic Roman Amphitheatre, carved out of the side of the mountain. And from here, through the paths of the Botanical Gardens, we can mach the elegant Baroque church of San Michele from which, through Via Sassari, we reach the Palazzo Comunale, rebuilt in Aragonese style since the war (tapestries and paintings inside). In the lower part of the city the ruins of San Domenico, destroyed by bombing in the last war, are still to be seen; part of the Aragonese Gothic Cloister remains.
We now go to the extreme southeastern tip of the island; leaving Cagliari we pass Quartu Sant'Elena (fine altar-piece in the Parish Church) and take the coast road through fine landscapes and luxuriant orange groves to Villasimius (45 km. - 28 mi. from Cagliari) on Cape Carbonara from which we climb to Cape delta Marina (important nuraghi near here). We pass Castiadas to arrive at San Priamo (27 km. - 17 mi. from Villasimius) and follow State Highway SS 125 to the River Flumendosa (10 km. - 6 1/4 mi.) and Muravera. Here we strike inland following the course of the Flumendosa to Ballao (32 km. - 20 mi. from Muravera) from which 28 km. (17 1/2 mi.) of picturesque road bring us to Sant'Andrea Frius and after a further 16 km. (10 mi.) to Dolianova with the 13° century church of San Pantaleone, the most noteworthy Romanesque monument in Southern Sardinia; close to Dolianova is Serdiana with interesting rural architecture. We now return (20 km. - 12 1/2 mi.) to Cagliari, from which we set out the next morning for Monastir (21 km. - 13 mi. from Cagliari) a pleasant town of Oriental appearance. Then comes Nuraminis, a picturesque country place with a fine 16° century Cathedral. At the turning to Carter (40 km. - 25 mi.) take State Highway SS 197 through Saaluri and Villamar (important altarpiece in church) to Barumini with remains of a Nuraghic village and the Su Nuraxi Nuraghe, perhaps the most architecturally important in Sardinia. There are other fine nuraghi near Nuragus (70 km. 43 1/4 mi. from Cagliari). We are now on a lonely mountain road (the peaks of Monte Gennargentu begin to appear to our right, facing us) and we go through Laconi rising on to the plateau at Pranu Guttutorgiu to re descend at Meana, Atzara, with a fine Gothic Parish church in the midst of vineyards and orchards and finally SORGONO.