One Way to do Cagliari

Cagliari, the capital city of the Italian island of Sardinia,  has become an ever increasingly popular port of call for cruise ships.

One of the joys of Cagliari is the easy access to the centre of the town from the port. Though essentially a working port the Port Authority provide a free shuttle bus service between the ship and the city’s waterfront area: which will no doubt please  both Celebrity and Royal Caribbean passengers who are normally charged for their shuttle bus journeys.

Cagliari is an ancient city with a long history that has spanned several civilisations and many examples of differing architecture can be found. The purpose of this particular guide is to visit the Roman Amphitheatre, the walled castle and Bastion and the Cathedral while providing some great opportunities for panoramic views and pictures.

I hope members and visitors to my blog find this particular option both informative and of interest.

Shuttle buses will drop passengers on the waterfront of the city, near the Stazione Marittima, just across the dual carriageway of the Via Roma. On enlightening from the shuttle bus,  passengers will immediately be greeted by a number of local tour operators and various options for sightseeing…

For our visit we were going to explore on foot.

The dual carriageway between the waterfront and the town is known as the Via Roma…

and the twin white towers of the Town Hall can be seen in the photographs above. Crossing the dual carriageway and heading in the direction of the Town Hall will result in meeting  Largo Carlo Felice, a main thoroughfare with many shops and cafes on either side…

Central to this highway is the monument to Carlo Felice, who was King of Sardinia in the early 19th century.

We continued our walk up the Largo Carlo Felice until we came across a side road that led to Cagliari Hospital…

Nothing overly spectacular about this building but it served as a useful landmark on our route as this is the point one needs to turn off to continue the ascent and proceed right at the hospital façade. I say nothing spectacular but reviewing the route on google earth revealed a quite spectacular building behind that façade…

Follow the road as it zig-zags for some 300 metres eventually emerging at the trees seen at the top of the next picture. Simply curve around the top of the Roman Amphitheatre and the entrance  is on the road just off the left of the picture and just over half way down…

The Roman Amphitheatre of Cagliari was built in the 2nd century AD, was half carved in the rock, while the rest was built in local white limestone with a façade surpassing 20 m in height. It housed fights between men and animals, gladiators and other specialized fighters recruited in and outside Sardinia. It was also the seat of public executions. It could house up to 10,000 spectators and is open daily.

Back on the top of the hill behind the amphitheatre can be found some great vistas of the land surrounding Cagliari including that of St Michaels Spanish built Castle…

and a view across the rooftops to the port area…

(guess what ship we were on?)

A short distance from the point where we first reached the summit is the entrance to the Castello, or old city, Porta Christina

Just inside and to the left of Porta Christina is the National Archaeological Museum, itself housed in the old Royal Arsenal…

…while opposite Porta Christana can be found the Torre dell’Elefante ( “Tower of the Elephant”),  a medieval tower dating back to 1307…

The tower was part of the city’s fortifications built against the Moorish and Genoese attacks. With a height of 31 metres, the tower was built on three sides in white limestone from the nearby Colle di Bonaria; another side was open and featured four floors of wooden galleries. It has also a gate, that, together with that of the Torre di San Pancrazio, is still the main entrance to Castello.

Not too far from the Elephant Tower is Cagliari Cathedral…

…which is quite tightly packed between the surrounding buildings and proved somewhat of a challenge to photograph.

There now begins a gentle descent until you are met by a vast terrace with benches,  palm trees and cafes. . The view is breath-taking: this is  Bastion St. Remy

The dome of Cagliari Cathedral can now be seen quite clearly set back centrally in the above photograph.

One view from the Bastion is that over the Piazza Constituzione…

and descending down the ornate stairway, seen here behind yours truly…

takes the visitor to a view of what is probably  the  most noticeable monument in Cagliari….

The Bastion St.Remy  was built in white limestone at the end of the 19th century, after Cagliari ceased to be a military fortress and gradually its defensive walls were pulled down. With its mighty double staircase surmounted by a large arch. Good news also for the tourist: either side of the staircases are public toilets.

We still found enough time to return to the waterfront…

…while contemplating what to do for lunch. The side streets off the Via Roma were littered with good looking restaurants but one particular one had caught our eye earlier…

Seafood? The best in town? Now there was a challenge…

This place turned out to be a gem of a find. It was stylish, original and generated a great atmosphere from its roughly 50:50 mix of locals and cruise passengers.

*****

*****

*****

and nicely finished off with a delightful platter of local Sardinian cheeses…

Grazie Cagliari. A great day out.

 

One response to “One Way to do Cagliari

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