The characteristic hills of the ancient village
From an MSC ship on the Mediterranean Sea, the view of Cagliari, Sardinia’s capital and main port, is striking.Crowned by its historic nucleus squeezed within a protective ring of Pisan fortifications, Cagliari’s setting is enhanced by the calm lagoons to the east and west of the city, a habitat for cranes, cormorants and flamingos.
During your excursion to the centre of Cagliari, the promenades along Via Manno are the smartest you’ll see in Sardinia. These then drop down to the noisier Piazza Yenne and Largo Carlo Felice, around which most of the shops, restaurants, banks and hotels are located. At the bottom of Cagliari, the porticos of portside Via Roma shelter more shops and bars.
Cagliari’s main attractions are the archaeological museum with its captivating collection of nuraghic statuettes, the city walls with their two Pisan towers looking down over the Mediterranean Sea and the port, and the cathedral – all within easy distance of each other. There are also a sprinkling of Roman remains, including an impressive amphitheatre, while nearby excursions include Nora, the most complete ancient site on Sardinia, and the islands of Sant’Antioco and San Pietro.
Almost all the sightseeing you’ll want to do on your holiday in Cagliari is encompassed within the old Castello quarter, on the hill overlooking the port. The most evocative entry to this is from the monumental Bastione San Remy on Piazza Costituzione, whose nineteenth-century imperialist tone is tempered by the graffiti and weeds sprouting out of its walls. It’s worth the haul up the grandiose flight of steps inside for Cagliari’s best views over the port and the lagoons beyond.