The 18 best sights of Cagliari – descriptions and photos

Cagliari sights

The Royal Palace Botanical Garden Elephant Tower San Alenixedda Church Santa Rosalia Basilica San Saturnino Church of the Holy Sepulchre

This site compiles the sights of Cagliari – photos, descriptions and traveler tips. The list is based on popular travel guides and is presented by type, name and rating. Here you can find answers to questions: what to see in Cagliari, where to go and where are the popular and interesting places of Cagliari.

Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden (photo)

The botanical garden in Cagliari is one of the most popular in Italy. It is hard to believe that it used to be a city dump, which was turned into a blooming garden thanks to the students of the local university under the direction of Professor Patrizio Gennari. The garden was founded in 1866 and since then has been the scientific base of the Faculty of Biology. During World War II it was bombed and had to be rebuilt.

Today it is a picturesque place with fountains, lawns, comfortable benches and well-groomed paths. The garden occupies more than 5 hectares of land and is divided into 4 sections, including Mediterranean, tropical, succulent and medicinal plants. There are about 1000 species of plants from all over the world, including a huge collection of flowering cacti and century-old oaks. In addition, on the territory of the garden you can see Punic and Roman ruins, which are of great historical value.

There are cafes and souvenir stores in the designated area.

Coordinates: 39.22233900,9.10997300

The Royal Palace

Royal Palace (photo)

The Royal Palace is a historical building built in the 14th century. It was the residence of the royal viceroys of the Aragonese dynasty, the Spanish period and the Savoy dynasty. At present it houses the Prefecture and the administration of the Province of Cagliari. Over the centuries, the structure has been rebuilt several times, with the last extensive reconstruction taking place in 1985.

The building of the Royal Palace combines classical and baroque features. Its facade is decorated with numerous relief images. Elegant white columns topped with stucco details are located on either side of the main entrance. The peculiarity of the building is a great number of rectangular windows with shutters. The exterior decoration of the building is dominated by pastel colors. On the whole the building looks austere but harmonious.

The Royal Palace is usually closed to the public. It is only accessible during concerts and by appointment for guided tours.

Coordinates: 39.21940300,9.11700000

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The Royal Palace

Royal Palace (photo)

The Royal Palace is an important historical monument in the province of Cagliari, Italy. During the reign of the Aragonese, Spanish and Savoy Conquerors, the palace was the residence of their royal representatives. Nowadays it houses the prefecture and administration of the province of Cagliari, whose council meets in a beautiful central hall.

The long and noble history of the palace begins in the 14th century. It became the residence of the viceroy in 1337 at the request of Peter IV of Aragon. Over the centuries, the building has been subjected to various alterations and reconstructions. Between 1799 and 1815 it was the official residence of the Savoy family and of the court in exile (Turin was occupied by Napoleon at the time). In 1885 the palace became municipal property and it was then that the interiors were restored.

The main building, rectangular in plan, contains three tiers. Windows are framed by monumental stone pilasters that run along the entire building and support a cornice made of hard stone. The windows of the mezzanine, placed above the projecting eaves, open into graceful balconies. Besides the meetings of the Provincial Council, important international exhibitions are also held here.

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The coordinates are: 39.21916700,9.11722200

In photo mode you can view the sights in Cagliari by photo only.

Elephant Tower

The Elephant Tower (photo)

The Elephant’s Tower is a mighty structure built in 1307 by the architect Giovanni Capula. It rose on the hill of Castello, overlooking the sea. The tower was about 30 meters high.

It was part of the city’s defensive system and was designed to protect one of the main entrances to the Castello. Three sides of the tower consisted of white limestone, while the fourth was open and had four floors of wooden galleries. During the Aragonese dynasty, the Elephant Tower was converted into a prison, and the heads of executed criminals were hung on its walls for public viewing. In 1906 it was restored to its original appearance. A small statue of the elephant, from which the tower took its name, and the original coats of arms of the families of Pisa are preserved on the south side of the tower.

Today the tower has lost its dominant position among the surrounding civil and military buildings, but it remains an important historical monument and tourist attraction.

Coordinates: 39.21799100,9.11508900

Church of San Alenixedda

Church of San Alenixedda (photo)

The church of San Alenixedda, built at the beginning of the 14th century, is a small architectural jewel in the midst of the Roman ruins of Cagliari. The name Alenixedda is diminutive of Aleni (Elena). The church is dedicated to the Empress Helen of Sardinia and the diminutive name comes from the need to distinguish the little church from other places of worship.

The church building consists of a single nave and is notable for its simplicity of lines. The elegant trapezoidal façade is designed in the Gothic style. It is divided by four pilasters into three main portals. Above the main entrance there are two small arched projections. The central part of the facade is crowned with a high through arch with a cross, on which a bell tower rises. The projecting eaves in the form of a triangle is decorated with dentils. The interior space of the building seems smaller than it really is, which is due to the small number of windows.

The church of San Alenixedda has been restored in the modern age and is open for visitors.

Coordinates : 39.23407800,9.13468600

Church of Santa Rosalia

The Church of Santa Rosalia (photo)

The Church of Santa Rosalia, founded in the fifteenth century, is located in the historical center of the city. In 1982, the last reconstruction and modernization of the building took place, which only emphasized its former grandeur.

The facade of the building, lavishly decorated with pilasters and pediments, is a striking representative of the Baroque style. The main entrance to the church is crowned with the coat of arms of the Savoy dynasty. In its upper part there are elegant niches in which statues of the Franciscan saints Bonaventure and Anthony of Padua are installed. The interior of the church has a vaulted nave, an octagonal dome, and eight chapels. On the high marble altar in a bronze urn are the relics of St. Salvator. He is one of the most beloved and revered saints of Sardinia, so the church is also known as San Salvatore. The mosaic painting on the apse depicts the saint’s death. The church hall is decorated with old paintings and colorful stained glass.

The church has a wonderful organ and regularly hosts music events and international organ festivals.

Coordinates: 39.21497300,9.11613000

Basilica of San Saturnino

Basilica of San Saturnino (photo)

The Basilica of San Saturnino is an early Christian church in Cagliari that was first mentioned at the beginning of the 6th century. The church was supposedly built near the burial site of St. Saturnino, who, according to medieval documents, was martyred in 305. The church was last consecrated in 2004 after a long restoration that lasted about eight years.

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The basilica is located next to a necropolis where archaeological excavations are underway. A small part of the original structure, built in the form of a Greek cross with a hemispherical dome, has been preserved. The present building is composed of a domed room and an east wing with a nave ending in a semicircular apse. The main entrance to the basilica is decorated with notable decorative inlays. The east window is decorated with Lombard blind arches.

Saturnino Basilica is an important historical point of interest and a famous tourist attraction.

Coordinates : 39.21401000,9.12320400

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre (photo)

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a monumental church in the historical district of Cagliari. It was supposedly founded in 1564 by the Knights Templar, who organized the Brotherhood of the Holy Cross, whose main task was to bury poor people.

The church consists of one nave with side chapels. One of the many attractions of its interior is the Chapel of Our Lady of Mercy, which is a vivid representative of the Baroque style. There is a gilded wooden altar with an image of the Madonna and Child. On the walls there are old paintings of historical value. The burial chamber, which was used for burials until the middle of the 19th century, is also noteworthy. The crypt is accessed via a hatch in the center of the nave. The crypt consists of three vaulted rooms decorated with mournful drapery frescoes. The vaults of the central room have a figure of Death in an ermine coat, with a crown and a scythe.

Thanks to restoration work in 1990, the entire area of the church is open to visitors.

Coordinates: 39.21598800,9.11440200

The most popular attractions in Cagliari with descriptions and photos for every taste. Choose the best places to visit the famous places of Cagliari on our website.

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18 Sights of Cagliari worth seeing

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So, we go on a virtual tour of the wonderful Italian city of Cagliari. The attractions of this place are largely determined by its rich history and geography – the city is located on the southern coast of the island of Sardinia and serves as a kind of “gateway” to the northern coast of Africa.

Cagliari has played an important role in the Mediterranean region for centuries. Archaeological excavations have proven that settlements in the area date back to the Neolithic and during the Roman Empire Cagliari was an important military base commanded by Titus Manlius. Since the unification of Italy, the city has greatly expanded its economic potential, allowing its population and area to grow rapidly.

Marina District

Promenade in Via Roma

The promenade of Via Roma.

As we said before, Cagliari is an important port city and this is partly why it has a fantastic waterfront Marina district full of stores, restaurants and other entertainment venues.

Walking along Largo Carlo Felice toward the water, you’ll come to Via Roma, a fantastic promenade with beautiful trees and a beautiful view of the harbor. If you go a little further you will find yourself on Calata Sant’Agostino, which leads to the harbor area. Here you can watch huge cruise ships enter the harbor and drop off thousands of tourists, or watch huge container ships unload.

Address: Via Roma, Cagliari, Italy.

Bastion of San Remi

San Remi Bastion

Bastion of San Remi.

This huge and very beautiful building, built in the XIX century, is located in the historical center of the city and is rightly considered one of the main attractions of the city. Originally used as a defensive structure, the bastion is now a beautiful observation deck offering spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea and the port areas of the city.

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San Remy consists of a wide open terrace, an ornate façade and the “Passejata Coperta” (covered passage). A visit to the bastion is the first thing you should do when arriving in Cagliari, as it allows you to immediately touch the local history and view the city from the heights.

Address: Bastione di Saint Remy, Piazza Costituzione, Cagliari, Italy.

Torre dellefante Tower

Torre dellefante Tower

Torre del Elefante Tower. | Photo: wikimedia.

Cagliari is home to many historic buildings, and the Torre del Elefante Tower can rightly be considered one of the most impressive and famous. It is only a few minutes’ walk from the Bastion of San Remi and is clearly visible in the background of the other buildings.

The Torre del Elefante was built in 1307 and served the city for a long time as a watchtower. Although its design is hardly intricate, there are a few small details like carved statues of elephants and coats of arms that make it conspicuous. Tourists are also allowed to climb to the top of the tower to enjoy the best views of Cagliari.

Address: Torre dell’Elefante, Via Santa Croce, Cagliari, Italy.

The Castello quarter.

Castello quarter

The neighborhood of Castello.

If you want to experience the real Cagliari, come to the neighborhood of Castello. This charming and picturesque neighborhood abounds with narrow streets passing by beautiful traditional houses.

It is also home to many interesting sights like the Cathedral of Santa Maria, the Palazzo Archives and the Palazzo Reggio. Take a stroll through the local streets, admire the beautiful buildings and be sure to try the delicious Italian ice cream in one of the cafes in Piazza Carlo Alberto.

Address: Quartiere Castello, Cagliari, Italy.

Cagliari Cathedral

Cagliari Cathedral

Cagliari Cathedral in Cagliari.

Cagliari Cathedral is located in the heart of the Castello district. It is a monumental building with a magnificent façade and a richly decorated interior. The cathedral was built in the 13th century and since then it has been rebuilt and altered many times, so that its present appearance combines various styles, such as Romanesque and Baroque.

The main façade somewhat resembles the outlines of the cathedral of Pisa and features a number of stone arches and religious elements of decoration. Inside, you’ll find the usual ceiling frescoes, as well as a beautiful altar and small chapels.

Address: Cagliari Cathedral, Piazza Palazzo, Cagliari, Italy.

National Archaeological Museum

National Archaeological Museum

National Archaeological Museum. | Photo: wikimedia.

You will surely spend more than one hour in this fantastic complex, because the National Archaeological Museum is the main repository of archaeological finds of all Sardinia. On the northwest side of the old town, close to the Roman amphitheatre, you could find it so it’s logical to combine both in one trip.

The National Archaeological Museum houses a stunning collection of Punic, Greek and Roman artefacts, as well as an impressive collection of ancient relics collected from different regions of Sardinia. The exhibits include ancient coins, jewelry, ceramics, statues and other interesting finds.

Address: Museo archeologico nazionale, Piazza Arsenale, Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy.

Roman amphitheater in Cagliari

Cagliari Roman Amphitheater

Roman amphitheater in Cagliari.

Thanks to its rich history, Cagliari boasts a number of sites where you can see the ruins of ancient Roman structures, and the best preserved of them is the Roman amphitheater. Located in the northern part of the old town, this massive site dates back to the second century AD and is remarkable because it was partially carved out of the rock on the hillside.

In this arena the spectators of ancient Cagliari watched gladiatorial fights, theatrical performances and even public executions. Today you can visit it for guided tours and sometimes even for concerts and shows.

Address: Anfiteatro romano di Cagliari, Via Sant’Ignazio da Laconi, Cagliari, Italy.

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Citadel of Museums (Museum Quarter)

Citadel of Museums (Museum Quarter)

The “Citadel of Museums”.

This area of Cagliari is known as the “museum quarter” because it is full of interesting places where you will see many rare collections and interesting exhibits. The area is located in the northern part of the historic center of the city on Via Ubaldo.

The museums are the National Gallery of Cagliari, the Archaeological Museum, the Anatomical Wax Museum and the Museum of Siamese Art. It is easy to spend a whole day here, so plan your trip in advance.

Address: Cittadella dei Musei, Cittadella dei Musei, Piazza Arsenale, 1, 09123 Cagliari CA, Italy.

San Benedetto Market

San Benedetto Market

San Benedetto Market.

Local markets always offer the opportunity to find good goods at excellent prices and a chance to see how the people of the city live and work. San Benedetto is without doubt the largest and busiest market of Cagliari, where you can chat with the locals in a relaxed manner.

The market is located on Via Tiziano and is inside a covered complex. Here you will find a huge number of stores and stalls selling almost everything you can. The best selling items are fresh seafood, sheep cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Address: Mercato Civico di San Benedetto, Via Francesco Cocco Ortu, Cagliari, Italy.

Church of Our Lady in Piazza Bonaria

Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Piazza Bonaria

The Church of Our Lady in Piazza Bonaria.

This beautiful light basilica was built in the 14th century in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The main façade is distinguished by three massive arched openings that lead to a large open foyer. In front of the building is a neat and quite picturesque stone courtyard with mosaic tiles. Although the original frescos inside the basilica were damaged during the Second World War, they were restored rather quickly and today they are a sight to behold.

Address: Santuario di Nostra Signora di Bonaria, Piazza Bonaria, Cagliari, Italy.

Palazzo Reggio

Palazzo Reggio

Palazzo Reggio.

Palazzo Reggio is another fantastic building located in the heart of the old town in the Castello district. The palazzo served as the official royal residence of the rulers of Sardinia for hundreds of years.

The main façade in its present form is a nineteenth-century restoration that brought the building’s appearance into line with modern architectural trends. You can book a tour of the building, which will take you through its beautifully decorated rooms, including the grandiose Municipal Council Chamber. Its ceiling boasts stunning 19th century frescoes and an incredible array of decorative moldings.

Address: Palazzo Regio, Piazza Palazzo, Cagliari, Italy.

Calamosca Beach

Calamosca Beach

Calamosca Beach.

In the southern part of Cagliari, behind the main port area, there is an area called Calamosca and there is a small but surprisingly nice and quiet beach that will be your ideal place to relax.

Its coast is washed by crystal clear waters, and the comfortable temperature allows you to enjoy plenty of swimming, after which you can just lie on the beach and sunbathe. The beach is surrounded by a beautiful coastline with many rocks and from here you can see the beautiful towers of Torre di Calamosca and Torre del Poetto. Calamosca beach is a superb and secluded spot where you can go to catch your breath after a long day of sightseeing in Cagliari.

Address: Calamosca beach, Viale Calamosca, Cagliari, Italy.

Piazza del Carmine

Piazza del Carmine

Piazza del Carmine.

Piazza del Carmine is located by the popular Viale Trieste avenue and is the perfect place to have a quiet coffee or a bite to eat while watching the measured flow of local life. This spacious public square was built in the 19th century and covers about 1 hectare.

In the center of the square there is a beautiful statue dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception and there are some pretty nice houses around it. Of course, in the surrounding streets you can find many restaurants, cafes, bars and stores.

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Address: Piazza del Carmine, Cagliari, Italy.

Botanical Garden of Cagliari

Cagliari Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden of Cagliari. | Photo: wikimedia.

This botanical garden, located on the campus of the University of Cagliari, is sure to please horticultural enthusiasts. It is closely monitored by the staff and students of the University of Cagliari, because important scientific research is carried out here.

The garden covers over 5 hectares and has over 2000 species of Mediterranean plants, trees and flowers. The area is divided into three main zones: vegetation from all over the world, greenhouse plants and a luxurious orchard. The University Botanical Garden is one of Cagliari’s main “gems”. What to see after a long walk through the sights of the city but its beauty?

Address: Orto Botanico di Cagliari, Via Sant’Ignazio da Laconi, Cagliari, Italy.

Monte Urpinu Park

Monte Urpino Park

Monte Urpinu Park.

Cagliari is located in the middle of a cozy and picturesque valley and is surrounded by mountains and hills on which excellent public parks with stunning views of the surroundings have been laid out. One of these parks is called Monte Urpinu, it is located on the hill of the same name and is known for its amazing flora and rather difficult hiking trails.

At the top of the park there is an observation deck where you get a great panoramic view of Cagliari and its bay. Among the most frequent fauna are foxes and various species of local birds.

Address: Parco di Monte Urpinu, Viale Europa, Cagliari, Italy.

Basilica of San Saturnino

San Saturnino Basilica

San Saturnino Basilica. | Photo: wikimedia.

The Basilica of San Saturnino is one of the oldest churches in all of Sardinia. It is a striking example of paleochristian architecture. The building was built in the 5th century in the shape of a Greek cross with a hemispherical dome on the spot where Saturninus, a highly revered local martyr, was supposedly buried. According to legend, Saturninus was executed in A.D. 304 during the anti-Christian pogroms under Emperor Diocletian.

Address: Basilica di San Saturnino, Piazza San Cosimo, Cagliari, Italy.

Park Molentarjus.

Molentarjus Park

Park Molentarjus. | Photo: wikimedia.

The marshlands of Park Molentarjus are located a little east of Cagliari near the municipality of Cuarto Sant’Elena. The park’s fresh and saltwater pools attract thousands of nesting, migrating and wintering birds.

If you are lucky, you may even be able to see pink flamingos, purple or lesser herons, marsh whiskers and black-winged stilts from the observation decks. The reserve is best explored on foot or by bicycle. At sunrise and sunset hundreds of hunters gather here for vivid photos for Instagram.

Address: Parco Naturale Molentargius Saline, Via la Palma, Cagliari, Italy.

Crypt of Saint Restituta

The Crypt of St. Restituta

The crypt of Saint Restituta.

This crypt has been in use since pre-Christian times. The crypt of Saint Restituta is a huge eerie cave in which you can hear the echo of falling drops of water. It was originally a place of pagan worship, but in the fifth century the martyress Saint Restituta settled here and since then the cave became a shrine for the early Christians of Cagliari.

Then Orthodox Christians began to go here – you can still see the remains of their frescoes on the walls. Finally, since the 13th century, the place has been consigned to oblivion. During World War II, the crypt was used as a bomb shelter, but it was not a very good idea because dozens of its residents hiding here were killed during another bombing raid in February 1943. The memory of those events is forever imprinted in the graffiti that cover the walls of the cave.

Address: Cripta di Santa Restituta, Via Sant’Efisio, Cagliari, Italy.

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