Swept Away HR46 at anchor Second Wind at anchor Northern Exposure at anchor

The capital of the Sardinian region, Cagliari is the only real city we saw in Sardinia. Cagliari was founded by Phoenicians and became an important trading center. Later, the Romans, Aragonese, and Spanish all helped to create the city that exists today.

Romans had control of Sardinia for centuries beginning in the third century BC. Remnants of Roman civilization in the area include an amphitheater at Cagliari and two well-preserved cities, at Nora and Tharros. The Romans also built a network of roads as well as baths, temples, and aqueducts. These statues and many other artifacts are displayed and well-documented in the fine archaeological museum at Cagliari.

This pass-through is under the Torre dell'Elefante, the Elephant's Tower, in Castello, the old section of Cagliari. The tower is named for a small statue of an elephant mounted on one side of the exterior. Notice the iron-paneled door, which can be lowered onto its iron spikes to close off the town. The tower was built in 1307 by the Pisans, but it became a symbol of Spanish domination, when its rulers would conduct executions and then hang the severed heads from the tower in cages. As late as the mid-nineteenth century, the tower served as a jail for political prisoners. 

Originally built by the Pisans in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the Cathedral of Santa Maria was modified several times, and now blends Romanesque, Baroque and Catalan Gothic styles. Two pulpits carved in Pisa in 1162 and donated to Cagliari stand near the entrance, and the cathedral boasts many striking sculptures and paintings in its lavish side chapels, in the transept, and at the altar.