|Comune di Cagliari|
|• Mayor||Massimo Zedda (SEL)|
|• Total||85.45 km2 (32.99 sq mi)|
|Elevation||4 m (13 ft)|
|Population (31 October 2011)|
|• Density||1,800/km2 (4,500/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Patron saint||St. Saturninus|
|Saint day||October 30|
Cagliari (Italian: [ˈkaʎʎari] ( ); Sardinian: Casteddu;[a] Latin: Caralis) is an Italian municipality and the capital of the island of Sardinia, an Autonomous Region of Italy. Cagliari's Sardinian name Casteddu literally means castle. It has nearly 150,000 inhabitants, while its metropolitan area (including Elmas, Assemini, Capoterra, Selargius, Sestu, Monserrato, Quartucciu, Quartu Sant'Elena and other 15 municipalities) has more than 480,000 inhabitants.
An ancient city with a long history, Cagliari has seen the rule of several civilizations. Under the buildings of the modern city there is a continuous stratification of human settlements of about five thousands years, from the Neolithic to today. There are some domus de janas, very damaged by cave activity, a large Carthaginian era necropolis, a Roman era amphitheater, a Byzantine basilica, two Pisan-era towers, a strong system of fortification that made the town the core of the Spanish Habsburg imperial power in the western Mediterranean sea. Its natural resources have always been its sheltered harbor, the oft-powerfully fortified hill of Monti Castru, the modern Casteddu, the salt from its lagoons, and, from inland, the Campidanian plain wheat and the Iglesiente mines.
It was the capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia (which in 1861 became the Kingdom of Italy) from 1324 to 1848, when Turin became the formal capital of the kingdom . Today the city is a regional cultural, educational, political and artistic centre, known for its diverse Art Nouveau architecture and several monuments., and the Sardinia's economic and industrial hub, having one of the biggest ports in the Mediterranean sea, an international airport, and the 106th highest income rate in Italy (among 8.092 comuni), comparable to that of several Northern cities.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Main sights
- 6 Culture
- 7 Media
- 8 Sports
- 9 Government
- 10 Education
- 11 Healthcare
- 12 Transportation
- 13 Twin towns – Sister cities
- 14 Notes
- 15 References
- 16 Sources
- 17 External links
Cagliari has been inhabited since ancient times. It occupies a favourable position between the sea and a fertile plain, and is surrounded by two swamps (which increased the defense from inner lands) and is close to high mountains towards which people could evacuate if everything else was lost. Some findings of prehistoric inhabitants were found in Monte Claro (the eponymous culture, from the Copper Age) and in Cape Sant'Elia (several domus de janas).
Karalis was established around the 8th/7th century BC as one of a string of Phoenician colonies in Sardinia, including Tharros. Its foundation is linked to its position across the communication routes with Africa, as well as to its excellent port.
The Phoenician settlement was located in the Stagno di Santa Gilla, west of the present centre of Cagliari. This was also the site of the Roman Portus Scipio, and, when Arab pirates raided the are in the 8th century, it became the refuge for people fleeing from the city. Further, other Phoenician settlements have been found at Cape Sant'Elia.
In the 5th Carthage took control of Sardinia, and Cagliari grew substantially under their domination, as testified by the large Tuvixeddu necropolis and other remains. Cagliari was a fortified settlement, in what is now the modern Marina quarter, with an annexed holy area in the modern Stampace.
Sardinia and Cagliari went under the Roman rule in 238 BC when the Romans defeated the Carthaginians. No mention of it is found on the occasion of the Roman conquest of the island; but during the Second Punic War, it was the headquarters of the praetor, T. Manlius, from whence he carried on his operations against Hampsicora and the Carthaginians, and appears on other occasions also as the chief naval station of the Romans in the island, and the residence of the praetor.
Florus calls it the urbs urbinum, or capital of Sardinia, and represents it as taken and severely punished by Gracchus, but this statement is wholly at variance with the account given by Livy, of the wars of Gracchus, in Sardinia, according to which the cities were faithful to Rome, and the revolt was confined to the mountain tribes. In the Civil War between Caesar and Pompey, the citizens of Caralis were the first to declare in favor of the former, an example soon followed by the other cities of Sardinia; and Caesar himself touched there with his fleet on his return from Africa. A few years later, when Sardinia fell into the hands of Menas, the lieutenant of Sextus Pompeius, Caralis was the only city which offered any resistance, but was taken after a short siege.
Roman public buildings were found to the west of Marina in Piazza del Carmine. There was an area of ordinary housing near Via Roma, and richer houses on the slopes of Marina. The Amphitheatre is to the West of Castello.
A Christian community is attested in Cagliari at least as early as the 3rd century, and by the end of the century the city had a Christian bishop. In the middle decades of the 4th century the bishop Lucifer of Cagliari was exiled because of his opposition to the Arian belief. He was banished to the desert of Thebais by the emperor Constantius.
After the fall of the Western Empire Cagliari fell, together with the rest of Sardinia, into the hands of the Vandals, but appears to have retained its importance throughout the Middle Ages.
Claudian describes the ancient city as extending to a considerable length towards the promontory or headland, the projection of which sheltered its port: the latter affords good anchorage for large vessels; but besides this, which is only a well-sheltered road-stead, there is adjoining the city a large salt-water lake, or lagoon, called the Stagno di Cagliari, communicating by a narrow channel with the bay, which appears from Claudian to have been used in ancient times as an inner harbor or basin. The promontory adjoining the city is evidently that noticed by Ptolemy (Κάραλις πόλις καὶ ἄκρα), but the Caralitanum Promontorium of Pliny can be no other than the headland, now called Capo Carbonara, which forms the eastern boundary of the Gulf of Cagliari, and the southeast point of the whole island. Immediately off it lay the little island of Ficaria, now called the Isola dei Cavoli.
Giudicato of Cagliari
Subsequently ruled by the Vandals and then part of the Byzantine Empire, Cagliari became the capital of a gradually independent giudicato. However, there is some evidence that during this period of independence from external rule, the city was deserted because it was too exposed to attacks by Moorish pirates coming from north Africa and Spain. Apparently many people left Caralis and founded a new town (named Santa Igia) in an area close to the Santa Gilla swamp on the west of Cagliari, but relatively distant from the sea. The giudicato of Cagliari comprised a large area of the Campidano plain, the mineral resources of the Sulcis region and the mountain region of Ogliastra.
11th to 13th century
During the 11th century, the Republic of Pisa began to extend its political influence over the giudicato of Cagliari. Pisa and the other maritime republic of Genoa had a keen interest in Sardinia because it was a perfect strategic base for controlling the commercial routes between Italy and North Africa.
In 1215 the Pisan Lamberto Visconti, giudice of Gallura, forced Torchitorio IV of Cagliari and his wife Benedetta to give him the mount located east of Santa Igia. Soon (1216/1217) Pisan merchants established there a new fortified city, known as Castel di Castro, which can be considered as the ancestor of the modern city of Cagliari. Some of the fortifications that still surround the current district of Castello were built by the Pisans, including the two remaining white limestone towers designed by architect Giovanni Capula (originally there were three towers that guarded the three gates that gave access to the district). Together with the district of Castello, Castel di Castro comprised the districts of Marina (which included the port) and later Stampace and Villanova. Marina and Stampace were guarded by walls, differently from Villanova, which was mostly home to peasants.
In 1258, after the defeat of William III, the last giudice of Cagliari, the Pisans and their Sardinian allies (Arborea, Gallura and Logudoro) destroyed the old capital of Santa Igia. The Giudicato of Cagliari was divided into three parts: the northwest third went to Gallura; the central portion was incorporated into Arborea; Sulcis and Iglesiente, on the south-west, were given to the Pisan della Gherardesca family, while the Republic of Pisa maintained the control over his colony of Castel di Castro.
14th to 17th centuries
During the 14th century the Kingdom of Aragon conquered Cagliari (Castel di Castro) after a battle against the Pisans. When Sardinia was finally conquered by the Catalan-Aragonese army, Cagliari (Castel de Càller or simply Càller in Catalan) became the administrative capital of the newborn Kingdom of Sardinia, one of the many kingdoms forming the Crown of Aragon, which later came under the rule of the Spanish Empire. However, due to the increasing importance of the Americas within the Spanish Empire, Sardinia and Cagliari lost importance.
In 1718, after a brief rule of the Austrian Habsburgs, Cagliari and Sardinia came under the House of Savoy. As ruler of Sardinia, the Savoys took the title of kings of the Sardinian kingdom. The Sardinian kingdom comprised Savoy and Nice (currently in France), Piedmont and Liguria, as well as Sardinia. Although Sardinian by name, the kingdom had its capital in Turin, in mainland Italy, where the Savoys resided. The parliament was also in Turin and its members were mainly aristocrats from Piedmont or the mainland.
In the late 18th century, during the Napoleonic wars, France tried to conquer Cagliari because of its strategic role in the Mediterranean sea. A French army landed on the Poetto beach and moved towards Cagliari, but the French were defeated by Sardinians who decided to defend themselves against the revolutionary army. People from Cagliari hoped to receive some concession from the Savoys in return for their defending the town: for example, aristocrats from Cagliari asked for a Sardinian representative in the parliament of the kingdom. When the Savoys refused any concession to the Sardinians, inhabitants of Cagliari rose up against the Savoys and expelled all representatives of the kingdom and people from Piedmont. This insurgence is celebrated in Cagliari during the "Die de sa Sardigna" (Sardinian Day) on the last weekend of April. However the Savoys regained control of the town after a brief period of autonomous rule.
Starting in the 1870s, in the wake of the unification of Italy, the city experienced a century of rapid growth. Many buildings were erected by the end of the 19th century during the office of mayor Ottone Bacaredda. Numerous buildings combined influences from Art Nouveau together with the traditional Sardinian taste for floral decoration: an example is the white marble City Hall near the port. Bacaredda is also known for his strong repression of one of the earliest worker strikes at the beginning of the 20th century.
During the Second World War Cagliari was heavily bombed by the Allies in February 1943. In order to escape from the danger of bombardments and difficulty of life, many people were evacuated from the city into the countryside.
After the Italian armistice with the Allies in September 1943, the German Army took control of Cagliari and the island, but soon retreated peacefully in order to reinforce their positions in mainland Italy. The American Army then took control of Cagliari. Airports near the city (Elmas, Monserrato, Decimomannu, currently a NATO airbase) were used by Allied aircraft to fly to North Africa or mainland Italy and Sicily.
After the war, the population of Cagliari grew again and many apartment blocks were erected in new residential districts, often created with poor planning, as were recreational areas.
The city of Cagliari is situated in the south of Sardinia, overlooking the center of the eponymous gulf, also called Golfo degli Angeli ("Bay of Angels") after an ancient legend. The city is spread over and around the hill of the historic district of Castello, and other nine limestone hills of the middle-late Miocene, unique heights of a little more than one hundred meters above sea level on the long plains of Campidano. The plain is actually a Graben formed during the Alpine orogeny of the Cenozoic, which separated Sardinia from the European continent, roughly where it is now the Gulf of Lion in France, and broke up with various up and down tectonic movements the ancient island Paleozoic skeleton.
The repeated intrusion of the sea left calcareous sediments that formed a series of hills that mark the territory of Cagliari: that where there is the fortified town near the harbor of the port and the birthplace of the city, Mount Urpinu, the St. Elias hill, also known as the Sella del Diavolo ("Saddle of the Devil") for its shape, Tuvumannu and Tuvixeddu, where there was the ancient Punic and Roman necropolis, the small Bonaria hill, where stands the basilica, and the San Michele hill, on top of which is the eponymous castle. The modern city has occupied the flat spaces between the hills and the sea to the south and south-east, along the Poetto beach, the lagoons and ponds of Santa Gilla and Molentargius, remains of more recent marine intrusions, in an articulate landscape, with many landmarks panoramas on the bay, the plain, the mountains that surround it at east (The Seven Brothers and Serpeddì) and west (mountains of Capoterra). In the cold, clear days of winter, from the highest points of the city, the snowy peaks of Gennargentu can be seen.
Parks and recreation
Cagliari is one of the "greenest" Italian city. Every citizen of Cagliari has available 87.5 square meters of public gardens and parks.
Its mild climate allows the growth of numerous subtropical plants, such as Jacaranda mimosifolia, Ficus macrophylla, with some huge specimens in Via Roma and in the University Botanic Gardens, Erythrina caffra with its stunning red flowering, Ficus retusa, that provides shade for several streets in the city, Araucaria heterophylla, the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), the Canary Islands palm (Phoenix canariensis), the Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta).
Major parks of the city include:
- Monte Urpinu Park is the most wooded: it is a low hill covered by a pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.) and evergreen oak (Quercus ilex L.) forest with a dense mediterranean maquis of mastic (Pistacia lentiscus L.), juniper (Juniperus phoenicea L.), Kermes oak (Quercus coccifera L.), wild olive (Olea europaea L. ssp. europaea, var. sylvestris) and tree spurge (Euphorbia dendroides L.). It is extended about 25 hectares.
- Park of San Michele hill (about 25 hectares), with its medioeval Castle on the top;
- Terramaini Park (about 13 hectares), with a little pond which is home to flamingos and other wading birds;
- Monte Claro Provincial Park (about 22 hectares), which hosts the provincial library in an old mansion on the top of the hill;
- Ex-vetreria Pirri Park (about 2,5 hectares);
- Public gardens, the oldest public esplanade of the city, planted in the 19th century, with a wonderful promenade of Jacaranda mimosifolia D.Don.
In addition Cagliari is the home of the Monumental Cemetery of Bonaria.
The Molentargius - Saline Regional Park is located near the city. Some mountain parks, such as Monte Arcosu or Maidopis, with large forests and wildlife (Sardinian deer, wild boars, etc.) are also nearby
The main beach of Cagliari is the Poetto. It stretches for about eight kilometers, from Sella del Diavolo (the Devil's Saddle) up to the coastline of Quartu Sant'Elena. Poetto is also the name of the district located on the western stretch of the strip between the beach and Saline di Molentargius (Molentargius's Salt Mine).
Another smaller beach is that of Calamosca near the Sant'Elia district.
On the coast between Calamosca and Poetto Beaches among the cliffs of the Sella del Diavolo, lays Cala Fighera, a small bay.
Cagliari is close to other seaside locations, such as Nora, Santa Margherita di Pula, Chia, Tuerredda or Geremeas, Solanas, Villasimius, Costa Rei, still relatively unspoiled by tourism.
Cagliari has a Mediterranean climate (Csa in the Köppen climate classification) with hot, dry summers and very mild winters. The extreme values in summer sometimes slightly are over 40 °C (104 °F) (sometimes with very high humidity), while in winter, under special and rare conditions drop slightly below zero. Heavy snowfalls occur on average every thirty years.
The average temperature of the coldest month, January, is about 10 °C (50 °F), and those of the warmest month, August, about 25 °C (77 °F). But heat waves can occur, due to African anticyclone since June. From mid-June to mid-September, rain is a rare event, reduced to some storms in the afternoon. The rainy season starts in September, but the first cold days come in December, usually the wettest month as well.
Winds are frequent, especially the mistral and sirocco; in summer days a marine sirocco breeze (s'imbattu) lowers the temperature and the heat.
|Climate data for Cagliari|
|Average high °C (°F)||14.3
|Daily mean °C (°F)||9.9
|Average low °C (°F)||5.5
|Rainfall mm (inches)||49.7
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)||6.8||6.8||6.8||7.0||4.4||2.1||0.8||1.3||4.3||6.5||7.4||7.4||61.6|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||136.4||139.2||186.0||213.0||269.7||288.0||334.8||310.0||246.0||198.4||147.0||127.1||2,595.6|
|Source: Servizio Meteorologico, Hong Kong Observatory for data of sunshine hours|
|Historical census data current boundaries|
|Commune population 1931 - 1991|
According to the Commune Statistical Office, in 2012, there were 156,538 people residing in Cagliari (-5,4% than in 2002), of whom 72,663 were male and 83,875 were female; the sex rate was 0.87. Minors (boy and children ages 18 and younger) totalled 12.92% of the population compared to pensioners that number 24.81%. The average age of Cagliari residents is 47.44. The ratio of the population aged >65 and the minor one, under age <18, is 53.39%. The elderly >65 population in the last 10 years has increased by 21.95%. The current birth rate of Cagliari is 6.29 births per 1,000 inhabitants. The average number of any components per household is 2.11 and the percentage number of households composed by a single person is 42.53%. The population of Cagliari is structured like those of all the countries of the first world, but especially with the prevalence of the elderly population. The trend of these rates is proportionally inverse with Cagliari metropolitan areas and suburbs, where most younger families move.
As of 2012, only 4.26% (6658 people) of the population was foreigner and the largest group was made up of Filipinos (21.33%), followed by Ukrainians (11.93%), Romanians (10.93%), Chinese (9.49%), Senegalese (9.49%).
In 1928, during the fascist regime, the neighboring municipalities of Pirri, Monserrato, Selargius, Quartucciu and Elmas, were merged with that of Cagliari. Mussolini's regime wanted to streamline the local administration eliminating many small towns and at the same time show that Italy was a major power with many major cities. After the war these small municipalities gradually regained their autonomy except the former town of Pirri.
The first table shows the inhabitants of the town in its present borders, the second one the commune population with the others merged municipalities.
The metropolitan area of Cagliari totals 453,728 inhabitants according to the 2011 census, a slight increase (2.3%) compared to 2001 census. It is composed by 24 municipalities along the coast of its gulf and in the inner Campidanu plain, until 20 km (12 mi) inside.
It covers an area on the plain of Campidanu between large basins (Santa Gilla lagoon and salt mills of about 1300 hectares), ponds (Molentargius, 1622 hectares) and the depopulated mountains up to 1,100 meters above sea level, largely covered by forests and mostly managed by the Ente Foreste of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia, which are at west (mountains Capoterra and Pula 256 km2 (99 sq mi), Monte Arcosu WWF Natural Reserve 36 km²) and at east (Mount Serpeddì and Sette Fratelli 132 km²).
The metropolitan area is strictly statistical and does not imply any kind of administrative unity or function, even if it is fully included in the Cagliari Province. It is based on municipalities where there has been, between the last two censuses, an increasing population, in a region where the population is generally decreasing. These municipalities welcome immigrants to the urban area whose main nucleus, the city of Cagliari, has a high rate of aged population which is decreasing due to the high cost of homes, not accessible to young
In the last century, the population of the municipalities of the metropolitan area increased by 354% and in the last 50 years by 158% (1911: 128,444; 1961: 288,683; 2011: 454,819). For the whole of Sardinia this increase respectively was 88% and 15% (1911: 868,181; 1961: 1,419,362; 2011: 1,639,362). The urbanization towards the area of Cagliari was, in percentage terms, impressive, making the capital of the island a metropolis surrounded by rural areas increasingly depopulated. This urbanization is also reflected in the concentration in Cagliari of most of the economic activities and wealth.
According to 2010 data of Italian Ministry of Economy, the inhabitants of Cagliari returned an individual income tax per capita that was 127% of National average, while entire Sardinia returned only 81%. The metropolitan area returned 97% of national average. As usual, the urban area income is greater than that of boroughs or countryside but in Sardinia the occurrence is particularly acute.
Cagliari is the capital city of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia. It is its administrative hub and headquarters, as well as of the regional and provincial offices of the Italian central administration. Cagliari is also the main trade and industrial center of the island, with numerous commercial sites and factories within its metropolitan boundaries.
The first department store (La Rinascente) was opened in 1931, in the center of the city, still opened. Nowadays there are many commercial centers in the metropolitan area (Le Vele, Santa Gilla, La Corte del Sole, Marconi) with most European chains of stores such as Auchan, MediaWorld, Euronics, Carrefour, Bata Shoes and others.
Cagliari is the main operational headquarters of the Banco di Sardegna, which belongs to BPER Group and is listed on the Milan Stock Exchange (BSRP), of the Banca di Cagliari and The Banca di Credito Sardo that belongs to the Intesa Sanpaolo Group.
The Macchiareddu-Grogastru area between Cagliari and Capoterra, in conjunction with a large international container terminal port at Giorgino is one of the most important industrial areas of Sardinia. Cagliari also has one of the largest fish markets in Italy with a vast array of fish for sale to both the public and trade. The communications provider Tiscali has its headquarters in town, and Cagliari also has one of the biggest container terminals on the Mediterranean sea.
Multinational corporations like Coca Cola, Heineken, Unilever, Bridgestone and Eni Group have factories in town. Within its metropolitan area, at Sarroch, is one of the six oil refinery supersites in Europe, Saras.
Tourism is one of the major industries of the city, although historical venues such as its monumental Middle Ages and Early modern period defense system, its Carthaginian, Roman and Byzantine ruins are less highlighted if compared to the recreational beaches and coastline. Cruise ships touring the Mediterranean often make Cagliari a stop off for passengers and the city is a traffic hub to the nearest beaches of Villasimius, Chia, Pula and Costa Rei, and the urban beach of Poettu as well. Pula is home to the archaeological site of the Punic and Roman city of Nora. Especially in summer a lot of clubs and pubs are goals for youth and tourists, pubs and night-clubs are concentrated in the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, a narrow street in Stampace district, Marina district, near to the port and Castello district, as for clubs they are mostly on the Poetto beach (in summer), or in Viale Marconi (in winter).
The old town (called Castello in Italian, Casteddu de susu in Sardinian, the upper castle) lies on top of a hill, with a view of the Gulf of Cagliari (also known as Angels Gulf). Most of its city walls are intact, and feature the two early 14th-century white limestone towers, the Torre di San Pancrazio and the Torre dell'Elefante; they are both typical examples of Pisan military architecture. The local white limestone was also used to build the walls of the city and many buildings. D. H. Lawrence, in his memoir of a voyage to Sardinia, Sea and Sardinia, undertaken in January 1921, described the effect of the warm Mediterranean sun-light on the white limestone city and compared Cagliari to a "white Jerusalem". The city is said to be built on seven hills (Sant'Elia, Bonaria, Monte Urpinu, Castello, Monte Claro, Tuvixeddu and San Michele).
The Promenade Deck and the Terrazza Umberto I were designed in 1896 by engineer Joseph Costa and Fulgenzio Setti. The entire building is in the classical style, with Corinthian columns, and was built of white and yellow limestone. It was opened in 1901. The staircase with two flights, by which you enter from Constitution Square, is interrupted in a covered walkway, and ends beneath the Arc de Triomphe, in the Terrazza Umberto I. In 1943, during World War II, the staircase and the Arch of Triumph were severely damaged by aerial bombardment, but after the conflict's end they were faithfully reconstructed.
From the Terrazza Umberto I, accessed via a short flight of steps, is the Bastion of Santa Caterina, where there was an old Dominican convent, destroyed by fire in 1800. According to the tradition, the conspiracy to kill the Viceroy Camarassa in 1666 was set up in the surroundings of the monastery.
The Promenade Deck was inaugurated in 1902. At first it was used as a banqueting hall, then during the First World War was used as an infirmary. In the thirties, during the period of sanctions, it was an exhibition of autarky. During World War II it served as a shelter for displaced people whose homes had been destroyed by bombs. In 1948 it hosted the first Trade Fair of Sardinia. After many years of decay, the Promenade was restored and re-evaluated as a cultural space reserved especially for art exhibitions.
The Cathedral was restored in the 1930s turning the former Baroque façade into a Medieval Pisan style façade, more akin to the original appearance of the church from the 13th century. The bell tower is original. The interior has a nave and two aisles, with a pulpit (1159–1162) sculpted for the Cathedral of Pisa but later donated to Cagliari. The crypt houses the remains of martyrs found in the Basilica of San Saturno (see below). Near the Cathedral is the palace of the Provincial Government (which used to be the island's governor's palace before 1900). In Castello is also the Sardinian Archaeological Museum, the biggest and most important regarding the prehistoric Nuragic civilisation of Sardinia. Finally, Castello hosts many craftsmen workshops in its tight lanes.
The Palaeo-Christian Basilica of San Saturnino, Dedicated to the martyr killed under Diocletian's reign, Saturninus of Cagliari (patron saint of the city), it was built in the 5th century. Of the original building the central part remain and the dome, to which two arms (one with a nave and two aisles) was added. A Palaeo-Christian crypt is also under the church of San Lucifero (1660), dedicated to Saint Lucifer, a bishop of the city. This has a Baroque façade with ancient columns and sculpted parts, some of which found in the nearby necropolis.
The Chiesa della Purissima is a church from the 16th century. The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Bonaria (from which the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina gets its name) was built by the Catalans in 1324–1329 when they were besieging the Pisans in the Castle. It has a small Gothic portal in the façade while the interior houses a wooden statue of the Madonna, which, after having been thrown off a Spanish ship, had landed at the foot of the Bonaria hill. The cloister of the convent is home to the Marinery Museum.
The other early districts of the town (Marina, Stampace, Villanova) retain much of their original appeal.
Considerable other remains of the ancient city are still visible at Cagliari, including those of the Roman Amphitheatre, traditionally called Is centu scalas ("One hundred steps"), carved into a block of rock (the typical limestone from which Cagliari is built), and of an aqueduct, used to provide a water in which it is generally scarce. There exist also ancient cisterns of vast extent, the ruins of a small circular temple, and numerous sepulchres on a hill outside the modern town, which appears to have formed the necropolis of the ancient city The Amphitheatre still stages open-air operas and concerts during the summer.
The districts built in the 1930s have examples of Art Deco architecture, as well as controversial examples of Fascist neoclassicism, such as the Justice Court (Palazzo di Giustizia) in the Republic Square. The Justice Court is close to the biggest town park, Monte Urpinu, with its pine trees and artificial lakes. The park includes a vast area of a hill. The Orto Botanico dell'Università di Cagliari, the city's botanical garden, is also of interest.
The city has numerous libraries and is also home to the State Archive, containing thousand of handwritten documents from the foundation of the Kingdom of Sardinia (1325 AD) to the present. In addition to numerous local and university department libraries, the most important libraries are the old University Library, with thousands of ancient books, the Provincial Library, the Regional Library, and the Mediateca of the Mediterranean, which contains the municipal archive and library collection.
In the first century before Christ a famous singer and musician from Cagliari, Tigellius, lived in Rome, and was quoted, not good-naturedly, from Cicero and Horace. The history of the Sardinian literature was born in Cagliari in the first century After Christ; in the funerary monument of Atilia Pomptilla, carved into the rock of the necropolis of Tuvixeddu, poems are engraved in Greek and Latin dedicated to his dead wife by her husband. Some of them, particularly those in the Greek language, have some literary merit. The first Sardinian literary author known was the Bishop Lucifer of Cagliari, that in the fourth century after Christ, wrote severe pamphlets against the Arian heresy. Only in the eleventh century after Christ the first texts of an administrative nature in the modern Sardinian language appear, together with hagiographies of local martyrs written in Latin.
Life in Cagliari has been depicted by many writers, starting from late Roman poet Claudian. In the late 16th century, local humanist Roderigo Hunno Baeza dedicated to his town a didactic Latin poem, Caralis Panegyricus,.; at the beginning of the 17th century juan Francisco Carmona wrote in Spanish a hymn to Cagliari; Jacinto Arnal De Bolea published in 1636, in Spanish, the first novel set in Cagliari, titled El Forastero; David Herbert Lawrence in his Sea and Sardinia, wrote about the city.
Modern writers connected to Cagliari include Giuseppe Dessì, Giulio Angioni, Giorgio Todde, and Sergio Atzeni, who set many of his novels and short stories, such as Bakunin's Son, in ancient and modern Cagliari.
Cagliari was the birthplace or residence the composer Ennio Porrino, of film, theatre and TV director Nanni Loy, and of actors Gianni Agus, Amedeo Nazzari and Pier Angeli (born Anna Maria Pierangeli).
Excluding the Roman era amphitheater, the first theater was inaugurated in Cagliari in 1767: the Teatro Zapata, later become the Civic Theatre. Devastated by bombings in 1943, it was recently restored, but the roof was not rebuilt, and today it serves as an open-air theatre. The Politeama Regina Margherita, inaugurated in 1859, was destroyed by fire in 1942 and never rebuilt.
The city was left without a true theater until 1993 when the new Opera House the Teatro Lirico was inaugurated, despite the opera has had in town, and in part still has, a solid tradition. It is inside a music compound with the Music Conservatory, that has its own Auditorium, and the Music Park. Cagliari is and was home of opera singer such as tenors Giovanni Matteo Mario (Giovanni Matteo De Candia, 1810-1883) and Piero Schiavazzi (1875-1949), the baritone Angelo Romero (born 1940), the contralto Bernadette Manca di Nissa, born 1954 and the soprano Giusy Devinu (1960-2007). The Italian pop singer Marco Carta also was born in Cagliari in 1985.
The old Teatro Massimo was only recently renovated and now it is seat of the Teatro Stabile of Sardinia. The Municipal Auditorium, in the former 17th-century church of Santa Teresa, is the seat of the Scuola di Arte Drammatica (School of Dramatic Art) di Cagliari, while the Teatro delle Saline (Saltworks Theatre), is home of Akroama, Teatro Stabile di Innovazione (Permanent Theater of Innovation).
Finally, some comic and satirical theater companies are active in the city, the most known of which is the "Compagnia Teatrale Lapola", urban version of the traditional campidanese comic theater.
Founded by Bepi Vigna, Antonio Serra and Michele Medda, a comic book school, the Centro Internazionale del Fumetto (Comic strip International Centre)  has been active for several decades. Its founders have invented and designed comic characters such as Nathan Never and Legs Weaver.
Museums and Galleries
Polo museale di Cagliari "Cittadella dei musei" (Citadel of Museums) with:
- Museo archeologico nazionale di Cagliari (National Archeological Museum of Cagliari), the most important archeological museum of Sardinia, that contains finds from the Neolithic period (6000 years BC) to the Early Middle Ages about 1000 AD.
- Museo civico d'arte siamese Stefano Cardu (Civic Siamese Art Museum Stefano Cardu) the most important European collection of Siamese Art gathered by a Cagliaritan collector at the beginning of the 20th century.
- Museo delle cere anatomiche Clemente Susini (Anatomical Waxwork Museum Clemente Susini); the collection of anatomical waxworks is considered one of the finest in the world, and perfectly describe the human body and testify the state of medical and surgical knowledge at the beginning of the 19th century. The collection was created by the sculptor Clemente Susini and are faithful reproductions of dissections of cadavers performed in the School of Anatomy in Florence in 1803-1805 AD.
- Pinacoteca nazionale (National Picture Gallery)
- Galleria comunale d'arte (Civic art Gallery) with an important exposition of Italian modern painting (Ingrao Collection) offered to the city by his collector, and the civic exposition of Sardinian artists.
- Collezione sarda "Luigi Piloni" (University Sardinian Collection Luigi Piloni)
- ExMà, MEM, Castello di San Michele, Il Ghetto exposition centers
- Museo di Bonaria (Basilical Church Museum of Bonaria), with an interesting ex-voto collection;
- Museo del Duomo (Cathedral Museum);
- Museo del tesoro di Sant'Eulalia (Treasure Museum of Saint Eulalia of Barcelona; with its important Roman era underground area
- Orto botanico di Cagliari University Botanical Gardens
Feast of Sant'Efis
The Feast of St. Ephysius (Sant'Efisio in Italian, Sant'Efis in Sardinian) is the most important religious procession of Cagliari, taking place every year on May 1. In this festival, thousands of people of folk groups from all over Sardinia wear their traditional costumes. The Saint is escorted by the traditional ancient Milicia, the Mayor deputy (Alter Nos), numerous confraternities and a convoy of pulled by oxen charriots, till to Nora (near modern Pula), 35 km (22 mi) from Cagliari, where, according to tradition, the Saint was beheaded. In addition to being one of the oldest is also the longest Italian religious procession, with about 70 km (43 mi) of walks in 4 days and the largest in the Mediterranean.
A plague was propagating in Sardinia since 1652. The epidemic infected Cagliari in particular, killing about ten thousand inhabitants. According to the legend, in 1656 St. Ephysius appeared to the Spanish Viceroy, Francisco Fernández de Castro Andrade, Count of Lemos to request, in order to liberate the city from the plague, a procession on 1 May. The Municipality of Cagliari swore that, if the plague disappeared, a procession would be held every day in the saint's honor, starting from the Stampace district and ending at Nora where the saint was martyred. In September, the plague ended, and the procession and festival was therefore regularly held starting from the following year on May 1. The procession was held even during tha last war: tha Saint was charged on a lorry and, through the ruins of the city devastated by the bombs, regurarly arrived in Nora.
Other feasts and events in Cagliari include:
- The Carnival
- Holy Week and Easter celebrations
- Sea processions of St. Francis of Paola, held in May, and Nostra Signora di Bonaria, in July
- Cagliari Fair, in early May
- Audi MedCup regatta
The variant of Cagliari in its high register has traditionally represented the linguistic model of reference for the entire southern area of the island, and the high social variant used by the middle class in the whole Campidanese domain, as well as the literary model of reference for writers and poets. This language has become less spoken by the new generations in the city, which use Italian due to compulsory education and the means of mass communication. Italian has increasingly become predominant in social relations, formal but also informal, relegating Sardinian to the role of sociological dialect; young people often have just passive competence, due to their relationship with elderly relatives who still speak it, as their parents too often speak only Italian, or just speak a mixed juvenile slang.
Cagliari was the metropolis of the Roman province, and accepted innovations coming from Rome, Carthage, Constantinople, and probably reflected late Latin urban dialects of the 5th-century core cities of the empire.
Cagliari has some peculiar gastronomic traditions: unlike the rest of the island its cuisine is mostly based on seafood but not only. Many dishes are based on the wide variety of fish and seafood available. Although it is possible to trace influences from Spanish, Sicilian and Genoese cuisine, Cagliaritan food has a distinctive and unique character.
Very good wines are also part of Cagliaritanians' dinners: excellent wines are in fact produced in the nearby vineyards of the Campidano plain: Cannonau, Nuragus, Nasco, Monica, Moscau, Girò, Malvasia. At the end the famous Mirto, myrtle liquor;
The main newspaper of Cagliari is L'Unione Sarda, founded in 1889. It was one of the first European newspapers to have its own website. It has a circulation of about 90,000 copies.
In Cagliari there is the main regional headquarters of RAI, the Italian State-owned radio and television network. There are also two regional television and radio companies as well as numerous information internet sites.
Cagliari is home to the football team Cagliari Calcio, winner of the Italian league championship in 1970, with the team was led by Gigi Riva. Founded in 1920, the club played at the Stadio Sant'Elia in the city from 1970 until it was closed due to safety concerns in 2012, causing the club to temporarily relocate to the smaller Stadio Is Arenas in nearby Quartu Sant'Elena. The Sant'Elia was the venue for three matches at the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
Cagliari is an ideal location for water sports such as surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing and sailing due to strong and reliable favourable winds. Field hockey is also popular, with two teams in the top division Italian, G.S. Amsicora and C.U.S. Cagliari, the first of which won the league title more than any other Italian team in the men's championship (20) and is also the protagonist in the women's one.
Sport venues in Cagliari include:
- Sant'Elia stadium (closed 2012)
- Tennis Club Cagliari 
- Rockfeller sports hall
- Rockfeller skating rink
- Via dello Sport gymnastics hall
- Terra Maini Olympionic pool
- Amsicora Stadium 
- Rari Nantes pool 
- Esperia pool
- Riccardo Santoru athletics stadium
- Civic pool
- Acquasport pool
- Poettu hippodrome 
- Mario Siddi fencing gymnasium
- Mulinu Becciu tennis table hall
- Facilities of the University Sports Center, C.U.S. Cagliari 
Cagliari is the hub of the administration offices of the Sardinia Autonomous Region and of the Cagliari Province. It is also home of several local offices of the Italian central administration. It is the seat of the Superintendency of the Cultural and Environmental Heritage, of the Sardinia Archival Superintendency and of the Archeological Superintendency of the Cultural Heritage Ministry, of the Sardinia and Provincial seat of the Job and Social Policies Ministry, of the regional offices of the Finance and Economy Ministry, of some frontier offices of the Health Ministry.
Cagliari is home to all criminal, civil, administrative and accounting courts for Sardinia of the Ministry of Justice until the High Court of Assizes of Appeal. It is home to a prison, Buon Cammino, built in the late 19th century, famous because no one has ever managed to escape. A new modern prison is under construction in the nearby town of Uta.
Traditionally, votes in Cagliari are oriented towards the center-right wing. Since World War II, all the mayors belonged to the Christian Democrats with the exception of Salvatore Ferrara, from the Socialist Party, allied with the former. After the collapse of the traditional parties in the 1990s, the mayors belonged to the party or the coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi. The current economic and political crisis that crosses Italy has prompted the electorate toward a large abstention and toward a young mayor, Massimo Zedda, which belongs to a centre-left alliance.
Cagliari is home of the University of Cagliari, the greatest public university in Sardinia, founded in 1626. It currently includes six faculties: Engineering and Architecture, Medicine and Surgery, Economical, Juridical and Political Sciences, Basic Sciences, Biology and Pharmacy, Humanistic Studies.
It is attended by about 35,000 students. All scientific faculties of the university, as well as the university hospital, has been transferred to a new "Universitary Citadel", located in Monserrato. Cagliari's center houses the engineering and the humanities poles and, in the Castle, the seat of the Rector, in an 18th-century palace with a library of thousands of ancient books.
Pula, in the metropolitan area of Cagliari, is home to Polaris, the Science and Technology Park of Sardinia, a system of advanced infrastructure and services for innovation, development, research and industrialization. With more than 60 companies and research centers, Polaris is one of the largest science parks Italian and is the first in the country for number of biotech companies established.
Cagliari is also the seat of the Pontifical Faculty of Theology of Sardinia.
Life expetancy in Cagliari is very high: 79.5 years for men and 85.4 for women (provincial level).
Although there has been a public hospital in Cagliari since the 17th century, the first modern structure was built in the middle of the 19th century under design of architect Gaetano Cima. The hospital is still running even if all departments are gradually transferred to the new University Hospital in Monserrato.
Other public hospitals in the city include: the Santissima Trinità or commonly Is Mirrionis, the Binaghi, specialized in pulmonology, Marino specialized in traumatology, in Hyperbaric medicine and in spinal cord injuries, Businco specialized in oncology and Microcitemico specialized in thalassemia, genetic and rare diseases.
Furthermore there are many private hospitals.
Despite its dry climate, thanks to the regional system of dams, every inhabitant of Cagliari may have 363 liters per day of safe drinking water.
The waste sorting is still quite low: only 33,4% of waste is separated.
The city is currently served by International Airport (Cagliari-Elmas international airport), located a few kilometers from the center of Cagliari. A railway line connects the city to the airport; walkways joint the railway station to the air terminal. The terminal is also connected to the city by the highway SS 130 and by bus with the ARST company to Bus Station in Matteotti square, in the centre of the city.
There are other airports not too far from the city: Deciomannu airport, a NATO military airport, and three fields for AirSports, Serdiana (used in particular for skydiving), Castiadas and Decimoputzu.
From Cagliari is served by the following national roads:
Orientale Sarda, which connects Cagliari to Tortolì and Olbia, ending in Palau, in front of Corsica.
The Provincial Road 17 connects Poetto to Villasimius.
The port of Cagliari has scheduled services by passenger ship to Civitavecchia, Naples, Palermo and Trapani. Goods are shipped to Genoa and Livorno.
Su Siccu (Lega Navale) and Marina Piccola are two tourist ports.
Urban and suburban mobility
Bus and trolleybus services, managed by CTM  (more than 30 lines) and ARST, connect internal destinations in the city and in the metropolitan area; Cagliari is one of the few Italian cities has an extensive trolleybus network, whose fleet has been partially renovated in 2012. A metro like tram service on its own path, MetroCagliari, is working between Piazza Repubblica and Monserrato, a hinterland commune. In a few months a new branch will tie the new University campus near Monserrato. The line between Piazza Repubblica and Piazza Matteotti, the city trasportation hub (there are the train and the urban and extra-urban bus stations), is still in project. A public service of bike-sharing is operating in these pick-up points: Via Sonnino - Palazzo Civico, Piazza Repubblica, Piazza Giovanni 23, Marina Piccola.
Twin towns – Sister cities
Cagliari is twinned with:
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Nanyuki, Kenya
- Pisa, Italy
- Vercelli, Italy
- Padua, Italy, 2002
- Biella, Italy, 2003
- Long name (defunct): Casteddu de Callaris
- Population data from Istat
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