The so called Castello district in the city centre of Cagliari is definitely worth visiting, but slowly, in order to take in all its glorious details and the soul of the entire city, situated in the heart of the Mediterranean. The old, historical district develops around what was once the “Rocca di Castro”, a fortress dating back to the Pisan period which gives the area an impressive and medieval quality.
Where to start
The best place to start is in Via Manno, one of the city’s main shopping streets, right in the heart of the city centre, the street is uphill and leads straight to Castello. In a few minutes you will reach the “Bastione di Saint-Remy”, an imposing building of the XIX century, from where, once you have climbed the last (!) flight of steps you can admire an extraordinary view of the city and its surroundings from a beautiful and exceptionally large terrace. I find this piazza-like terrace incredibly elegant and it fills me with a sense of immense freedom. Follow the route from the top of the Bastione to the Duomo, in 5 minutes you will reach the Cathedral, a magnificent example of Romanesque architecture, which dates back to the XIII century, nearby is the Palazzo Viceregio and the ex city palace, once the headquarters of the Town Hall. Further up is the Tower of San Pancrazio, one of the two Pisan towers, and if you continue you will reach the “Torre dell’Elefante”, – the small elephant statue sticking out of the tower is unmissable – in via Università, very close to the Bastione Saint-Remy.
Probably the most alluring experience in Castello is to allow yourself to get lost in the many alleys and really get a feel of the city atmosphere and be captured by its charms.
Castello is the “hub” of numerous museums. There is, for example, the museum of the Duomo, situated very near the Cathedral in Via Fossario, here all the cathedral’s treasures are kept, that is to say ancient liturgical objects and paintings including a beautiful Dutch painting of the XVth century. There is also the “Cittadella dei Musei”, where there are often exhibitions, the Archeological Museum, the National Picture Gallery and a Museum of Oriental Art.
One can choose to go and see a play in the new Teatro Civico, right next to the Bastione.
Castello has a number of restaurants with typical Sardinian dishes, as well as bars and coffee shops where to make the most of the Cagliari nightlife.
Two suggestions are the “Caffe’ degli Spiriti”- where one can also dine – and the “Caffe’ De Candia”, both are located on the extraordinary terrace of the Bastione and have a breathtaking view, in the summer sofas and four poster beds are placed on the terrace, creating an incredibly decadent atmosphere. For an after dinner drink, move on to the “trendy” “Libarium” (here lies the essence of people watching..) it is near the elephant tower, the real beauty is the outside balcony with its sofas and tables set under pergolas teeming with vegetation in the summer.