Cagliari - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Cagliari


Cagliari is Sardinia's capital, a favourite with holidaymakers, and biggest town with a busy industrial port. Despite its size the old centre is charmingly compact, contained within the city walls and Pisan fortifications. The main attractions are the National Archaeological Museum, which contains prehistoric tombs and other significant artefacts from the Punic and Roman periods, the impressive cathedral, and a smattering of Roman ruins. The suburb of Poetto has a four mile (6km) stretch of sandy beach with some small bars nearby. The famous nuraghe of Su Nuraxi near Barumini are within easy reach of the town.

Information & Facts

The official language of Italy is Italian. English is understood in the larger cities but not in the more remote parts of the country.

The Euro (EUR) is the official currency, which is divided into 100 cents. Those arriving in Italy with foreign currency can obtain Euros through any bank, ATM or bureaux de change. ATMs are widespread. Travellers cheques can be exchanged with ease in the large cities, not so in the smaller towns. Credit cards are accepted in upmarket establishments and shops around the cities. Banks are closed on weekends, but tend to have better rates than casas de cambios.

The mysterious Nuragic people, who arrived in Sardinia around 1500 BC, festooned the island with about 30,000 circular fortified structures. Today about 7,000 of these remain standing to be marvelled at by tourists. The complex of Nuraghe in Barumini has been added to UNESCO's World Heritage List and is the finest and most complete example of this prehistoric architecture. The Barumini site can be reached from Oristano or Cagliari on route 131, turning off onto route 197. Other well-preserved Nuraghe can be seen at Sant Antine. At Nora, on the very southern tip of the island, are the remains of an extensive Nuragic village including an amphitheatre, forum, baths, temple and Kasbah. Other good Nuragic sites are near Villanovaforru, Alghero and Abbasanta.

Sardinia's history and culture is conveniently packaged in the Citadel of Museums complex in the centre of the capital, Cagliari. Here is sited the National Archaeological Museum, the National Picture Gallery, the Cardu Siamese Museum and a collection of anatomical waxes by Florentine sculptor Clemente Susini, all administered by the University. The Archaeological Museum houses artefacts from all the ancient cultures of the island, including ceramics from Phoenician tombs, Punic jewellery and Nuragic bronzes. The Picture Gallery contains a collection of contemporary art and sculpture, while the Siamese museum exhibits fascinating items from the east. The unique Collection of Waxes consists of 23 models of parts of the human body, created by Clemente Susini from waxes, resin, tallow, pitch and balsam.

Sardinia has an unforgettable coastline, but the interior of the island is equally as beautiful. A fun way to explore it is aboard the Trenino Verde (Little Green Train), a vintage steam locomotive that puffs its way through forests, over bridges and through tunnels into some of the island's most scenic mountain areas. The narrow-gauge train tracks were laid in 1888 to serve the more isolated areas of Sardinia, and the picturesque restored train and locomotive is just as old. The train runs on scheduled routes, connecting Nuoro and Bosa, Sassari and Alghero, Sassari and Palau, and Cagliari and Arbatax. Most popular is the Cagliari to Arbatax route, which departs each morning at 6.45am.

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