Cagliari – walking around Quartiere Marina
I’ve broken my Cagliari posts down to make them more readable. Please see my separate posts on eating in the Marina area and for other neighbourhoods. My Google map of the city is here.
For some, Cagliari is a little disappointing in terms of things to see given its ancient history, although personally I quite enjoyed walking around the citadel (see Castello posts).
Quartiere Marina is one of the oldest districts and there are a few gems here too if you look for them.
I particularly like the sad angels above the doorway of the Chiesa de Sant’ Agostino at 80 Via Lodovico Baylle.
These cherub-like angels (or are they ‘putti’?) seem to be a popular theme.
Cappella dell’Asilo della Marina next door also has some nice ones.
Most of the streets on the lower slopes of the Marina district are organised on a more modern grid pattern although higher up towards the citadel the roads become steeper and a bit more maze like.
Chiesa di Santa Rosalia is built into the gradient of Via Principe Amedeo.
On one of these higher streets, at 2 Vico del Collegio, is the Museo del Tesoro e Area Archeologica di Sant’Eulalia.
The museum is an archaeological site in the basement of the Sant’Eulalia church. Metal catwalks above the site allow you to walk around and gaze down at the various phases.
‘Karalis’, the first name for Cagliari, was established by the Phonecians around the 8th and 7th centuries BC and the Carthaginians built a fortified settlement in the Marina area in the 5th century BC.
Under the church remains can be seen of a 4th to 3rd century BC Punic shrine, a pre 5th century BC water cistern, a 4th century AD road with houses and a well, a possibly 6th century AD Roman-era wall and then the 14th century AD Catalan-Aragonese church (St. Eulalia was the patron saint of Barcelona).
Under the road was a sewage conduit and storm drain, which was accessed for maintenance via this manhole.
Apparently more subterranean passages were discovered down here.
At some point the drain was blocked by mud from a storm. The everyday objects carried by the storm flood were locked in the mud creating a fascinating snapshot in time. The objects date from the late 7th century AD which was the last time the drain was in operation.
Similarly coins found in the cistern date it to having been in use up until the 5th century BC. I had the pleasure of excavating a well in my teens (my dad is an archaeologist) and found it fascinating to discover all the junk that had piled up in it during the years it was in use.
Since my pop will probably be reading this I should perhaps issue a disclaimer that the photos don’t necessarily represent what I’m writing about!
Quartiere Marina is also known as the shopping district, especially along Via Roma on the waterfront. However wandering around the back streets I stumbled upon Durke, an old shop selling Sardinian cakes at 66 Via Napoli, www.durke.com.
The lady working there was very friendly and allowed me to sample some of her wares including the famous Pardule, a special cake made with ricotta for Lent.
Her beautifully-wrapped amaretti were very nice too.
This publicity shot shows her working in the shop with her mum and sister and their two-hundred-year-old oven in the background.
To be honest though, some Sardinian cakes seem to be more about form than function. I wasn’t too impressed by these traditional Tilicas (the squiggly ones) made with almond paste and honey, which were given to me at a school I worked at. They looked lovely but were quite dry and hard when eaten.
Similarly the local bread can be quite pretty to look at but has more crust than soft parts.
Other than this, there are a few modern sculptures dotted around, like this one in Via Dettori.
At the end of Via Sardegna you come to the incongruous Consiglio Regionale della Sardegna (Regional Council of Sardinia) which has some modernist sculptures beside it, such as ‘Figura Maschile’ (Male Figure) dating from 1987.
In nearby Piazza Giovanni Amendola there are some nice Jacaranda trees, which reminded me of Buenos Aires.