The most interesting area to walk around in Cagliari is the citadel, known as Quartiere Castello, or Su Casteddu in local parlance (also a name for the city as a whole), and by the tourist board as La Cittadella dei Musei.
As well as the fantastic views over the city, there are several attractions up here, including the Cathedral, Viceroyal Palace, Archaeology Museum, National Gallery and several other museums (please click on the names to see separate posts). =coming soon.
The citadel can be accessed from various points. From the Hotel Italia I walked up Largo Carlo Felice to Chiesa Santa Clara and took the lift behind the church up to the final level in front of Torre dell’ Elefante, one of the defensive towers built by the Pisans at the beginning of the 14th century.
Further to the north in the citadel is the Torre di San Pancrazio, built at the same time. www.beniculturalicagliari.it For two or three euros you can climb the towers to get good views.
Built in local white limestone, the effect of the sun shining on the towers and other buildings caused D.H.Lawrence to describe Cagliari as a ‘white Jerusalem’.
Part of the fun is walking the long narrow streets which are kept cool by the high buildings that tower above them. Gateways and tunnels are everywhere.
The architecture is not particularly ornate but every now and then you come across a little gem.
The citadel also seems to be the bohemian and artistic quarter, perhaps because property is relatively cheap up here due to it’s inaccessibility.
After several hours of walking around, a pit stop was definitely in order. For that there’s no better place than Caffè delle Arti at 1 Via del Fossario, just down the road from the Cathedral. Google map here.
The terrace has commanding views out over the eastern side of the city and they sell great thirst-quenching craft beers from a local craft brewery called Barley www.barley.it based in Maracalagonis, just outside Cagliari.
Their quality ales come in big chunky bottles. It’s the first time I’ve been served beer as if it was champagne!
I can vouch for their Duenna, an American Saison (6.5%, slightly bitter, gold coloured) and Tuvi Tuvi, a blond beer (6.2%, less bitter, more fruity, straw coloured).
The terrace would make a great place for a date. Definitely one of my hot tips 😉