Cagliari protects the history and the memory of the ancient cultures that succeeded in the city. During the centuries the numerous and different people that inhabited Cagliari, infused a homely character toward the visitors. The testimony of the different cultures is evident through its streets: the Punic in the ruins of the Necropoli of Tuvixeddu, the Roman Karales in the magnificent amphitheatre, the Byzantine in the Basilica of San Saturnino, the Pisan with the tall towers and the Piedmontese one with the Royal Palace. Prints and millenary traces to discover along the narrow lanes where only carts and carriages passed by. A few steps suffice, among ancient and new buildings, to all of a sudden enjoy the enchantment of fascinating monuments that tell the history of the city.
Watching Cagliari from the sea, one has a feeling of entering a scenic city, easy to see due to the immediacy of its landscape, in constant variation from the points of view. The African look given by the palms trees and the yellow limestone are tempered by the architecture markedly western and this combination of character so distant makes the city unique in its diversity.
Founded in the Neolithic age (6000-3000 B.C.), only many centuries later, Cagliari became an authentic city, thanks to the Phoenician-Punics dominators, which took advantage from its central position in the Mediterranean sea, they turned Cagliari into a bustling commercial port. After the first Punic war (III century B.C.) Cagliari passed under the heel of Rome, and it still preserves important findings and ruins of the domination, such as the Roman Amphitheatre and Tigellio’s villa.
With the advent of Christianity, Cagliari came in contact with religious personages like S.Agostino, but under Vandal people a period of decline started and lasted until the Byzantine Empire, characterized by the birth of Giudicati (IX-X centuries A.D.), a form of self-government, lead by the King also supreme Magistrate (Judex sive Rex) independent from the Empires and the Church’s dominions, that granted the island a relative political independence and autonomy. In the XIII century, in conjunction with the decline of the Cagliari’s “Giudicato”, came the Pisans, that fortified the upper part of the town, with a complex system of ramparts, buttresses, forts and towers still visible in Castello, Stampace, Marina and Villanova districts. Less than a century later, in 1324 the rule passed to the Aragonese, that along with the Catalans, with the political union gave birth to the Spanish Government, an administration that caused much resentment among the people.
A major change occurred in 1717, with the treaty of Utrecht, after the Spanish war of Succession. After a weak and short austrian rule attempt, Cagliari and Sardinia, was the Savoia house-hold to arise to the sardinian throne. With the Piedmontese administration, Cagliari started an era of urban development and renewal, that gradually modified the status of the city from “fortified stronghold” to a modern planning layout, which involved many useful public works.
After WWII, Cagliari faced a new life: around the primogenial urban settlement a new city started to develop, that in a 20 years time-span, from 1951 to 1971, doubled the number of dwellings, attracting the population from the nearby areas, as well as laying the foundations of the contemporary metropolitan area.
Today Cagliari appears like a complex city, with a heritage of great importance as well as a modern personality, coherently to a capital that developed, with time going by, in harmony with the surrounding area, being a pivotal part of it.