Villanova - Cagliari



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some practical information for visiting Cagliari

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Villanova - Cagliari

Rather than a district, this is a real village, swallowed by the expanding city. It hosts the largest covered market of Italy, and one of the biggest in Europe. Along the perimeter of the Castle walls, the first inhabitants settled down: they were farmers who came into town at the beginning of the 13th century in search for better economic conditions for their trades. Until the first half of the 20th century, there were tangible rests of this colonization all around the town walls ( cultivated areas left by the farmers). But after the construction boom of the past century, no traces were left, and all the empty spaces among the churches were filled with new buildings. One of the most beautiful churches still present is the Paleochristian complex of San Saturnino, consisting of a basilica with annexed necropolis, raised up on the foundations of a former ancient church dedicated to the local patron saint Saturno.

Basilica di San Saturnino

Walking through San Lucifero street, which connects S.Saturno with Piazza Costituzione, you will get to the former slaughterhouses of Cagliari, a wide urban space which has been turned since 15 years into an important cultural centre: the Exmà. (via San Lucifero 71; tel. and fax: 070 666399;  e-mail:
The centre is reachable by bus with line 1 and M until the bus stop of via Sonnino. It hosts concerts, exhibitions, theatre representations, cinema exhibitions and much more, in addition to a permanent exhibition of about 650 engravings, both by Italian and foreign authors, which are part of the Valle’s donation (summer opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday from 9.00 am to 13.00 pm, and from 17.00 pm to 21.00 pm.  Winter opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday from 9.00 am to 13.00 pm, and from 16.00 pm to 20.00 pm . Closed on Mondays. Guided visits are available upon reservation).  Assisting to a concert or any other performance inside these walls certainly has an added value, therefore  we highly recommend to watch out the events calendar: you will certainly find something interesting.
On the way back to the avenues along the sea,  you will encounter the Monumental Cemetery, dating back to the 19th century, then the Basilica of Bonaria: a complex partly built in the 14th century by the Aragonese, and partly in the 18th century. The Basilica is dedicated to the Madonna, protector of the sailors, and it is one of the most attended in Cagliari, being the destination of constant pilgrimages. Obviously looking toward the sea, the church face a large flight of steps, descending in the same direction.

The Basilica can be reached by bus, line 5, 6, 30 and 31 (bus stop in V.le Bonaria).

Basilica di Bonaria