Retablo of the Nativity © Sardegna Turismo
Cagliari is Sardinia's capital, a favourite with holidaymakers, and the biggest city in the region, 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.
Sardinia's history and culture is conveniently packaged in the Citadel of Museums complex in the centre of Cagliari. Here the National Archaeological Museum, the National Picture Gallery, the Cardu Siamese Museum and a collection of anatomical waxes by Florentine sculptor Clemente Susini are situated, 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.
Address: Piazza Arsenale