Nuragic and Punic Civilizations
Our second aim on this long weekend trip was to visit other locations up to a maximum of 100 kilometers or so from Cagliari. Obviously I did some research previously before to have a brief idea on what other nice places were near that could make a great day out. Of course counting with the Bronze Age settlement of Su Nuraxi as the highlight of the day. For the remaining locations to complete the day is the first time I made use of Instagram and searched for images using hashtags. I must admit the outcome has been very successful and will continue with this technique on trips that are similar to this.
Although you can take a tour from Cagliari or other larger cities in Sardinia that take you here and around other archaeological places, specially in what is called the Nuragic Route; the freedom of a rental car gives you a wider flexibility not to mention you will be able to visit way more places than on a tour. But that’s not all, if you are 2 people or more then is more cost-effective renting a car than getting onto a tour.
Driving towards Su Nuraxi was pretty quick and straight forward. Most of the way was on the highway, with the last few kilometer on a more local road. Altogether the distance is around 70 kilometers and since along the way there is nothing of importance to stop and visit, it will take you around 45 minutes from downtown Cagliari to reach here.
The complete name for this ancient village is Su Nuraxi di Barumini, and at almost 4000 years old, is one of the largest and most complete Bronze Age settlement from the Nuragic civilization. Included in the list of UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, it is also taken as the representative example of the Nuragic civilization due to its size, importance and great level of conservation. There are nevertheless many other settlements all across the island, at even greater level of conservation, but not as large as this one.
Farther to the north-west is the ancient city of Tharros, final point on our tour for today. This is the place I’ve never heard of until I checked pictures in Instagram and this popped. And what a great decision was to plan coming here! Not only for the beautiful landscapes we passed by, and the nice views along the lakes near Oristano, but the Sinus Peninsula at the very end where Tharros lies in between. Surrounded by the crystal clear sea at both sides and sandy beaches, without doubt, some of the best beaches in the island.
Don’t hesitate in planning a day tour as we did, same or similar; it is absolutely worth it every minute and gives you an idea of the rich history and culture Sardinia has. After all, and because of the size, there is not much more you can do if you have a short stay, so unless you plan a longer vacation here, doing something like this was the best decision.
For more information about Su Nuraxi check this Wikipedia article, as for Tharros, here is a good description in the Wikipedia site. Italy’s currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
Places to visit
- Su Nuraxi di Barumini As briefly explained above, this Bronze Age settlement is almost 4000 years old and it’s an UNESCO World Heritage Site for being a high class example of the Nuragic civilization. You can only visit the place as part of a tour (unfortunately only in Italian), and are readily available every 15 minutes or so, or when a group is waiting to visit. It costs 10 euros for entrance and tour guide, and unless you are inside the main fortification, all what is outside you do not need to be near the tour guide person but at your own. The best part of the visit nonetheless is entering the main building through narrow corridors and steep steps. Reaching the central point and looking at the large towers of stones all around you is an incredible sight on its own. Then thinking that all of it is 4000 years old and it’s hard to believe. It is 70 kilometers from Cagliari.
- Oristano A small city on the west coast of Sardinia, 60 kilometers from Su Nuraxi or 100 from Cagliari. Although not very special compared to other pretty villages elsewhere in the island, it is surrounded by beautiful lakes all around which you will pass on direction to Tharros.
- Tharros Believed to have been Punic in origin, it is not entirely certain. Some says is Phoenician, others Punic, but what is clear is that it succumbed to the Roman Empire. What you see now dates mostly from the Roman period, with perfect roads and even a visible well preserved sewer system. In the other hand do not expect to see here great large buildings because the entire archaeological site is more levelled than other Roman cities. In any case the site is of special beauty due to the location in the Sinis Peninsula, therefore surrounded by the sea and the Bay of Oristano. Within the complex there is the Spanish Tower from where you will get unrivaled views of the entire bay and the ancient city below. The tower forms part of a complex of fortifications built by the Aragonese when Sardinia was part of the Spanish Empire and are located along the entire coastline of the island every few kilometers.
Album of Su Nuraxi
Album of Oristano and Tharros