Famed for its layered history, archaeological treasures and distinctive cuisine, the bustling clifftop city of Cagliari is a one-of-a-kind destination.
Described by D.H. Lawrence as ‘strange and rather wonderful, not a bit like Italy’, Sardinia’s capital is located on the southern coast of the island, some 600 kilometres from Rome, and gazing out into the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Lawrence’s observations are shared by many who visit this enchanting city, for whilst there are obvious links with Italy - Vespas whizzing by, locals congregating in street-side cafes, laid-back ‘Dolce Vita’ vibe - the city has a distinct Sardinian feel which is reflected in its language, culture and cuisine.
Visit Cagliari’s famous Castello district and wander through its maze of narrow streets and cobbled alleyways, marvel at medieval city walls and centuries-old architecture, admire renaissance masterpieces and modern street art, pay a visit to the Parco Naturale Molentargius Saline to spot pink flamingos, enjoy the distinctive island cuisine with its blend of Spanish, Italian and Arabic influences and drink in the views with a glass of one of the city’s Cagliari DOC wines, or an exquisite Cannonau di Sardegna DOC from inland.
Although Cagliari is a fascinating year-round city it remains largely under-the-radar as a stand alone destination, and many visitors here are just day-trippers holidaying at one of the island’s coastal resort towns. Those who do choose to stay overnight in this charming city are rewarded with a wide range of excellent accommodation including boutique hotels, 19th century villas and converted palazzos. The Miramare Art Hotel offers guests a tranquil oasis in the heart of the city with a superb seafront location and individually furnished rooms / suites which tastefully combine the traditional and the modern. There’s no restaurant here, but the hotel’s location on the bustling Via Roma ensures that guests are only a few minutes walk from a host of recommended eateries.
Sardinia shares the same passion for food and wine as the rest of Italy, with a focus on fresh, local ingredients, simple, rustic cuisine and dining traditions dating back generations. The many influences that have shaped the island’s history and culture have also enriched its food, creating a unique Sardinian flavour quite distinct from other Italian regions. Being surrounded by water it’s no surprise that the fish and seafood offerings here are without exception excellent, but the island is also noted for its su porcheddu (suckling pig) cooked with aromatic myrtle leaves, as well as for malloreddus alla Campidanese - a Sardinian speciality pasta dish with saffron, tomato sauce, local pecorino cheese and sausage.
Cagliari’s best restaurants and bars tend to serve contemporary interpretations of traditional Sardinian dishes, often accompanied by locally produced wines. Amongst the most notable are Michelin starred Ristorante Dal Corsaro, ChiaroScuro - a small neighbourhood restaurant serving refined Sardinian cuisine, and Da Marino al St Remy - an intimate venue with an elegant atmosphere and delicious seafood specialties.
Delectable food menus are also a feature of the city’s best wine bars, with many serving small plates and bar snacks which showcase Sardinia’s finest ingredients. Amongst the best is Sabores - a charming, minimalist bar whose knowledgeable staff champion locally produced wines, meats and cheeses, and whose outside tables are a wonderful spot from where to watch the world go by with a glass of Vermentino di Gallura (Sardinia’s only DOCG appellation). Wine lovers should also pay a visit to Antica Enoteca Cagliaritana - a fabulous shop dating back to 1935 which sells a huge range of Sardinian wines, beers and liqueurs, as well as an impressive selection of Italian and international varieties.
So whether you come for the food or the wine, the history, the art, the beaches, the stunning views or unique island culture, Cagliari is a charming, dynamic city break destination waiting to be discovered.
Via Lodovico Baylle 6, Cagliari, 09124
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 380, Cagliari, 09123
Piazza Galileo Galilei 1, Cagliari, 09128
Via San Salvatore da Horta 7, Cagliari, 09124
Via Vico II Vincenzo Sulis 1/a, Cagliari, 09124
Via Sassari 25, Cagliari, 09100
Via Sardegna 140, Cagliari, 09124
Viale Regina Margherita 18, Cagliari, 09124
Viale Regina Margherita 28, Cagliari, 09124
Via Rovereto 8, Cagliari, 09124
Piazza Galileo Galilei 1, Cagliari, 09128
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