Sardinia island Mediterranean sea Nuragic civilization

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Sardinia Nuragic civilization, heart of beauty and culture

The historical frame Sardinia island

Sardinia island bears witness to a long prehistoric culture characterized by the nuraghi. As well as the Phoenician presence along its coasts replaced and enlarged by that of the Carthaginians in the VII century BC. Afterward, the Roman Empire conquers the island between the first and second Punic war in the III century BC. At the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the vandals invade Sardinia island in the mid-fifth century, but the Eastern Empire regains it by rejecting the Lombard attempt of conquest.

The maritime republics

But Byzantium was too far from Sardinia. As a consequence, it creates an autonomous region divided into four giudicati (kingdoms): those of Cagliari, Torres, Arborea, and Gallura. From the 8th century, the Arabs harassed the population of the coastal cities. Only the intervention of the connected naval forces of Pisa and Genoa around 1015 manages to stop these invasions. From this moment, the two maritime Republics settle on the island exploiting its wealth. Like minerals and wheat, cattle, cheese, coral.

Sardinia island and the Kingdom of Aragon

Between 1323 and 1326 the Kingdom of Aragon took possession of Sardinia island. For a century and a half, the maritime republics of Genoa and Pisa, as well as the giudicati (kingdoms) of Torres and Arborea, tried to react to this domination. But the union of the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon made the Sardinians subjected to Spain. This domination, through a viceroy, ends at the beginning of the eighteenth century with the war of the Spanish succession between the Bourbons and the Habsburg.

The House of Savoy

In 1718, at the London congress, the spatial planning of Sardinia took place. In 1720 the island was handed over to Victor Amadeus II Duke of Savoy with the title of “King of Sardinia”. The Savoy led this title up to their proclamation as king of Italy, ruling the island with a viceroy. Expulsed from Turin, they established their residence from 1799 to the Restoration of the Bourbons after the Revolution and the Napoleonic Empire.

The development of the arts

One of the most relevant aspects of Sardinia island are the monuments of prehistory and protohistory. A territory dotted with the Giants’ tomb, with the domus de janas (houses of the fairies or witches), and the nuraghe (there are more than 7000). The second rare aspect is the evidence of Phoenician and Phoenician-Punic excavations, such as Mount Sirai, Tharros, and Nora. In addition to the last two sites, which later became Roman, other signs of the Roman Empire can be found in Porto Torres and Cagliari.

The Romanesque churches

The third Sardinian artistic singularity is given by the Romanesque churches, of Pisan or Lombard influence of the XI-XIII centuries. The most obvious examples are the Basilica of San Gavino in Porto Torres, the church of Santa Maria del Regno in Ardara and the Basilica of Sant’Antioco di Bisarcio. As well as the Basilica of the Holy Trinity of Saccargia, the cathedral of San Pietro di Sorres, the Cathedral of Santa Giusta and the church of San Nicola in Ottana. There are also significant medieval military architectures such as the towers of Cagliari and Oristano, and the castle of Serravalle in Bosa.

The Iberian influence

With the Aragonese conquest, also artistically Sardinia undergoes the Iberian influence. As a result, we find Gothic-Catalan places of worship such as the Cathedral of Alghero, the Purissima and the church of San Domenico of Cagliari. As well as a local school of painting, active in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries of Catalan derivation. From the seventeenth century, critical interest tends to rival the popular art, which is expressed in a still lively artisan tradition.

The coast of Sardinia

The magnificent coastal landscape of the region has undergone innumerable pirate incursions and military invasions from the early Middle Ages to the beginning of the nineteenth century. Today, the coastal strips of Gallura and the South Coast, Anglona and Ogliastra, Sulcis and Sinis reflect in the sea of Sardinia. The transparent waters of incredible colors, the rocks eroded by the waves and the mistral, the magic creeks in the heart of the scrubland, make Sardinia one of the most popular tourist destinations.

The culture of the island

So a coastal landscape with real but not exhaustive pictures. The island culture is more internal, ancestrally linked to the silence of the pastures and the harsh solitudes of the highlands. Its essence lies in the megalithic monuments or in the Roman-Pisan churches lost in the area, more than in the Aragonese Gothic and urban.

Sardinia island in the Mediterranean

After Sicily, it is the second largest island in the Mediterranean and the third wide Italian region. The Sardinian relief of isolated massifs, plateaus and hills are divided in two by the plain of Campidani, an extension between the gulfs of Cagliari and Oristano. The maximum altitude of the island reaches 1834 meters at the peak of La Marmora, in the Gennargentu massif, protected by a national park with the Gulf of Orosei.

National parks

The other national parks protect the nature and the landscape of smaller islands as the archipelago of La Maddalena and Asinara. A Region with special status, Sardinia has Cagliari as its capital. The other historic provincial capitals are Nuoro, Oristano, and Sassari. Since 2016, the new administrative subdivision has redrawn the historical boundaries of the provinces of Nuoro, Oristano, and Sassari. It is established also the new province of Southern Sardinia and the metropolitan city of Cagliari.

Sardinia island map