Viewing CAGLIARI, Sardinia’s capital, from the sea at the start of his Sardinian sojourn in 1921, D.H. Lawrence compared it to Jerusalem: “strange and rather wonderful, not a bit like Italy”, and the city still makes a striking impression today. Crowned by its historic nucleus squeezed within a protective ring of Pisan fortifications, its setting is enhanced by the calm lagoons (stagni) west of the city and along the airport road, a habitat for cranes, cormorants and flamingos. In the centre, the evening promenades along Via Manno are the smartest you’ll see in Sardinia, dropping down to the noisier Piazza Yenne and Largo Carlo Felice, around which most of the shops, restaurants, banks and hotels are located. At the bottom of the town, the porticos of portside Via Roma shelter more shops and bars.
Cagliari’s main attractions are the archeological museum with its captivating collection of nuraghic statuettes, the city walls with their two Pisan towers looking down over the port, and the cathedral – all within easy distance of each other. There is also a sprinkling of Roman remains, including an impressive amphitheatre, while nearby excursions include Nora, the most complete ancient site on Sardinia, and the islands of Sant’Antioco and San Pietro.