Forty kilometres south of Cagliari, 3km outside the small town of PULA, the ancient remains of Nora constitute one of Sardinia’s most important archeological sites. Founded by the Phoenicians and settled later by Carthaginians and Romans, Nora was abandoned around the third century AD, possibly as a result of a natural disaster. Now partly submerged under the sea, the remains on land include houses, Carthaginian warehouses, a temple, baths with some well-preserved mosaics, and a theatre which hosts summer performances. The rest is rubble, though its waterside position gives it plenty of atmosphere. The archeological museum in Pula gives background and displays some of the finds.
Beside the site is a lovely sandy bay lapped by crystal-clear water, but packed with day-trippers in season. Behind the beach stands the rather ordinary looking eleventh-century church of Sant’Efísio, site of the martyrdom of Cagliari’s patron saint and the ultimate destination of the annual four-day procession from Cagliari around May 1.