Sardinia’s second city, SASSARI combines an insular, traditional feel, as embodied in its well-preserved old quarter, with a forward-looking, confident air that is most evident in its modern centre. Here, leading off from the grandiose Piazza Italia, the café-lined Via Roma holds the city’s principal sight, the Museo Sanna, displaying some of the island’s most important archeological finds.
While Cagliari was Pisa’s base of operations in Sardinia during the Middle Ages, Sassari was the Genoan capital, ruled by the Doria family, whose power reached throughout the Mediterranean. Under the Aragonese it became an important centre of Spanish hegemony, and the Spanish stamp is still strong, not least in its churches. In the sixteenth century the Jesuits founded Sardinia’s first university here, which continues to excel in the spheres of law, medicine and politics.