The castle of Acquafredda was built in the Middle Ages as a stronghold to control the valley of the Cixerri and the town of Villa di Chiesa, now Iglesias. It once belonged to Ugolino Della Gherardesca count of Donoratico, the pisan count also mentioned in the works of Dante Alighieri.
The prehistorical altar of Monte d'Accoddi was built in two phases at the time of the Culture of Ozieri (4000-3200 BC) and the culture of Filigosa and Abealzu (3200-2700 BC). It has the aspect of a piramid or ziqqurath with an access ramp. Around it there is a large village (not excavated). Interesting features are the menhir, the large stone table and the perfectly oval stone.
San Salvatore is a small hamlet around a church. Each year around august an event takes place where the statue of the saint is brought from San Salvatore to Cabras, the Corsa degli Scalzi. The small church itself is built on top of a prehistoric underground sanctuary, a hypogeum. The sanctuary can be visited and on the walls there are several drawings and paintings left behind in the course of the centuries. Next to the village are the remains of roman baths called Domu 'e Cubas
Serra Orrios is a Bronze age settlement with a large number of huts, simple and complex, and two particular structures identified as megaron temples or temples in antis with vestibule. The site was excavated in the thirties of the previous century.
The Antiquarium Arborense is the archaeological and historical museum of Oristano. The museum is housed in the Palazzo Parpaglia in the hart of the town. The collection, obtained in the thirties of the previous century from private collections, contains archaeological finds from Tharros and other sites in the province of Oristano, and paintings from the sixteenth and seventeenth century.
This archaeological museum is perhaps with that of Cagliari the most important in Sardinia. Here every important find in northern Sardinia has been gathered, from the earliest prehistory to the middle ages it shows the changes through time in pottery, metal and stone objects that have accompanied the Sardinians in their past.
This fine geological museum of the area of the Monte Arci is located at Masullas in an ex-monastery of the order of friars capuchins and displays the rich mineral resources of this old volcano
The archaeological museum of Sant'Antioco has a vast collection of artefacts that have been found during the many excavations at the ancient phoenician-punic-roman site of Sulki, presentday Sant'Antioco, and the island. The phoenician and punic collection is of a rare beauty, including fine earthenware and jewellery. Part of the museum is also the Phoenician-punic open air sanctuary, the tophet.
The archaeological museum of Cabras is named after Giovanni Marongiu. In the museum are on display the archaeologcal finds of Cuccuru Is Arrius, a prehistorical settlement, of Tharros, the phoenician-punic and roman town, and of the shipwreck found near the island of Mal di Ventre. Recently the museum has become the home of some of the giant statues of Mont'e Prama, with the most recent statues found during the excavations in 2015 on the site.
The archaeological museum of Pula, named after the archaeologist Giovanni Patroni, is situated in the town centre and has a collection of artefacts from the archaeological site of Nora.
The Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Cagliari can be considered the most important archaeological museum of Sardinia. There is a vast collection of prehistoric and historic artefacts, in particular the many and diverse nuragic bronze statuettes. One of the highlights is a number of the lifesize statues in stone of nuragic warriors from the site of Mont'e Prama. Next to that there is a fine collection of phoenician and punic jewellery and pottery. The museum provides a good insight in all the periods of Sardinian prehistory up to the Middle Ages.
The Obsidian Museum is dedicated entirely to the volcanic glass and the use mankind has made of it for cutting tools, arrowheads and scrapers. The Monte Arci is one of the main sources for obsidian and was widely traded in the western Mediterranean in prehistoric times.
The prehistoric necropolis of Anghelu Ruju is one of the largest in northern Sardinia. There are about 38 prehistoric graves similar to Domus de Janas, artifical rock cut chambers. The necropolis is situated near the airport of Alghero in the middle of the historic and fertile region of the Nurra.
The necropolis of Montessu lies on a hill north of Villaperuccio. The tombs are of the type Domus de Janas, prehistoric chambers cut in the rock. All main types of grave chambers can be found there, in use since 3000 BC up to the bronze age, which makes this necropolis unique in its kind. In more recent times the largest graves have also been used as shelters by shepherds and their families.
The necropolis of Sant'Andrea Priu consists of a number of Domus de Janas, houses of the fairies. These are articifial caves for burials ranging from small spaces to manhigh complex tombs with a central room and lateral rooms. The most important tomb that can be visited contained also graves of roman times and roman frescoes and it was transformed in an early christian church in the byzantine period with byzantine style frescoes. Unfortunately it is not permitted to take pictures in this magnificent tombe.
Nuraghe Genna Maria is a fine example of a complex nuraghe built in marlstone. The nuraghe is located on a hilltop near Villanovaforru with a splendid view towards the Bay of Oristano and the mountains of the Iglesiente. Around the nuraghe are the remains of a settlement to be seen. In the punic period the nuraghe was used as a sanctuary, many votive statuettes of Kore, the greek divinity of agriculture, have been found during excavations. The archaeological site is also part of the archaeological museum of Villanovaforru.
Nuraghe Losa is an impressive complex nuraghe on the highland plateau of Abbasanta. The structure consists of a central tower and bastions with three additional towers forming a rounded triangle. The nuraghe is situated in a strategic position along the ancient road from the Bay of Oristano to the highlands behind Macomer. Around the nuraghe there are remains of the village that was protected by a wall with gates, and that was inhabited well into the Middle Ages. There is also a small museum that tells the history of the monument with a small exhibition of archaeologcal
Nuraghe Palmavera is a complex nuraghe surrounded by a nuragic village. It is located at the foot of the mountain, near the sea along the road from Alghero to Porto Conte. It is one of the famous nuraghi of Sardinia where extensive archaeological research has been performed.
Nuraghe Santu Antine can be considered one of the most fascinating bronze age constructions of Nuragic Sardinia. The nuraghe consists of one central tower and three additional towers, long corridors and a central courtyard with a waterwell. Around the nuraghe the remains of a nuragic village can be seen, occupied well into the roman period.
The archaeological site of Su Nuraxi at Barumini is one of the most famous bronze age costructions of Sardinia largely thanks to the work of the archaeologist Lilliu. The nuraghe is on the list of world heritage of the UNESCO as a representative of all the nuraghi of the island. The archaeological site consists of the nuraghe itself, a complex building with a main tower and bastions with four additional towers that enclose a courtyard with a waterwell, and the settlement with simple and complex huts that was inhabited from the bronze age until well into the roman period.
In the middle of the town of Sardara lies the archaeological site of Sant'Anastasia, named after the small church that is part of the site. There is a Bronze Age water sanctuary, a waterwell with a tholos cupola and staircase. Part of the site are also several huts, one a hut of the assemblies, other huts are present under the modern houses around the site. There is also a small archaeological museum at Sardara with a permanent exhibition of the objects found here.
Near Paulilatino along the ss131 lies the archaeological site of Santa Cristina. The site consists of a nuragic sanctuary near a christian church dedicated to Santa Cristina and a nuraghe with settlement. Central to the nuragic sanctuary is the waterwell with a staircase that has been built with smooth walls and mathematical precision unseen elsewhere. The continuity of the sacred character of the place is clear from the presence of the small church and houses, only in use a few days during religious festivities. Nearby there are the remains of the nuragic settlement with a nuraghe and several huts built by shepherds in more recent times.
The site of Santa Vittoria di Serri lies on the edge of one of the highland plateaus, called giara. It is a rich archaeological site with many remains of huts, a sanctuary with a waterwell and a large structure where religious festivities were held. In written sources it is mentioned that the romans surprised the Sards during the festivities and killed many of them burning down their sanctuary. On the edge of the plateau stands the small church of Santa Vittoria.
Monte Sirai is a punic-roman settlement on the top of the mount Sirai near Carbonia. The site is strategically situated in the middle of the mining districts of the Sulcis and the Iglesiente. The archaeological site consists of the remains of the town and acropolis, a punic and a phoenician necropolis and a tophet. The view from the mountain top is breathtaking.
Nora is the site of a punic-roman town, situated on a peninsula in the south of Sardinia, near Pula. Interesting are the many mosaic floors of the roman period and the small theatre. There are also remains of immens roman baths, a number of tempels and the typical north-african style quarters of the town. Nora is the site where the oldest known inscription of Sardinia was found, with phoenician characters.
In antiquity Sant'Antioco was known under the name of Sulky, originally a phoenician tradepost founded in the eighth century BC near a Bronze Age complex nuraghe. In the town the remains are visible of the punic necropolis, later turned into early christian catacombs under the church of Sant'Antioco. There is an important archaeological museum next to the phoenician-punic open air sanctuary called tophet. In the Middle Ages the name of the town was changed to Sant'Antioco, the early christian martyr. Each year festivities and a procession are held in honour of the saint.
Not far from Fluminimaggiore, in the middle of a green valley in the mountains, lies the temple of Antas. Initially erected in the punic period it was restructured in roman times. The temple is located in the mining area and would have been dedicated to Sardus Pater, according to mythology assimilated with Hercules. The temple has been partly restored and there are nuragic graves and a settlement nearby.
Tharros is the site of a punic-roman town founded in the eighth century BC by the Phoenicians near a Bronze Age settlement and nuraghe. The remains of the town are situated on a peninsula on the north side of the Bay of Oristano. The remains of the town include foundations of temples, roman baths, a roman Castellum Acquae, a phoenician-punic tophet and a artisan quarter. The town became the capital of the Judicate of Arborea until around 1070 AD it was abandoned in favour of Oristano under the pressure of the arab incursions.
Places and towns
Oristano is the capital of the province of Oristano since 1974. In medieval times it played an important role in the history of the Judicates as the capital of the Judicate of Arborea. It has a picturesque historical center and during Carnival the characteristic event called the Sartiglia takes place in the streets of the town.
The archaeological site of Forum Traiani at Fordongianus is situated on the border of the river Tirso. Here a warm water source springs from the volcanic rock and this has been used by the romans to build their baths. Originally the name of the town was Acquae Hypsitanae until under emperor Trajan it was promoted to Forum. The town became an important military center in the late-roman and byzantine period to keep control of inland Sardinia. Just outside Fordongianus as it came to be called in modern times, lies the site of the church of one of the early christian martyrs San Lussorio.