Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Sardinia
a - Z of Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

On this page you will find all the art, archaeology and history sites and museums in Sardinia in our database, listed A to Z. Although we have a number of thematic guides to the various sites and museums around Sardinia, we have created this list for people to explore a complete list of places to visit when creating a personal itinerary.  Scroll through the list and add whatever sites and museum interest you to your itinerary and travel lists. You can easily edit your itinerary when you see your choices mapped. 

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Archaeology & History Sites & Museums in Sardinia

Alghero Medieval Walls

One of the most striking and picturesque features in Alghero are the medieval walls surrounding the town’s historical centre. Canon and catapults, towers and forts along the way are a fascinating reminder of Alghero’s rich history. Like many places, these walls were built and then repaired and developed over the centuries. Alghero was a fortified Genoese port town as early as the 11th century. In the mid 1300s the Catalans repaired the walls, but much of what we see today was built in the 16th century by the Aragonese.

Antas Archaeological Area

In a relatively secluded valley in south western Sardinia is the Antas Archaeological Area. The central feature of this park is one of Sardinia’s most iconic archaeological site, the Temple of Antas. Although a recent reconstruction of a Roman temple, the columns feature prominently in campaigns promoting the island and its archaeological heritage. There are other remains too, a Nuargic necropolis and village, a Punic temple, and a Roman road, necropolis and quarry. And all set in one of the most idyllic settings on the island, natural oak forests.

Antas Roman Quarry

The quarry represents a rather rare case in the ancient world, since it is in direct contact with the site where the stone was quarried. Approximately 800 m away, in a path not too far from the sanctuary, but still challenging due to the uneven terrain, there are three quarry areas set within a grove. Looking around, one can still clearly see the cutting lines that were followed during the extraction of the limestone. The beginning of the quarrying activity could refer either to the first Roman phase of the sanctuary in the 1st century BC, or to its reconstruction in the 3rd century AD.

Antiquarium Arborense, Oristano

Founded in 1938 but based in the Palazzo Parpaglia since 28 November 1992, the museum houses some of the most significant antiquarian collections on the island, with artefacts mainly from Tharros. The museum tour is structured on two different floors: the ground floor hosts an engaging exhibition on forgeries derived from Nuragic bronze statues and tells the human history of the Oristano territory, from the Neolithic to the Roman and early medieval periods; the first floor houses the other rooms, one dedicated to archaeologists and Efisio Pischedda, former owner of the museum’s most important private collection, one to retables, with important paintings dating from the 13th to the 16th century, and a tactile room for blind people.

Antiquarium Turritano, Porto Torres

The museum is adjacent to the archaeological park of the ancient Roman colony of Turris Libisonis. It was built between 1971 and 1973 to house the many artefacts from the archaeological site but  only opened to the public in 1984. Numerous artefacts testify to the vibrancy of the city and its port activity are on display: ceramics and everyday utensils, votive and cultic furnishings, statues of the city’s magistrates who lived between the 1st and 3rd century AD, as well as inscriptions, cinerary urns and remarkable mosaics and frescoed plasters. Also visible in the museum are the partial remains of a thermal bath, brought to light during the building extension works.

Archaeological and Palaeobotanical Museum of Perfugas

The museum, founded in 1988, exhibits the most significant archaeological and palaeobotanical finds from Anglona, a historical region in Northern Sardinia that overlooks the Gulf of Asinara. Within five sections, dedicated respectively to palaeobotany, the Palaeolithic, Neolithic and Eneolithic, the Nuragic period, and the Classical and Medieval periods, the environmental and human history of the territory is exhibited. Starting from the plant fossils returned from the petrified forests, you can see finds of the first human habitation dating back to the Lower Palaeolithic, admire the magnificent statuette of a Mother Goddess with a child from the Middle Neolithic, and precious artefacts from the Nuragic and Roman periods.

Archaeological Area of Cornus Columbaris

The archaeological site refers to the northern sector of the suburb of Cornus, founded around the 6th century BC by the Carthaginians. The area began to be used for burial in the first half of the 4th century AD, followed by the construction of a sizeable episcopal complex, perhaps the Diocese of Senafer. The remains to be explored are splendid, as traces of the ancient buildings are still well preserved: moving around inside, you can clearly distinguish the walls and aisles, the apses, the magnificent cruciform baptistery in which baptism by ablution was once practised, and the sarcophagi of the ancient Christian burials dotting the vicinity. Although the site is not maintained in good condition, it represents a small gem hidden behind the tall grass.

Archaeological Museum Ferruccio Barreca

The museum has been open to the public since 9 January 2006, and houses numerous artefacts related to the ancient city of Sulky, which lies beneath modern Sant’Antioco. The centre was founded by the Phoenicians towards the end of the 9th century BC and was one of the most important trading ports in Sardinia throughout antiquity. The museum tour is narrated in three rooms, which respectively display the finds of the settlement, the necropolis, and the tophet, i.e. the three main nuclei of the urban settlement. Phoenician, Punic and Roman artefacts are displayed in the showcases, which attempt to narrate the different aspects of society, related to daily life, religious, funerary and sacred contexts.

Archaeological Museum of Olbia

The archaeological museum in Olbia celebrates hundreds of years of history in Sardinia’s north-east area. Located in the city’s harbour, this modern building was designed with portholes and walkways to reflect Olbia’s history as an important port. The permanent display take an extensive view of the various periods of Olbia’s past, from the Phoenicians, Greeks, to the Punic and Roman eras. Pride of place in the museum are the conserved remains of Roman boats that had sunk in the ancient harbour and discovered again during the construction of the museum building.

Archaeological Museum, Alghero

Inaugurated on 22 December 2016 inside a historic building dating from the 15th-16th centuries, the museum displays a vast array of objects relating to the history of Alghero and its surroundings. The exhibition plan, which is extremely clear and well marked, is structured around three thematic areas: the sea, ways of living, and the world of the sacred. The finds come from marine, settlement and sacred-funeral contexts, covering an age from the ancient Neolithic to the 17th century AD. Some of the reconstructions of the excavation contexts inside the museum are incredibly engaging, such as that of one of the rooms of the Roman villa of Sant’Imbenia, recomposed inside with the colourful and precious marbles that adorned it.

Archaeological Park of Turris Libisonis

On the right bank of the river Riu Mannu, in an area to the north-west of present-day Porto Torres, lie the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Turris Libisonis, founded in 46 BC by Julius Caesar and for this reason known as Colonia Iulia. The first excavations were carried out in the 1940s by Massimo Pallottino, who identified one of its three bath complexes in which several mosaics, statues and bas-reliefs were recovered. Within the archaeological area are also the remains of wealthy domus, once belonging to prominent members of the city, from which come magnificent mosaics such as that of Orpheus. The archaeological park can only be visited at certain times, and with entry to the Turritano Antiquarium Museum.

Aymerich Castle, Laconi

Set in a public park created in 1830 are the ruins of the medieval Aymerich Castle. Although much of what we see today dates to at least the 13th century, it is thought that there was an earlier settlement probably dating back to the 12th or even the 11th century. The castle was built to defend the borders of the Judicate of Arborea from the Cagliari Judicate. In the 19th century, when the ruling family of the fief of Laconi were living here, the castle was destroyed by fire. Visitors are free to walk among the ruins and see  the vaulted arch entrance that is flanked by a rectangular tower, and the remains of the palace, with its Catalan-Gothic windows.

Basilica of San Simplicio, Olbia

The Church of Saint Simplicio in Olbia is one of Sardinia’s most important religious monuments. And it stands on a small hill that has a long sacred history, with Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and the early Christians. This is also the spot where Simplicio was persecuted for his Christian beliefs and killed on 15 May 304 AD. He is still the patron saint of Olbia. The Romanesque basilica we see today was built in three distinct phases, beginning in the 11th century. Built entirely from granite, it has a striking façade with a triple lancet window and a three aisled nave. The aisles are separated by columns some of which have decorated Romanesque capitals.

Basilica of Sant'Antioco

The church was built between the end of the 5th and the beginning of the 6th century on Byzantine models, and is one of the oldest structures on the island for this type of building. It rises exactly above the Punic catacombs in which the Saint was buried, around the 2nd century AD. The basilica underwent several alterations both in the 12th century with the Victorine monks from Marseilles and in the 18th century, when the late Baroque façade was added. The interior clearly shows Byzantine forms, discernible in the small central dome from which the four barrel-vaulted arms originate. Inside, there are the remains of an ancient stone baptismal font, some sarcophagi, and the entrance to the catacombs area, which can be visited by paying a ticket.

Biru'e Concas Archaeological Park

It houses the highest concentration of menhirs in the Mediterranean area, with around 200 monoliths scattered throughout the park. The menhirs, almost all of simple type without any anthropomorphic character, date back to a period between the 4th and 3rd millennium BC. At the time of its discovery, almost no stones were found in their original position, but most were found split or lying on the ground, perhaps due to the evangelisation work ordered by Pope Gregory the Great, which included the island towards the end of the 6th century AD. The site is free to visit and allows visitors to rediscover the works of the pre-Nuragic and Nuragic civilisation, where traces of an ancient megalithic wall and a nuraghe also remain.

Cagliari

Cagliari, the capital of the Italian island of Sardinia, is a city steeped in history. With roots dating back to the Phoenician and Punic era, this coastal gem boasts a rich tapestry of historical sites, including a well-preserved Roman amphitheatre and the medieval Castello district of typical ancient walls and narrow streets. Beyond its historical charm, Cagliari offers breath-taking views from its panoramic terraces, pristine beaches and a vibrant culinary scene that draws on the island’s many flavours. Whether you travel for history, nature or gastronomy, Cagliari promises a memorable Italian getaway.

Cagliari Cathedral

In 1254 a Romanesque church dedicated to Santa Maria was built within the walls of the Castello. In 1313 it became the Cathedral of Cagliari. Over the centuries since, there have been many interventions and restorations. The most significant of which were in the 17th century when a crypt was cut into the bedrock beneath the presbytery and the church was given a Baroque appearance – including a new façade. The crypt is made up of three interleading chapels, in which were placed the relics of 179 martyrs gathered from around Cagliari. In the 1930 the Baroque façade was demolished in favour of a more Romanesque look.

Campanile

The tower, originally intended as a lighthouse, was constructed by the Doria family when they established a city republic here in the 12th century. It was transformed into a bell tower for the adjacent church in the late 16th century, during the first phase of the church’s reconstruction. The polychrome majolica tiles were added to the dome of the bell tower around 1600, and the clock added sometime thereafter. From the base of the tower you get a wonderful panoramic view of the cathedral and this section of the northern Sardinian coastline.

Casa Aragonese

In the centre of Fordongianus is a splendid example of Catalan Gothic architecture. The Casa Araganose, built between 1500 and 1600, is a typical house found in central Sardinia with architectural style influenced by the Spanish. What distinguishes it are the decorative elements of the doors and windows, made of red trachyte rock, and the front porch, recovered in the 1980-82 restoration. Today, the original building is divided into two units, probably separated at the end of the 19th century. Since 2021, its rooms have housed works made of wire mesh by the artist Mauro Podda, depicting various female figures engaged in domestic work to pay homage to the central figure of women.

Cathedral of Saint Mary, Alghero

Also known as the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, construction of the Duomo began after 1530, following the elevation of Alghero to the rank of city and its nomination as the seat of the new diocese. The sacred building, for the most part in Gothic-Catalan style, the best example of which is the octagonal bell tower, was not completed until 1638, undergoing further restoration work that led to the replacement of the old late Renaissance façade with a neoclassical one in 1862. It is among the largest religious buildings on the island, rich in works of art and precious marble furnishings, such as the pulpit and the beautiful polychrome marble high altar, made by Giuseppe Massetti around 1727. It is undoubtedly one of the most characteristic monuments of Alghero, with which the city identifies.

Cathedral of St Anthony Abbot, Castelsardo

Today’s cathedral a total reconstruction of an earlier 13th-century parish church, which was promoted to the seat of the Diocese of Ampurias in 1503 after the revision of the Sardinian diocesan system. Reconstruction occurred between 1597 and 1606, with an extension in 1630. The religious building certainly enjoys a privileged position: arriving from the centre of the medieval village, you can see it silhouetted against the beautiful blue background of sky and sea. The architectural style is part Catalan Gothic part classical Renaissance, with important works of art inside, such as the panel of the Madonna and Child seated on a throne, painted in the 15th century by a local painter.

Church and Crypt of San Lussorio

This small Romanesque church was built around the 12th century AD, possibly by the monks of St Victor of Marseille. It stands precisely above a Roman cemetery area dating back to the 4th century AD near Forum Traiani, where in 304 AD, the martyrdom of Saint Lussorio is said to have taken place, which initiated the funerary use of the area. The Saint’s remains, already from the 4th century, were to be preserved inside a small hypogeum room, which can still be visited today and is located underneath the church, rearranged and enlarged several times during the Vandal and Byzantine periods. Inside, traces survive of the mosaics and frescoes that once adorned the room and the burial ground where the Saint’s remains rested.

Church of Saint Mary of Grace in Castelsardo

For Castelsardo this is a particularly important church. It was built around the middle of the 12th century. It retained the title of Cathedral of the Diocese of the Anglona territory until 1503 when it was replaced by Sant’Antonio Abate. The church is accessed not from the front of the building but from the side. The interior consists of a single nave, enriched by several Baroque wooden altars and the chapel that houses the Black Christ, a juniper wood crucifix made in the 14th century, so called because of the dark colour it has taken on over time. Today it is home to the fraternity of Santa Croce, and it is from here that Castelsardo’s most iconic festivity, the Lunissanti procession, starts.

Church of San Pietro delle Immagini

The small church, also known as ‘del Crocifisso’ (of the Crucifix) because of the wooden group of the Deposition dating back to the early 13th century, once kept inside and is now housed at the  nearby Church of San Sebastiano in Bulzi, was built in the 12th century in Romanesque style. The most distinctive feature is the alternating bands of black and white stones of the façade. The building has a characteristic relief above the entrance door depicting three individuals, a larger one in the centre and two smaller ones at the sides, praying with their hands pointing upwards. It is in a relatively isolated position in the Anglona countryside, and is easily reached from State Road 134.

Civic Archaeological Museum of Cabras

The Museo Civico “Giovanni Marongiu” – Cabras opened in 1997 exhibiting the local history of the Cabras municipality (including the Sinis Peninsular), from prehistory to medieval times. Artefacts come from Neolithic, Nuragic, Phoenician-Punic, Roman and medieval sites in the area. Two notable displays include the Roman shipwreck of Mal di Ventre, dated to the 1st century BC, and a small collection of the large stone statues, the ‘Sardinian Giants’, recovered by archaeologists at the Nuragic necropolis of Mont’e Prama.