Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Nuragic Archaeology in Sardinian Museums

There are a number of museums in Sardinia with exceptional collections of artefacts recovered from archaeological excavations of Nuragic sites. The most important, certainly the one with the most extensive exhibitions, is the National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari. The civic museum in Cabras, with its collection of Giants, is another must-see museum for anyone wishing to explore Nuragic archaeology. 

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.

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.

National Archaeological Museum, Cagliari

Given the quantity of objects from all over the island, this museum is certainly the most important in Sardinia. Since 1993 it has occupied one of the buildings in a complex known as the ‘Citadel of Museums’, built within the district of Castello, reusing the space of the ancient medieval walls. It houses more than 4,000 objects that tell 7,000 years of history, ranging from Prehistory to the Early Middle Ages, in an itinerary that is divided over 4 floors, each with different themes. In the collections visitors can admire statuettes of the mother goddesses, Nuragic bronze statues, a large part of the Nuragic giant statues of Mont’e Prama, as well as Punic and Phoenician jewellery and Roman statuary.

National Museum Giovanni Antonio Sanna, Sassari

Sassari has one of the most important museums in northern Sardinia, by virtue of its diverse collections and the numerous exhibits that have enriched its showcases over the years. It was initially built in 1878 to house the collection of antiquities that belonged to an industrialist and politician from Sassari from whom the museum takes its name. In 1932 the present site was built, and now housing some of Sardinian history’s most representative artefacts, starting with those from the Palaeolithic period, dating back 500 thousand years. A large room is dedicated to artefacts from the Nuragic period, in which the characteristic figured bronzes are displayed. The last part of the exhibition is dedicated to the Roman and early medieval period, with numerous artefacts from the nearby site of Turris Libisonis.

Nuragica - Museum of Nuragic Civilisation

The Nuragica experience is the perfect introduction to the Nuragic Civilisation of Sardinia. An hour-long guided tour takes visitors through all aspects, from the tombs of the giants, the advent of metal work and the production of the bronze figurines, to the sacred wells and the Giants of Mont’e Prama. A virtual reality experience provides another dimension. This is a great place to start for anyone with the slightest interest in the prehistory of Sardinia.

Villa Sulcis Archaeological Museum

Opened in 2008, the museum aims to tell the story of the Sulcis territory by exhibiting important artefacts, found in various archaeological sites. The tour begins by recounting prehistory and protohistory starting from 6000 BC, analysing the evolution of society from that time onwards. Particular attention is paid to the Nuragic civilisation, and Phoenician artefacts, to which a room is dedicated with material from Sant’Antioco-Sulky and Bitia. Another room is dedicated to the Phoenician-Punic centre of Monte Sirai, in which, in addition to the artefacts, reconstructions of a kitchen, burials, and tophet are proposed. The experience is certainly educational, and allows visitors to fully understand the identity of the area.