Cagliari (the capital city of Sardinia), founded by Phoenicians, is located on the southern end of the island. Often referred to as the "City of the Sun", Cagliari has some interesting medieval architecture and archaeological wonders left behind by different cultures. Phoenicians founded the ancient port town of Cagliari (known as Korales), and many different civilizations have dominated and influenced its culture.
Besides its crystal-clear sea and one of the most beautiful and longest beaches in the Mediterranean, Cagliari offers an unspoiled natural environment consisting of lagoons, bird sanctuaries, and wildlife reserves which are unique in Europe. Il Poetto, Cagliari's most popular stretch of beach spans from the Devil's Saddle to the Margine Rosso (Red Bluff). Behind Il Poetto, the salt water Stagno di Molentargius provides a habitat for flamingos.
Cagliari's historic "old town" (Castello) has an appealing North African character. In the Castello district, the Romans and, later, Pisans, built defenses. You can linger at the various archaeological sites along the route, or visit the Cittadella dei Musei (the former royal arsenal). It houses several museums, including the Museo Nazionale Archaeologico. This museum has an extensive collection of Sardinian artifacts from the Nuraghic era to the Byzantine, ornaments from the Punic Phoenician Age, and impressive Roman glass works and mosaics. Also in the Cittadella dei Musei is the Pinacoteca, an art gallery which displays medieval and Baroque religious paintings.
Or, visit the Duomo (Cattedrale di Santa Maria). Constructed by the Pisans during the second half of the 13th century, this massive Gothic cathedral was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. Cecilia and modeled after the one in Pisa. It contains art by Pisan masters. The pulpits on either side of the main door, carved in 1162, are by Gugliemo, and the four wrestling lions at the base of the altarpiece are by Pisano.
And in the Piazza San Cosimo, the 6th-century church of San Saturnino is a rare monument to Byzantine occupation.
Don't miss the Bastione San Remy on Piazza Costituzione which offers magnificent views over the city and surrounding countryside.
Today, Cagliari maintains the energy of a modern European city, with chic boutiques, and the island's largest university. The Roman Amphitheater continues to dazzle visitors with live theater, musical, ballet and dance shows, martial arts, opera, and concerts in July and August.