Let’s go together through one of the many archaeological itineraries in Sardinia: this one aims to discover the fascinating South West of the island. Our journey focuses on an area of Sardinia called Sulcis, a destination still unknown to most holiday makers but surely charming, unspoiled and full of surprises. This area is also part of the geo-mining historical and environmental park of Sardinia which still preserves evident signs of a flourishing mining activity started during the neolithic age and ended in the mid 1960es.
Undoubtedly, the Sulcis Iglesiente region was inhabited since remote times. Even today are still visible its ancient charm and the strong Mediterranean character, especially around its spectacular coastline.This region is the starting point for discovering many archaeological sites, crossing the Southern West coast of the island.
The archaeological sites considered here are mostly found in coastal and seaside resorts. This makes the area particularly interesting considering the combination of beautiful beaches and mysterious cultural treasures.
This is certainly a journey to be enjoyed in a few trips. Visitors travel here at any time of the year, considering the mild temperatures and the lovely landscapes showing the contrast between the green of oak forests in the mountains and the intense blue of the sea.
Built on a wide area of about 6 hectares, it is considered one of the biggest Sardinian sites of the bronze age (1800-900 BC). The main tower of the settlement, currently visible in some parts, was built over a pre-existing nuraghe which is still under investigation by the archeologists. The remains of about 200 huts are still visible around the complex structure of this nuraghe. The excavation works have provided many findings that give a glimpse of the busy life of the local residents.
Moving South towards Carbonia, along the national road (strada statale) 126, we highly recommend a visit to the archeological museum of Villa Sulcis which displays a reconstruction of the Sulcis territory and its history. Very close to it is the interesting Museum of Paleontology and Speleology in Carbonia. This museum allows visitors to embark on a journey through geologic eras, discovering the birth and evolution of life on Earth, and particularly in Sardinia.
Another important landmark North West of Carbonia is the Phoenician-Carthaginian settlement of Monte Sirai (750-520 B.C.). In this area, built on a preexisting Nuragic settlement, are evident the remains of a fortified Punic village, built before the arrival of the Carthaginians first and Romans after. Monte Sirai can be considered an open-air historical laboratory where visitors can see the remains of different cultures that left a mark in Sardinia.Continuing in the South West of the island we encounter the lovely Sant’Antioco (the 4th Italian island in size) connected to the rest of Sardinia by an artificial isthmus. This is another area very rich of history and remains from the past: the ancient Sulci (the Phoenician name of the current Sant’Antioco town) still preserves remains such as Catacombs, a necropolis, Giant’s Tombs, a Tophet (a sanctuary) and many other symbols and elements of Phoenician and Carthaginian presence started 800 B.C. approximately. The nearby Museo Archeologico Ferruccio Barreca displays a large variety of objects found in this area.
Our journey in the South West continues from Sant’Antioco to Santadi where we can take a quick look at the Archeological Museum located in the town centre since 2001. The Museum hosts numerous archaeological findings from Santadi and the surrounding Basso Sulcis area.
Moving slightly towards North we encounter the village of Villaperuccio and its Necropolis of Montessu which has the highest concentration of Domus de Janas (also called “House of the Fairies” or “Witches”) of the South Sardinia. These are pre-Nuragic chamber tombs used during the Neolithic period (3400-2700 B.C.). The site hosts about 40 Domus de Janas still well preserved.
The ruins of Nora
Following the lovely panoramic road between Teulada and Pula we can visit the interesting Archeological Museum of “Giovanni Patroni” in Pula. This museum preserves all the remains found in the Carthaginian-Roman archeological site of Nora.
Nora is probably the oldest city in Sardinia. To confirm this thesis is the “Nora Stone” or “Nora Inscription” considered the oldest Phoenician inscription found in Sardinia. It portrays the name of Sardinia in a Phoenician alphabet. This precious relic is now preserved in the archaeological museum of Cagliari.
The above mentioned archaeological itinerary can be useful as a practical guide to visit many fascinating places and landmarks. Everyone should visit the unspoiled and beautiful South West Sardinia and the Sulcis region for a holiday that combines scenic landscapes, mysterious archaeological sites and pristine beaches. Let’s remember also that food and wine are great here and the area is also very family friendly!
Enjoy the South West Sardinia and its wonderful archeological sites!