History and culture
A thousand-year-old land among the first to emerge in the Mediterranean, the South West coast tells the life and history of many Mediterranean populations. Since the Bronze Age and later by the Nuragic people, the territory was inhabited; fertile and strategic land for the Phoenicians and Carthaginians as well as for the Romans. Since ancient civilizations the South West has been a land of conquest for its mines, which have been exploited almost up to the present day, leaving us today with many unique testimonies in Italy that can be visited and enjoyed in breathtaking contexts and views.
Here’s what awaits you if you decide to visit the South West.
Museums and archaeological sites
Santadi Museum System: Civic Archaeological Museum, the Archaeological Area of Pani Loriga and the “Sa Domu Antiga” Ethnographic Museum. A path that tells the life of the Sulcitan people from the Bronze Age to the present day. The museum is dedicated to the archaeological finds of the municipal area of Santadi and of the lower Sulcis area. The finds, the result of systematic excavations and surface research, testify to the events of the territory from the ancient Neolithic to the Roman age. The area of Pani Loriga is a vast hill covered with centuries-old olive trees that tells five thousand years of Sardinian history, from the necropolis to “domus de janas”, to the Diana Nuraghe and over 150 Phoenician burials; also the important Punic phase, with the necropolis and the urban architecture, where the exceptional wall structures of a city that dominated the hinterland and the sea have been preserved. The “Sa Domu Antiga” museum is housed in a building in the center of the town, built at the beginning of the twentieth century and representative of the typical peasant dwellings of Sulcis. In the rooms the different environments have been recreated: the bedroom, the dining room, the kitchen and the anteroom with the furnishings and utensils essential for domestic activities.
Ferruccio Barrreca Archaeological Museum in Sant’Antioco: preserves and exhibits the archeology present on the island. The collection refers to the important urban settlement built on the eastern shores of the island at the beginning of the 8th century. BC and known by the name of Sulky. Also not to be missed is the guided tour of the archaeological area of the Phoenician Topet and the Punic hypogeum.
Carloforte Museums: Civic Museum “Casa del Duca” and Multimedia Museum “Torre di San Vittorio”. The civic museum tells the story of the Carlofort people while the multimedia museum exhibits in an interactive way the life of the island of San Pietro, from the land that emerged to the present day.
Calasetta Contemporary Art Museum: concentrate of culture and contemporary art. The exhibition focuses on the contemporary artistic vision of the 60s and 70s developed in Europe.
Nuraghe Seruci in Gonnesa: one of the best preserved nuraghi in Sardinia and one of the most impressive. The site represents the symbol of the nuragic culture, its history and its maximum expression of civilization. In addition to the nuraghe you can admire the remains of a nuragic village and you can imagine the life of the ancient Sardinians, a millenary culture among the most important in Europe.
Temple of Antas in Fluminimaggiore: nestled in the heart of the Valle di Antas, it is the only temple in Sardinia from the Roman era. The valley has lived through all the most important archaeological eras in Sardinia where the overlapping Nuragic settlement and two sanctuaries insist, first dedicated to the Punic god, warrior and hunter, Sid Addir and subsequently to the Sardinian equivalent Sardus Pater Babai, in fact, in front of the steps of the Roman temple, there are the remains of the Punic one. At the foot of the Temple the well tombs of less than one meter in diameter were found, belonging to an extensive necropolis dating back to the early Iron Age. The valley represents an oasis of peace and tranquility where you can spend a day immersed in history and nature
Old water mill (Ethnographic Museum) in Fluminimaggiore: a journey back in time, between curiosities and stories, between the ancient crafts and the daily life of Fluminimaggiore. The old mill has kept its original features and is divided into 11 exhibition spaces where you can relive the life of our grandparents and great grandparents.
Acquafredda Castle in Siliqua: it is an important testimony of a fortified structure of the Middle Ages and rises on a hill of volcanic origin, developing to a height of 256 meters above sea level. It was established as a Natural Monument and it is believed that the castle already existed since 1215, but it is widely believed that its construction is attributed to the famous Pisan nobleman Ugolino Della Gherardesca. In addition to the evocative history of the castle, the visit offers the opportunity to see a large part of Southern Sardinia: from the city of Cagliari to the entire South Western Sardinian territory.
Mines and tunnels
Rosas mine in Narcao : it was a deposit of lead and silver galena the mine now houses a geo-mineralogical and industrial archeology museum and a suggestive underground path with the “Santa Barbara” tunnel. On the site there is also a widespread hotel, built in the old workers’ houses and a pizza restaurant.
Coal Museum and Large Serbariu Mine in Carbonia. The industrial archaeological area represents a cross-section of the mining life of the founding city of Carbonia, active from 1937 to 1964 and characterized the economy of Sulcis, representing between the 30s and 50s one of the most important energy resources in Italy. . The Coal Museum includes the rooms of the lamphouse, the underground gallery and the winch room. Particularly suggestive is the visit to the underground gallery where the evolution of the coal extraction techniques used during the mine activity is shown.
Porto Flavia Gallery in Iglesias: one of the most representative places of the mining culture of the South West, the tunnel is a 600-meter long history path where about halfway it emerges overhanging the sea offering a breathtaking view of the suggestive Pan di Zucchero stack.
Galleria Henry in Buggerru, a spectacular journey by train between tunnels and open galleries overlooking the sea. The route winds on the outward journey aboard a small train along the route of the old railway while on the way back along the old ‘pedestrian’ tunnel. An evocative route where some sections are in the dark, occasionally broken by the light coming from huge windows carved into the mountain wall and overlooking the sea. The most spectacular glimpse is at the end of the route: a breathtaking view of the coast 50 meters above its sea level.
Other sites not to be missed:
Caves of Is Zuddas in Santadi: constitute a splendid underground scenery created by the incessant action of water. The cave is made up of dolomitic rocks dating back to about 530 million years and in the tourist route, about 500 meters, you can admire wonderful and sometimes impressive concretions: from stalactites to stalagmites, ale aragonites (acicular and eccentric aragonites – whose very high concentration in a single room makes the Is Zuddas caves unique in the world.
Grotto of San Giovanni in Domusnovas: unique in Italy as it is a fully accessible cave, it is also one of the longest natural caves in Europe with its 850 meters. Imposing and majestic, the cave will appear in front of you after a journey through nature immersed in the holm oaks of the Marganai forest. The cavern, entirely crossed by the Rio San Giovanni, opens at the foot of Mount Acqua, which dominates it to the east, while to the west it is dominated by Punta San Michele. The path inside begins and ends with two monumental natural entrances: to the south towards the town, to the north it overlooks the Oridda valley, lush with holm oaks and oaks. The spectacular rock faces of both accesses are also the destination of numerous climbers from all over Europe, who use them as a climbing gym.
Su Mannau Caves in Fluminimaggiore: a path of 500 meters deep into the earth, in one of the most beautiful caves in Italy according to the Touring club The cave, among red shades of the rock, blue lakes, very white stalactites and stalagmites and the transparency of the crystals is divided into two environments that can be visited: archaeological and speleological. The archaeological room is a hypogeum since the pre-Nuragic era where the remains of oil lamps (used for the cult of water) were found, while in the speleological part you would go into the deepest subsoil in an hour-long excursion walkways suspended over stairs, waterfalls and lakes of clear water, underground lookout points and numerous rooms with stalagmites and stalactites.