This hilltop citadel is Cagliari’s most iconic image, its domes, towers and palazzi, once home to the city’s aristocracy, rising above the sturdy ramparts built by the Pisans and Aragonese. Inside the battlements, the old medieval city reveals itself like Pandora’s box. The university, cathedral, museums and Pisan palaces are wedged into a jigsaw of narrow high-walled alleys. Sleepy though it may seem, the area harbours a number of boutiques, bars and cafes popular with visitors, students and hipsters.
The neighbourhood is known to locals as Su Casteddu, a term also used to describe the whole city. The walls are best admired (and photographed) from afar – good spots include the Roman amphitheatre across the valley to the northwest and Bonaria to the southeast.