Forget flying: the best way to arrive in Sardinia’s historic capital is by sea, the city rising in a helter-skelter of golden-hued palazzi, domes and facades up to the rocky centrepiece, Il Castello. Although Tunisia is closer than Rome, Cagliari is the most Italian of Sardinia’s cities. Vespas buzz down tree-fringed boulevards and locals hang out at busy cafes tucked under arcades in the seafront Marina district.
Like many Italian cities, Cagliari wears its history on its sleeve and everywhere you go you come across traces of its rich past: ancient Roman ruins, museums filled with prehistoric artefacts, centuries-old churches and elegant palazzi.
Edging east of town brings you to Poetto beach, the hub of summer life with its limpid blue waters and upbeat party scene.