Il Castello

Top choice in Cagliari

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.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Cagliari attractions

1. Palazzo di Città

0.04 MILES

Cagliari's town hall from medieval times to the 19th century, the beautifully restored Palazzo di Città has been converted into a small museum. It…

2. Cattedrale di Santa Maria

0.05 MILES

Cagliari’s graceful 13th-century cathedral stands proudly on Piazza Palazzo. Except for the square-based bell tower, little remains of the original Gothic…

3. Palazzo Viceregio

0.06 MILES

Just steps from the cathedral, this pale lime palazzo was once home to the city's Spanish and Savoy viceroys. Today it serves as the provincial assembly…

4. Museo del Duomo

0.07 MILES

Treasures from the Cattedrale di Santa Maria are displayed at this compact museum just around the corner from the cathedral. One standout is the 15th…

5. Basilica di Santa Croce

0.08 MILES

Originally a synagogue in the city’s Ghetto, this basilica was built in the wake of the Jewish expulsion from Sardinia in 1492. It was subsequently…

6. Torre dell’Elefante

0.09 MILES

One of only two Pisan towers still standing, the Torre dell’Elefante was built in 1307 as a defence against the threatening Aragonese. Named after the…

7. Ghetto degli Ebrei


Cagliari's medieval Ghetto degli Ebrei was situated in the cramped area between Via Santa Croce and Via Stretta. The city's Jewry lived here until they…

8. Giardino Sotto Le Mure

0.12 MILES

A small strip of park in the shadows of the Castello's mighty walls, this 500m-long green space is home to seven works by leading Sardinian sculptor…