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Seaside and city sights

Sardinia day four

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View of Castello from Santuario di Nostra Signora di Bonaria

We were up a little later today, but why not? This was after all quite a relaxed trip, with no one to please but ourselves! We'd planned on returning to the Café San Remy for breakfast but when we reached the Piazza Constituzione we found it closed, presumably because it was Sunday. However the Antico Caffè just across the road (and said to be the city's oldest) was open and although busy had a table free on its terrace. We enjoyed good coffee and pastries, although I managed to order one that was more like a doughnut than a pastry!

The Antico Caffè and Bastion San Remy


We spent the first part of the morning exploring the streets east of here, in the area of town called Villanova. Perhaps unsurprisingly it lacks the charming narrow streets of hilly Castello and Stampace, but it isn’t devoid of sights. We found the memorial to the fallen of the first World War, opposite a building housing an arts centre but looking very much as if it once been a meat market.


WWI memorials

Centro Comunale d'Arte e Cultura

A little further on was the church of San Lucifero. Sunday Mass had just finished so we were able to go inside for a look around. I was struck by the modern bronze doors with some dramatic reliefs. Inside it had an elegant appearance, seemingly a bit newer than the build date in the mid 17th century. Lovely old tiles, originally in the crypt, adorn the steps to the altar.

Door detail, San Lucifero

Inside San Lucifero

A short distance further we came to the ruins of another church, San Saturnio, bombed during WW2. We watched a tortoiseshell cat catch and torment a small lizard!

Cat in the ruins of San Saturnio

From here we turned towards the water, following a long straight road beside the cemetery. It could have been dull but was enlivened by sighting some parakeets with white faces, different from our London ones, which I later found out were Monk Parakeets.

Monk Parakeet

There were lots of tributes to a footballer, Gigi Riva, attached to a fence. Riva was a one club player, a hero to the fans of Cagliari, as the fence plainly demonstrates. He also played 42 times for his country, scoring 35 goals. He died in January of this year and is clearly still missed and mourned by fans.

Tributes to Gigi Riva

Nostra Signora di Bonario

At the end of this road we reached the church of Nostra Signora di Bonario, high on a hill overlooking the port. Unfortunately a mass was in progress so we could only look from the back of the church. But we were able to visit the sanctuary to one side of the main basilica and see the statue of the Madonna credited with saving the life of a ship’s crew.

Santuario di Nostra Signora di Bonaria

The story goes that a Brother Carlo predicted the arrival of a mysterious lady from the sea, a prophecy that was fulfilled when a chest appeared on the beach in front of the church in 1370. The chest had been thrown overboard when the captain of the ship caught in a terrible storm decided all the cargo should be jettisoned. No one knew where that chest had come from, it wasn’t part of the cargo, and it was the last item to be thrown. As it landed in the sea the storm abated immediately. The ship tried to resume course but was forced to run aground at the beach here. Meanwhile locals had found the chest also on the beach. They tried, but failed, to open it. Then a boy in the crowd called out to fetch the brothers from the monastery. They succeeded in opening the chest where they found a statue of the Madonna with the Child in her arms and, in her right hand, a lit candle. Brother Carlo's prophecy had come true. The Madonna had indeed come from the sea, and had chosen to make her home here on the hill with the Brothers.

Read the full story here: https://bonaria.eu/simulacro/

Bronze door, and the statue of the Madonna

Door details

Beach time

Descending the hill we found the nearby bus stop to catch a bus to the beach Poetta, and luckily a bus came almost immediately. We had already downloaded the bus app and bought day passes with it, so had only to validate them on board.

Yesterday Dirk had recommended a spot near the beach where we would be able to see the flamingos for which this area is known, so we stayed on the bus until some distance along the beach. When we got off we could indeed see flamingos in the lagoon and while most were some distance away a couple were close enough for photos.

The Saline di Quartu, with a few flamingos

The Saline di Quartu, with Castello beyond



Crossing the road to the beach side we headed for the sand, passing lots of pretty flowers that reminded me of Praia do Fara which we visited a couple of years ago. We took some photos of these and of the views, then started walking back the way we had come on the bus. Being Sunday a lot of locals were out enjoying the sea air, walking dogs, cycling, meeting friends etc. Some were relaxing in the sun on the beach and a few brave souls swimming!


Flowers by the beach

Poetto Beach

We were on the lookout for somewhere to have lunch. The first couple of places we passed came a bit too early in our walk and were followed by a barren patch. But eventually we came to the simple but welcoming Golden Beach, where we secured a table with a view of the sea and enjoyed piadine with gorgonzola, ham and mushrooms, followed by very good coffees.

View from our table


Poetta Beach views near Golden Beach

We took a few photos around here after our meal then carried on a bit further along the beach to a bus stop. We had to wait a little while and the bus when it came wasn’t going all the way to the city centre, so we got off near the end of the beach for another look around. But there was less to see here so we caught the next bus back to the centre.

Near the bus stop


We got off the bus near the impressive Palazzo Civico.



The Palazzo Civico

From here we had a meander around the streets of the Marina district.



In Marina


In the Piazza Yenne, Cagliari

Perhaps inevitably, we ended up in the Piazza Yenne where we had our final Cagliari gelati at our favourite Kremet Gelateria. We also had a cold drink at another favourite haunt, just across the road, before returning to the apartment to relax, sort photos and start to think about sorting our bags for an early departure tomorrow.

We had planned to eat in the Moonshine bar but as it was Sunday they weren’t serving food. So after a drink there we left in search of dinner and found Sa Schironada in the Via Napoli where we shared a cheese platter to start with followed by gnocchi for Chris and the traditional culurgiones (like large gnocchi filled with ricotta for me). In addition to a glass of wine each with dinner we decided to have a grappa after and sampled two different ones between us – excellent value at only €4! I also had a lemon sorbet that was served as a semi liquid with a straw. Then it was back up the steep steps to La Nicchia for the last time!

Posted by ToonSarah 11:02 Archived in Italy Tagged beaches churches birds architecture monument street_art flamingos sardinia cagliari street_photography

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Looks like a very relaxed and enjoyable day.

by irenevt

It was Irene, really lovely :)

by ToonSarah

What a day! I must say that the beach looks very appealing! 😁

by Ils1976

Although it was sunny and quite warm, it wasn't really beach weather. I suspect later in the season it would be very crowded on a Sunday in particular. It's the main leisure spot for locals.

by ToonSarah

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