Cagliari is roughly pronounced “Kal yuh ah ree.”  The town grew up in a bowl-shaped hill above a harbor in the south of Sardinia.  It has now spread out over the surrounding hills and valleys.

Sardinia saw many peoples arrive by sea, and for several centuries was controlled by the Carthaginians.  They lost control to the Romans at about the time of the second Punic war in the second century B.C.  After the fall of Rome, the city-state Pisa controlled the island, and some Pisans considered it more valuable than their own city.  Then a medieval Pope said the Spanish could have it if they conquered it.

The Spanish delayed long enough for the Pisans to strengthen the castle, but they did finally starve the locals out.  Then the Spanish got into an 18th century fight “with just about everyone” and in 1718 lost the island to the Italian Savoy Dukes.  The Dukes of Savoy, who later became kings of a unified Italy, were exiled after World War II but Sardinia remains Italian although with many foreign influences.

The result of these centuries of conflict is a very interesting city that to this day still has a large area inside castle walls.

Taking a shuttle from the ship to the center of the main seaside street, Alie and I decided just to walk through the streets.  Tours are great, but you might say we feel they are like Interstates.  They get you quickly where you want to go, but the back roads are more interesting.

Her arthritis makes walking difficult, so she consented to let me push her in a chair – we cover much more distance that way.  But Cagliari is steep.  We paused to let me catch my breath in the church of St, Augustine.  Then we paused again in Piazza Yenne for a cup of cappuccino and a croissant.  We noticed many young people around us.  As we climbed past the city hospital and university, I finally gave up and let Alie walk.  I would like to have the energy of those students; but I am afraid it is more likely I will end up in the hospital.  We took our time, and she continued to walk to the highest point near the 1307 Torre dell’Elefante.

Going down is even more difficult on her joints, so she consented to sit again.  For a while, however, it was easy going.  The wind was blowing so strongly through the narrow streets, I hardly had to hold back the chair at all.

Cagliari’s 13th century (rebuilt in the 16th century with a 1929 facade) “Duomo Santa Maria, IMG_3562IMG_3565Queen of Sardinia” is Alie’s favorite cathedral.  It is easy to see why.  It was bright.  It was light.  And while elaborately decorated, it did not overwhelm.  Under the altar is a magnificently decorated crypt with many elaborate reliquaries.  It was a lovely chapel in itself.  The pulpit was carved in the 12th Century for the cathedral at Pisa but was given to Cagliari.

IMG_3572Back to the wheelchair theme, here is a sign on the local bus back to the ship.  I’m sure the Italian just reads “reserved for people with disabilities” but it appears to me as reserved for “mutilated and invalids.”


About ralietravels

Ray and Alie (Ralie) are a retired couple who love to travel. Even during our working years, we squeezed a trip in whenever we could, often when we had to stretch the budget to do so. We have been fortunate to vacation in all 50 states, all the provinces of Canada and one territory and a little more than 50 countries. We like to drive, but we particularly love to travel back roads to find unusual sights, people, and experiences.
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