Visit Cagliari on Sardinia
At nine o’clock in the evening the inhabitants of Cagliari pour onto the streets, and make their way to their local restaurants. The throng, the voices, the smells and the warm atmosphere of an ordinary weekday evening on the Via Sardegna in the port district of La Marina, makes every visit to Sardinia’s unofficial capital a pleasure.
Måns Hallqvist came here almost 25 years ago. “Most people usually ask me if living in Cagliari is like being on permanent vacation,” says Hallqvist, who after several managerial positions in industry now runs his own small travel agency, Mitt i Medelhavet.
He recommends that visitors check in at the Buena Vista Apartments at Via Lamarmora 118. “It has lovingly restored rooms from the 16th century, with a view, a terrace, and modern standards,” he says.
“You stay up in the hills of the old medieval town of Il Castello.”
Just like Rome, Cagliari is built on seven hills, which of course provide splendid views over the ever-alluring Mediterranean. From many of the hills, you can see the city’s beach, Il Poetto, the Cagliari locals’ mile-long living room that offers excellent swimming. Do what Hallqvist and his local friends do and head to Via Santa Croca 33, where you can sit and enjoy an apéritif at Libarium.
“We usually end up having dinner on Via Sardegna,” he says. “There are lots of places to choose from. We usually go to either Trattoria Lillicu at no. 78 or Ristorante Antica Cagliari at no. 49. They both serve good traditional Cagliari cuisine based on fish and shellfish.”
The locals in Cagliari love to dress up and strut through town in their best clothes. The winding Via Giuseppe Manno offers shopping at its best, with cool linen suits and light dresses for the Italian summer, and a good selection of shoes and leather goods.
Via Sardegna 78
Mercato Civivo di San Benedetto
This gastronomic institution has had a charming, disheveled appearance inside and out ever since it opened in 1938. It sells whatever is fresh from the harbor that day.
Ignore the dismal location and come here early in the morning when it is literally wriggling with eels and full of barrels of fresh mussels. Covering 8,000 square meters over two floors, this is Italy’s largest food market under one roof, with an entire floor devoted to fish and shellfish.
Via Francesco Cocco Ortu, 50
Dressed in his finest 70s suit and a little summer hat, Claudio Dessi and his colorful three-wheeled Ape van can be seen all over Cagliari, even in the narrow alleyways that tour buses can’t go down. A wonderful and very entertaining way of getting to know the city.
By Lars Collin
Published: June 15, 2016