It was originally a railway station, then a manor house, after which it was abandoned for decades. Today it is a cultural centre. These are the four lives lived by Casa Spadaccino, a historic building a stone’s throw from the sea, at su Loi, a locality in the territory of Capoterra. It was constructed in 1873 by the French mining company of Petin et Gaudet, which held a concession in the inland mountains. It was located at the end of the ‘road of the Genoese’, an ancient coal merchants’ road on which a railway was installed. The building served as the terminus station for convoys loaded with iron extracted from the mine. In the 1930s, it became the heart of a thriving farm, surrounded by vineyards, vegetable gardens and orchards. The area was transformed into a large, colourful garden, where cutting-edge cultivation techniques were applied, so much so that it earned itself the nickname of su spantu, ‘the wonder’, which still identifies a small village not far from su Loi.
The urban development of the Capoterra coast led to the sale of much of the land, resulting in the decline and closure of the company. Casa Spadaccino - which owes its name to its last owner - was abandoned for decades, before being acquired and renovated by the Municipality of Capoterra. Today, the Laguna di Santa Gilla environmental and sustainability education centre is located inside it, along with the Laguna Museum (MuLAG), and it also hosts cultural events and shows. The exhibition is a journey through the natural and ecosystem-based aspects of the lagoon, also known as the Stagno di Cagliari. It also looks back at its relationship that evolved over time with the inhabitants of Capoterra. There are plenty of educational workshops and thematic programmes aimed at raising awareness about the lake environment.
The building consists of a single-storey central body, with an attic and an entrance portico with five arches, to which two other buildings, identical to each other, are attached. A large, sheltered garden offers peacefulness and a space for outdoor activities and events. You can combine a visit to the ‘house’ with an experience in close contact with nature on the banks of the lagoon. The lagoon environment extends for 1300 hectares between Cagliari and the territories of Assemini, Capoterra and Elmas. The wildlife that populates it is varied and fascinating for birdwatching enthusiasts, who can count on dedicated stations: you will see herons, hawks, black-winged stilts and above all pink flamingos, which have nested here for decades. You can walk along the paths around the lagoon, or ride on horseback or on a mountain bike.