A balanced overlapping of architectural forms, it is also a wonderful example of how sacred art on the island has adapted to the dictates of the Counter-Reformation. In the parish church of Santa Barbara, which stands in the historical ‘upstream’ part of Villacidro, this piece of the ‘modern’ European matrix is shown in the choice of a single room system, barrel roofs, evolved and proportionate orders and classical decorative themes. Various construction phases can be distinguished, given that the church has been gradually modified, creating stylistic stratifications. The first certainties regarding the site date back to the 13th century (perhaps in Romanesque style). After the destruction of the medieval Villa at the beginning of the 1400s, during the war between the Aragonese and the Giudicato of Arborea, it was restored in the 16th century in the Gothic-Aragonese style with three naves, without a transept, bearing vaulted side chapels and a wooden roof supported by architraves. Of the original 16th-century structure remains the sumptuous capilla mayor (presbytery) with its ribbed stellar vault, the only element not affected by the restructuring commissioned in 1670 to the Genoese Domenico Spotorno, he who was responsible for the Baroque forms on the Duomo di Cagliari (the cathedral) and the Basilica di San Pietro in Ales. The temple, which evolved into late-Mannerist and Baroque forms, continued to be enriched with neoclassical accents in the following centuries. The façade has a flat surface and is crowned with a ‘Carabineer's hat’. In 1992, a bronze portal was added with depictions of the Madonna, saints and a selection of symbolic places in Villacidro, such as the waterfall Sa Spendula. Alongside is a square-barrelled bell tower, built in 1639 and 1659, then ‘revisited’ a century later. It is comprised of three sections surmounted by an octagonal drum and topped with a small majolica-covered cupola. The interior has a longitudinal layout, with a single barrel-vaulted nave and three intercommunicating chapels per side, covered by hemispherical domes. A Baroque high altar in polychrome marble and balustrade are 18th-century masterpieces by Giovanni Battista and Domenico Spazzi. Of great value is the antependium adorned with a fine bas-relief depicting Saints Barbara, Pietro and Sisinnio. Behind the altar is an 18th-century wooden choir. The pulpit, baptismal font and organ also date back to the 18th century. The marble furnishings of the chapels are largely neoclassical. Amongst the paintings, a 17th-century wooden panel stands out.
Santa Barbara rises up in the ancient village of Villacidro, comprised of stone houses. The town extends between lush olive groves and orchards at the foot of the Monte Linas park, sprinkled with waterways and covered with forests, forming the habitats of rare species.