One of Cagliari’s most beautiful green areas stretches across a ridge of the Buoncammino hill: a sort of ‘hanging garden’, with a long, spectacular tree-lined avenue. At the end of the avenue, you will notice the elegant Neoclassical façade of the former royal munitions depot, which has accommodated the Municipal Art Gallery since 1933. The military building was destroyed by an explosion and was rebuilt in 1828 based on a design by military engineer Carlo Boyl. After a century of use as a barracks and a warehouse and after further modernisation works, it became a museum. After crossing the garden, before entering, you can admire the façade of the building, with limestone friezes and a tympanum with three statues carved in Carrara marble above it.
Inside the ‘gallery’ there are two main exhibition areas: the first is the Ingrao collection, donated to the Municipality of Cagliari in 1999, which contains works by the greatest Italian masters of the 20th century, including Umberto Boccioni - with 31 works including paintings and drawings -, Giorgio Morandi and Mino Maccari. About 650 works form a collection of the main artistic trends of the last century and are kept in the rooms called ‘the collector’s rooms’. In the second area, you can admire the most important collection of works by Sardinian artists, especially between the early 20th century and the late 1970s. The artists represented, including the main personalities on the Sardinian artistic scene, went on a search for harmony between the ideas of contemporary art and the island’s cultural context. One room is dedicated to the plaster sculptures of Francesco Ciusa, including the famous ‘madre dell'ucciso’ (mother of the slain). Among the 74 works on show, there are also creations by Pinuccio Sciola, Costantino Nivola and Maria Lai. A collection of Sardinian ethnographic materials from the late 18th century and a large collection of prints are also on display.
The ‘gallery’ also accommodates the library specialised in the history of art and the ‘Reading Garden’, an initiative that allows you to borrow books and newspapers and read them outdoors. Educational courses, activities for children, meetings and cultural reviews are periodically promoted. The rooms are accessible to the blind.
The cultural itinerary can continue to the fortifications of the Castle district, crossing the spectacular Porta di San Pancrazio, to reach the Citadel of Museums, the ancient site of the royal arsenal and today the largest museum centre in Sardinia, which includes the National Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Siamese Art, the Anatomical Wax Museum, the Ethnographic Museum and the National Picture Gallery.