At the end of the 20th century, thanks to the construction of new districts, it underwent considerable expansion and its inhabitants doubled. Today, with over 70 thousand residents, Quartu Sant'Elena is the third largest town on the Island, after Cagliari and Sassari. Once an agricultural centre, today its wine-growing production is still alive and it is renowned for its Malvasia wine. Its jewellery made using gold filigree is also famous, as is its production of breads and homemade pastries: candelaus, pabassinas and piricchitus. Its territory is located between: the Campidano plain, the mountains and the woods of the Oasis of Sette Fratelli and the Molentargius-Saline park, which you can visit on foot or by bike and admire greater flamingo colonies. The Quartu coast starts from the shoreline of Poetto and stretches for tens of kilometres along the eastern part of the Golfo degli Angeli. There is a mixture of sheer cliffs and sandy or pebbly beaches: Capitana, with a tourist port and, behind it, hills covered in poplars and eucalyptus trees, the natural pools of Is Mortorius, Cala Regina with pebbles and a blue sea, the beautiful Is Canaleddus and the spectacular Mari Pintau, where smooth stones are bathed by the 'painted sea' with its dazzling colours. Lastly, there is Geremeas, with its soft, white beaches: Kala 'e Moru, Marongiu and Baccu Mandara.
Quartu emerged from the union of three villages. In order to protect it from the Saracens, the Spanish built five towers along the coast. Among the churches, the basilica of Sant'Elena Imperatrice stands out, inside which there are still beautiful frescoes, a pulpit and a baptismal font dating back to the 18th century and a statue of the saint, which is carried in a procession during the celebration of the patron saint (mid-September). Other ancient buildings are Santa Maria di Cepola, built on Early Christian ruins and extended in the 14th century, and Sant'Agata, dating back to the 12th century and then rebuilt between 1280 and 1300. In the countryside, there is Nostra Signora del Buon Cammino, with columns from the Roman era. Further evidence of the Roman period is a villa in the district of Sant'Andrea, now submerged by the sea. In the territory, there are 38 Nuragic sites: the main one is Nuraghe Diana, with a main tower and two minor ones connected by curtain walls. In May, during a stage of the Monumenti Aperti (Open Monuments) event, you can visit historical buildings like the kilns that, between 1878 and 1985, produced bricks and roof tiles, the slaughterhouse, which was active until 1968, and the former Perra paper mill of 1911, which was the only factory producing paper for packaging. For the event, the ancient Campidano houses, with their frescoed ceilings and tiles with geometric patterns, are also opened up. There are two dwellings used as ethnographic museums: Sa Dom'e Farra (house of flour), in which agricultural tools are kept, and Il Ciclo della Vita (the cycle of life), where eight thousand traditional objects (18th-20th century) are on display. The Sciampitta is the Island's most important folk event and draws large crowds in July.