Magnificence, shared memory, authenticity and a sense of community: this is the most encompassing effort to safeguard, enhance and promote the cultural heritage of Sardinia. Over the next seven weekends, the 22nd edition of Monumenti Aperti (Open Monuments) – a candidate for the 2018 Europa Nostra award, a European Union award for cultural legacy – will shine a special light on the island’s architectural, historical and natural heritage: some 800 places of extraordinary cultural value that include the museums and archaeological sites, churches and historical buildings, natural monuments and parks of 59 municipalities all over Sardinia, seven of which are new to the movement. Each town will tells its tale through literary itineraries, architecture routes in cities that have been marked by centuries of powerful rulers, and journeys into the dawn of time among the remains of ancient civilizations. As you follow the route, some 18,000 volunteers – many of whom are school children of a variety of ages - will narrate the stories that marked the history and culture of their town.
When planning fascinating experiences to explore the history of Sardinia, the Pisan towers in Cagliari, like the rediscovery of Tuvixeddu hill and so many other symbolic works of architecture, should not be missed. The latest point of interest in the capital of Sardinia is the Ederle army barracks and the military command. In Sassari the stars are the lovely piazzas and historical palazzos, and such cultural icons as the G.A. Sanna Museum. For a lovely romantic stroll you mustn’t miss the beauty of the bastions in Alghero. The places to see in the island’s Catalan centre are the Palmavera and Sant’Imbenia nuraghes, the Porto Conte Regional Park and the Anghelu Ruju necropolis. Historic residences, landmark churches, ancient nuraghes, fascinating museums and ages-old traditions are on view between the provinces of Sassari and Logudoro in such towns as Cossoine, Osilo, Ploaghe, Thiesi, Torralba and Usini, which also offers the non-material heritage of song and dance. And there is no lack of medieval fortress either: the Serravalle Castle in Bosa, the Sanluri Castle, and the castle of Villasor, as well as such aristocratic residences as palazzo Boyl in Milis. Between Barigadu, Montiferru and Upper Campidano you will explore nature and culture at a few places that just joined the Open Monuments events: Bauladu, Tramatza and Seneghe, towns where olive oil is king.
A mysterious atmosphere envelopes the mining complexes of Arbus and Guspini, including the ghost town of Ingurtosu and the Montevacchio mine, Malfidano at Buggerru (once a mine) and the mining town of Nebida (Iglesias). Other natural or cultural places to see in the Sulcis region are Santadi, Villamassargia and Sant’Anna Arresi, which takes its name from two churches dedicated to the saint and from the Arresi nuraghe, the town’s original nucleus. In the middle and lower Campidano area the things to see during Monumenti Aperti weekends are many: nature, churches and the archaeological remains of Gonnosfanadiga, Nuraminis, Samatzai, Serramanna, Uras, Villamar and Pabillonis, the town where the renowned is pingiadas (cooking pans) are made. That same area is also blessed with the murals of San Gavino. The Marmilla, land of the Giara, of nuraghes and Giant tombs, is best represented by Lunamatrona. Further south in the Campidano area you’ll enjoy the magnificent historic buildings and the medieval sanctuaries of Sestu (San Salvatore), of Selargius (San Giuliano and San Lussorio), Settimo San Pietro and Monserrato (Sant’Ambrogio), a town with a great winemaking tradition, the Roman remains of Ussana, the prehistoric legacy of Quartucciu and the museum-town of San Sperate. In Quartu sant’Elena you can enjoy seeing the places where ancient commercial activity took place and XX century museum-homes that serve as a memory of what daily life used to be like.
Aside from those already mentioned, there are many other buildings and landmarks open to the public for the occasion: the Romanesque church of San Nicola di Trullas in Semestene, the smallest town to take part in the weekend events, the cathedral of San Pietro Apostolo in Terralba, the duomo of Santa Maria at Oristano, the former cathedral of San Pantaleo in Dolianova, Santa Maria di Sibiola at Serdiana, Sant’Antioco di Bisarcio in Ozieri, the basilica of Sant’Antioco in the Sulcian town, the church of Santa Maria in Uta and the basilica of San Simplicio in Olbia. The two latter sites also feature, respectively, the s’Inzidu Archeologicu virtual museum, and the Olbia archaeology museum. The amount of important archaeological remains on the island is almost infinite: from the vestiges of the Phoenician and Punic era on the hills of Olladiri in Monastir, to the temple well of sant’Anastasia and the Roman baths in Sardara, from the ruins of Gurulis Vetus at Padria to the nuraghes of Villanovafranca and Villanovaforru. Monumenti Aperti is also about the environment: the amazing Red Rocks of Arbatax at Tortolì and of s’Archittu of Santa Caterina di Pittinurri (Cuglieri), the sa Spendula waterfall at Villacidro, the many protected areas like the lovely Asinara Park (Porto Torres) and the gorgeous Capo Carbonara -Villasimius marine area.