Within the valley are 38 graves dug into the sandstone, dating back to 3200-2800 BC, in which even the stone picks used to excavate them were found. Discovered in 1903, the hypogea necropolis of Anghelu Ruju is located in the Alghero hinterland, less than ten kilometres from the sea, in a fertile plain crossed by the Rio Filibertu. The sepulchral area occupies two zones, in which tombs are distributed irregularly. There are seven in the first flatter zone and 31 in the second, on a small hill. The sepulture Domus de Janas (meaning “House of the Fairies” or “Witch’s House”) have two access types: a rather narrow ‘well-type’, from which an irregular layout and curvilinear cellae extend, the other a dromos, being with an open-air corridor, sometimes of quite large dimensions, equipped with steps at the entrance. In this case, the hypogea layout is regular and the cellae have a straight profile.
The Domus are decorated with reliefs connected to the cult of the dead: carved into the walls and pillars are protomes and taurine horns, which represent the deity that was to protect eternal sleep. The etching of false doors, rather, symbolises entry into the afterlife. Of note in some parts is the presence of red ochre, a representation of the blood of sacrifice and of regeneration after death. The prevailing ‘Neolithic’ funeral rite was burial, but cases of semi-cremation were also detected. The artefacts found in the area - vases, statuettes of the Mother Goddess and parts of necklaces - permit a dating of the necropolis, used over a long span of time (1500 years), from the Neolithic period through to the Early Bronze Age (1800 BC).
The necropolis of Anghelu Ruju is the greatest prehistoric sepulchral example in the whole of northern Sardinia. Amongst the Neolithic sites not to be missed is another cemetery area, the Domus de Janas of Santu Perdu and, above all, the Grotta Verde (6th millennium BC) where human fossils, pottery and graffiti were found. It is located inside the Porto Conte park, which also includes two Nuragic sites, being the next stop on the archaeological tour - the Palmavera Nuraghe and the Sant’Imbenia complex. A Roman villa can also be admired which, together with the bridge over the Calich lagoon, are a legacy of Roman domination. The cultural visit continues through to the city, walking between fortifications and bastions of the port. The historic centre is the most fascinating part - a labyrinth of alleys with yellow walls, historical houses, including the Casa Manno museum, the Santa Maria cathedral (16th century) and other late-Renaissance churches. Alghero is famous for its ‘red gold’, on display in the Coral museum. It is no coincidence that its coastline, at 90 kilometres in length, is called the Riviera del Corallo, where the tour of the city ends, the perfect place for a swim and relaxation.