Sardinia has a complex history, divided into various periods and marked by original characters. The human presence dating back to the Paleolithic and runs along all the later periods, prehistoric and historic, transforming the landscape of the island. The archeology documents the cultural emergencies Prenuragic to the Byzantine age, while the architecture, art and literature accompanying the historical path judge her age to contemporary.

Roman Period

It is likely that as early as the sixth century. BC the first treaty between Rome and Carthage to Rome sanctioned the opportunity to exercise their trades in Sardinia. In the fourth century. BC we can assume the foundation of the Roman colony of Feronia (Posada) on the east coast of the island. It is the second treaty between Rome and Carthage (348 BC) which prohibits access to the Romans and to found the city in Sardinia. The end of the First Punic War, which ended with the victory of Rome over Carthage, determines the passage of Sardinia under Roman rule. The transition was not covered by the terms of the peace treaty signed in 241 BC, but arose from the decision to Rome to join the call for help of the mercenaries of Carthage stationed in Sardinia, rebelled due to their inability to Carthage to cope with their payment requests. In 227 Rome creates a new province including Corsica, Sardinia and the surrounding islands. It is thus formally sanctioned the effective control of Rome on Sardinia, which will remain until Roman rule in step (which took place between 460 and 467 AD) under the control of the Vandals. The period of Roman domination of Sardinia is a historical phase that will significantly contribute to the definition of the cultural connotations of the Sardinians. Indisputable proof of this fact is offered to us by the linguistic landscape island, still deeply marked by its Latin origins.

Judicial period

Around 500 AC Sardinia was divided into four kingdoms or judged, ruled by a king or judge. The judges were local representatives of the Byzantine emperor who, around 1000, they became self-employed. The result was a partition of the territory in the four kingdoms of Cagliari, Arborea, Torres and Gallura. At the same time we witnessed the reorganisation of the Church. The vast diocese of the Byzantine were fractionated into new ecclesiastical: archdioceses and dioceses governed by archbishops and bishops, which were owned by the parishes. It is in this context that the courts, through donations, favoured the arrival on the island of the Benedictines (from Monte Cassino, St. Victor of Marseilles, Camaldoli, Vallombrosa, Citeaux), which settled their monasteries in Sardinia. We witnessed a renaissance of culture under the protective wing of the Church. The increasingly and stable presence of the Republics of Pisa led to conflicts with local authorities. Their presence interfered often at the political level and came to determine the end of three Judges (Cagliari, Torres and Gallura), which after 1250 fell into the hands of Pisa and Genoa. These historical circumstances contributed to the circulation of new artistic currents in the island, which is grafted in the local substrate and which have left traces in the activity most significant architectural both military and, above all, in the Church.

Aragonese Period

In 1323, the Infante Alfonso of Aragon arrives in Sardinia to realise the act of feudment by Pope Boniface VIII in favour of James II of Aragon, with the creation in 1297 of the “Regnum Sardiniae et Corsicae” and its concession to Aragonese king. At first the city of Villa di Chiesa (Iglesias), then in 1326 the Castle of Cagliari are won at the expense of Pisa. From this point on, will be the Iberian Peninsula to be the main reference point for the island, especially Catalonia, both in terms of political and administration (they are in fact imported in Sardinia the main Catalan institutions). But a clean break with the Italian culture occurs only in Cagliari, while in Arborea judged and in the rest of the island the change is more gradual. In 1479 the King Ferdinand II (1479-1516) promulgated a series of institutional reforms aimed at transforming the Crown of Spain in a large European state. In his plan of cultural homogenisation is also part of the promotion of new factories that had to witness the new national unity. It is configured an artistic taste, said of the Catholic Monarchs, which blend styles Gothic, Mudejar and Renaissance. In Sardinia, however, you do not have immediate feedback of the new political art and culture: the Gothic in its meaning island continues at least until the seventeenth century to characterise the architecture both religious and civil, coexisting, from the end of the sixteenth century, with the new ideology imported Renaissance by the Society of Jesus (the island since 1559) and by the military engineers and in line with the directives art of Philip II (1556-1598). With the heir of Charles V the island celebrates its process of Hispanicisation in the arts, which characterise the local architecture until the end the seventeenth century.

The 1700 and 1800

Between 1714 and 1718 the island first passed under Austrian control, then under the Piedmont. With the possession of Sardinia, the Savoy acquire the actual title. Throughout the course of the century continues the late Baroque art, a work of architects, sculptors, painters or individual works that come from the continent italics. In architecture emerged the personality of Giuseppe Viana, which is best expressed in the spatial dynamically baroque Church of the Carmine in Oristano. In painting emerged Giacomo Altomonte, author of the fine frescoes in the sacristy of San Michele in Cagliari. In wooden statuary emerged the personality of a local sculptor, Giuseppe Antonio Lonis, author of devotional statues much appreciated. The first half of the nineteenth century also saw the spread of Neoclassical art in Sardinia, which has its greatest exponent in the sculptor Andrea Galassi. He also manages to establish itself in the artistic Turin, working for the Church of the Great Mother of God in the capital of Savoy. While the sculptors take on the way to series production, especially devoting himself to the funerary statuary, in painting Giovanni Marghinotti it should be noted that along the course of the century makes interpreter of the main cultural orientations: at the beginning the neoclassical, celebrating the patronage of Savoy, then to romance , and later joined to the folk vein. “Sa die de Sa Sardinia” is the feast of the Sardinian people reminiscent of the so-called “Vespers Sardi”, the popular uprising of April 28, 1794 with which they departed from Cagliari and the viceroy Balbiano. The Sardinians were pressing their private part of the civil and military positions and greater independence from the decisions of the local ruling class. The Piedmontese government refused to accept any request, so the middle class town with the help of the rest of the population sparked the insurrection. The protest movement was started in the eighties of the eighteenth century and was continued in the nineties touching the whole island. The reasons were political and economic order together. The reason for the popular discontent was due to the fact that Sardinia had been involved in the war against revolutionary France and therefore the European states against Piedmont. In 1793 a French fleet had attempted to take over the island, landing at Carloforte and then in Cagliari. The Sardinians, however, resisted by all means, in defence of their land. This resistance to the French had inspired the souls, so we were expecting a recognition and reward from the government of Savoy for their loyalty to the Crown.

The spark that set off the protest was the arrest, ordered by the Viceroy, of two leaders of the patriotic party, lawyers Cagliari Vincenzo Cabras and Efisio Pintor. It happened on April 28, 1794: the population angry decided to remove from the city Balbiano the viceroy and all the Piedmontese, that in the month of May of that year were boarded by force and sent in their region. Encouraged by the events of Cagliari, the villagers of Alghero and Sassari followed suit. In the second half of the nineteenth century Sardinia shares the climate of urban renewal that characterises the entire peninsula, engaged in the creation of modern middle-class city in post-unity. Fundamental in this sense, the figure of Gaetano Cima, teacher of Architecture at the university of Cagliari from 1840 to 1864, form a whole generation of engineers more and more qualified and aware of the importance of the design phase, based on the principles of order, symmetry and proportion. However, the public housing continues to be characterised in long-historicist sense with a strong tendency to eclecticism and monumentality of styles, marked by the revival. Emblematic in Sassari and Cagliari decorations boardrooms driven respectively by Giuseppe Sciuti and Domenico Bruschi, and in Cagliari the construction of the new Town Hall, which combines elements of Neo-Gothic and Art Nouveau elements. A new impetus came from the architectural and urban fascist regime. In addition to the major road works, hydraulic and port were numerous public buildings built during the Fascist period: the universities, the government buildings, schools, are just some of the realities architectural style inspired by the official and academic, which marked the construction public throughout the peninsula. Nevertheless, there are buildings that respond in full to the canons of Rationalism. Fundamental was then the creation of the nearby village of Arborea, Fertilia Carbonia and Cortoghiana, only cases in which it was able to realise a new vision of space and urban architecture.

The Twentieth Century

The rebirth of Sardinian, during the twentieth century, is often interpreted as a return to the primitive roots of the art in the centuries after the decay caused by the influence of Pisa, Spanish and Piedmont. A chronicler of “Il Corriere dell'Isola”, talking about the current production, defines the “closest to the ancient Sardinian style,” in which the recovery should be careful to artists who “have added to the geometric line, polygon, the curved line, as a necessary evolution of the Sardinian design, which were already present in some primitive figures of animals and men, instinctively expressed in Sardinian bread, worked with worship by housewives. ” The syncretism of forms that characterises many aspects of the island production with a mix of folk inflections, archaisms “ethnic” spoken and educated, is perceived as the result of a continuity between prehistoric art, folk art and contemporary crafts. A forced interpretation which, however, reflects the awareness of '“steadfast ethnic unity” - as defined by Luciano Moretti in “The Craft of Italy” - in which are inserted the movement in place, and that explains the complete “absence of rhetoric “the results achieved. Even Mauro Manca is exercised on nuragico, transferring in weaving the results of its phase “Mediterranean” in the first half of the fifties and those of the subsequent search of signs, and design for the weavers of Dorgali a series of carpets with representations of aggressive warriors nuragici and archetypal symbols in black and white and in color. The “barbaric” by missing accords with that promoted by Ubaldo Badas and Eugenio Tavolara, “renewal in tradition.” However, the latter to collect the most successful. In Sardinia, the operations of the Second World War ended in fact with the armistice of 8 September 1943 and with the passage of German troops in Corsica. The arrival of the Allies (around the middle of September 1943) and the appointment in January 1944 of the General Pietro Pinna High Commissioner for Sardinia, marked a clear break than before the war. The bombings that struck the island between November 1942 and May 1943, and that affected not only military targets but also civilians, caused extensive damage to entire neighbourhoods of major cities (Cagliari, Alghero, Olbia, S. Antioco, Arbatax, Porto Torres) and several inland locations. The situation was further made dramatic by the lack of connections with the rest of the country and the shortage of materials and labor. Despite the war go on in the rest of Italy until April 1945, the island was now time to reflect on the revival linked to the desire to start again. A first sign of this new spirit was the inauguration, in August 1944 in Cagliari, of a room for outdoor performances, the “Cinegiardino.” The debate at the beginning of purely theoretical (for lack of means), then also and above all practical, focused on the need to prioritise investment in the construction of public works, defined as capital goods, rather than in the housing, considered instead commodity. The issue was addressed for the first time in an organic way, with regard to the entire nation, in 1948, when the magazine “Modern Construction” published a special issue “dedicated to a regional investigation on reconstruction.” With the help of several architects and engineers made the situation, analysing the problems of building activity, aggravated by a disastrous economic situation, as well as the continuation of social imbalances, even more relevant to the need felt for an improvement of life . Specifically, Sardinia and Cagliari in particular, such issues were recalled by the architect Salvatore Rattu, who entered into the merits of a reconstruction rushed and almost totally negative, stressing the need to make the most of the opportunity offered by the damage caused by establish a new road and to give rise to a new city that meets the needs of modern life. The boom in tourism in Sardinia is represented by the “Costa Smeralda” which, on a territory stretching for about 50 km between Arzachena and Olbia, triggered a mechanism for the total transformation of uninhabited places that has consequences for its correspondence with those of the reclamation of sassu and the foundation of Carbonia during the Fascist period. In 1962 was formed the “Consorzio Costa Smeralda” which, through the strict rules dictated by the Internal Committee of Architecture, intended to safeguard the architectural characteristics and location of buildings according to homogeneity of intervention, shared and endorsed by the City of Arzachena. This program led to repeated conflicts with the Autonomous Region of Sardinia and State agencies in a mutual exchange of responsibility. The choice of where you came from ancient times was that of the coast with buildings close to the sea that changed irreversibly Planning, at the expense of involvement in terms of tourism in the rural centers already in existence. The inspiration of the whole plan was the architect Luigi Vietti, who invented the name of Costa Smeralda, ushering in a series of new names later became well-known. Its first settlement was Porto Cervo, that starting from the later had an urban centered on a square, as in a medieval village but with the difference that the central site (physical and symbolic) assigned to the church passed to the boutiques and togethers, new points of reference and use of the company attending the Coast. The type of architecture developed gave birth to the so-called Mediterranean Style, based on simple shapes, volumes renders clear and obvious. It is eclectic architecture, which borrows some elements of the Sardinian tradition, revisited and especially repeating them in order to make it less effective visual impact. The low fertility details and finishes such as plaster with granite dust, beams of juniper, the Sardinian tiles (though on layers of polyester sheath), the dry stones, evoking a “mythical Mediterranean” whose success led to a degeneration of the architecture in the villages and settlements of a speculative nature. These choices elitist character that made the vague border between propaganda and reality, while reaching solutions with a high level - found in early settlements - helped to give an ambiguous image of the Sardinian tradition rather than to his understanding, and reuse. To mark the entrance to the “official” in Sardinia of contemporary art is, in 1957, the award ceremony at the Biennale di Nuoro, including heated controversy, an abstract painting by Mauro Manca. Behind the pulse is missing, dynamic director of the Art Institute of Sassari (1959-69), and young Cagliari Transactional Group (1966), Sardinia opens to the languages ​​of the informal and then programmed art. In the same years the sculptor Eugenio Tavolara starts through the island (Sardinian Institute for Labour Organisation Craftsman), of which he is director, a unique experience of “handicraft design,” reinvesting the handicraft in the light of an encounter between tradition and contemporary style that makes for some time lead by example in the international field . The crisis of Modernism is not determined by conceptual experiences on the island, from performance art or environmental (virtually absent), but from the research neoconceptual the last fifteen years, which contrast with the model of an art form focused exclusively on that of ai communicative art and facing outward. While in Sardinia begins to take shape the art system, with the birth of museums for contemporary art, an Academy of Fine Arts and of widespread critical activity, the new artistic generation no longer feels the search for identity as a dramatic imperative but as a valuable difference, among the many who live in the mosaic of the globalised world. In the difficult years of the Second World War, Sardinian culture are characterised by the intensity of civic engagement. The goal of the social and cultural liberation of the island shared by the artists who serve on the front of realism and those that link the updating of languages ​​on the basis of the avant-garde. Despite the fervour of debate that runs through the fifties and sixties, however, without any hint of radical innovation: Sardinia “jumps” the conceptual moment distinct from the barriers between the technical and the encroachment of art in everyday life, for settle at an informal tone, and analytical research. With the consolidation of an art system dominated by the logic of the international market, in addition, the Sardinian artists serving the absence in the region of tunnels and canals recognised exhibition outside. Among the eighties and nineties, the emergence of a new artistic lever, for which the relationship with the identity has ceased to be the dominant concern, is matched by the rise of museums and educational for contemporary art and a widespread critical activity. In the field of architecture and urban planning, Sardinia is not exempt from the endemic problems of the Italian Republic. The uncontrolled growth of cities, building low-cost, the systematic alteration, if not destruction, of the traditional contexts only rarely are accompanied by the ability to design and build the new intelligence.


Sardinia has an extraordinary concentration of archaeological monuments and historical-artistic, distributed all over the territory. The type varies according to historical periods. In the age prenuragic cases have been reported only as the great temple-altar of Monte d'Accoddi, the circular tombs and funeral caves called “Domus de Janas” (literally: fairy houses, the folk tradition); megalithic monuments as dolmens and menhirs, which bear witness to prehistoric cultural forms common to Europe. The entrance of Sardinia age nuragica marks the appearance of new building types, such as protonuraghi, and especially the symbolic monument: the Nuraghe, sometimes surrounded the village. Nuraghes addition to temples, shrines and funerary structures as the tombs of giants. The attendance of the Sardinian coast by the Phoenicians, Punic and then determine the emergence of urban centers and, consequently, new monumental typologies, such as tofet (cemeteries for the burial of children). The Roman conquest in Sardinia also introduces new types of buildings, which represent the typical expression of the power of Rome, whose culture could be legitimately defined globalising “ahead of its time.” The main centers of the island Romanized, especially the large coastal cities of Cagliari, Nora, S. Antioco, Tharros and Porto Torres, include baths, aqueducts, bridges, theatres and amphitheatres. The crisis of the empire and the Christianization also determine in Sardinia the introduction of new types of architecture: the first Christian churches, Byzantine churches cruciform domed. From the historic fabric of Byzantine culture you go, exceeded the threshold of one thousand, the new structure of the Judicial Sardinia, with the great flowering of Romanesque churches. These will replace or accompany the centuries, the Gothic-Italian, Catalan Gothic, Mannerist, Baroque and late Baroque, neoclassical, to the architecture of the post-war period. At the same time we are witnessing the construction of castles, houses and palaces of the secular and ecclesiastical. Also in the field of civil architecture include military facilities such as coastal towers, aimed at the defence of the island from the barbarian raids. The ages of the unification of Italy and the reconstruction after the Second World War is characterised increasingly marked by the alignment of island to international trends, with results ranging from the buildings of the early twentieth century historicism to those rationalists of the regime Fascist, the achievements of some of the most significant contemporary architects.

QR Code
QR Code sardinia_-_a_region_of_culture_and_architecture (generated for current page)

Advertise with Anonymous Ads