3. Cagliari: Nora Archaeological Site Private Experience
Departing from Chia, your trip to Nora will be about 20 minutes. Nora was the first Phoenician city in Sardinia (8th century BC), an essential commercial crossword and port of excellent location in the isthmus of Capo Pula, from which it was possible to set sail in any weather. Nora, which developed fully in the 4th century BC under Punic rule, was conquered by the Romans in 238 BC and became a municipium in the 1st century AC. During the two following centuries, it lived its maximum splendor: urban growth and eight thousand inhabitants and being caput viae, the starting point of all the islands' roads. In this flourishing city, fascinating remains can be seen at the archaeological park of Pula, a handful of minutes from the tourist center, and findings exhibited at Patroni Museum. Go snorkeling and admire Roman roads and remains at the bottom of the isthmus, at Punta del Coltellazzo, dominated by a 16th-century tower. Roman edifications covered almost all evidence of Phoenician-Punic times. Excavations began in 1889 when a coastal storm revealed a Phoenician-Punic cemetery (Tophet), bringing to light the remains of the Temple of Tanit, a Carthaginian goddess, and the Nora Stone in the Museo Archeologico di Cagliari (National Archaeological Museum). On the stele, the most ancient document of the Western world, the name Shrdn, Sardinia, appears for the first time. The Tophet sits near the Little Romanesque church, the place of martyrdom of the warrior saint remembered every year during Sagra di Sant’Efisio, of whom the Pula population is particularly devout. At the entrance to the park, you will find remains of the thermal baths that made Nora famous. Take the cobbled streets to enter the heart of the ancient city: Piazza del Foro. Nearby is a temple with a six-column entrance hall (pronao), while to the north, you will find the necropolis and the aqueduct. You will come across a nobleman’s house on the coast, the home of the tetrastyle atrium from the 3rd century AC, with a four-column portico and rooms lined with mosaics (do not miss “Nereid on a marine centaur”). Keep walking, and you will see its main attraction, the theater: lined initially with marble, it had twenty terraces and could seat one thousand people. Today it hosts the La Notte dei Poeti festival. To the south, Aesculapius’s sanctuary, with a mosaic-lined terraced from the 4th century: perhaps the set of the incubation rituals to ask the gods for remedies. It is the last most fabulous building: Nora began to decline in the 5th century. You will also visit the nearby town of Pula—a hidden gem in southern Sardinia, with charming alleys and patrician homes. You can browse your perfect souvenir here; there are many craft shops, and if times allow, you can enter one of their traditional restaurants. Throughout this incredible experience, your guide will strive to make your time as personalized as possible.