Oristano, Sardinia, A Stroll Through A Lively City

Visit a Provincial Capital with a Great Carnival Festival

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OristanoAristanis in Sardinian language, Sits pretty on Sardinia’s west coast. To the west lies the Sinis Peninsula, where you will find good beaches as well as the western lagoon of Santa Giusta and Cabras where you can see the newly excavated Giants of Monte Prama. To the north is the Campidano plain.

You’ll find that illusive sun-washed charm in Oristano’s well-preserved historical center. The lovely Duomo, or cathedral, shows several architectural styles and is topped with an onion-shaped majolica dome. Adjacent to the church is the old 17th century Archbishop’s Seminary. Another important church near the Duomo is the Church of San Francesco whose interior still shows some ancient Gothic structures.

In the central Piazza Eleonora is the statue of a legendary queen of the 14th century Kingdom of Arborea, Eleonora d’Arborea, Queen of Oristano. She is  beloved by the Sardinians as a great stateswoman who tried to protect the island from the Aragonese occupation. She is also famous for editing the Code of Law called that Carta de Logu, a great example of a political law code written in the Middle Ages by a progressive and powerful Sardinian woman!

Stroll across the streets of Oristano’s center and you’ll find the imposing Tower of Mariano II, also called Tower di San Cristoforo or Porta Manna, a tall tower built in 1291. There is also a fine little museum, the Museum Antiquarium Arborense, where you’ll find archeological finds from the area.

Tower of Mariano II (left) and Statue of Eleanor of Arborea, holding the Carta de Logu in her hand (right)

Oristano has many nice restaurants where you can taste the good locally grown rice. Try a risotto with sea food and taste how good the local rice is! One of our favorite restaurants featuring tradition food is Blao Ristorante.

Don’t miss the city art gallery, Pinacoteca Carlo Contini. It’s housed in the old hospital of the giudicato of Arborea built in 1335.

The most important festival in Oristano is the spectacular Carnival joust called Sa Sartiglia. Don’t miss it if you plan to visit Sardinia during carnevale season (40 days before Easter). If you’d like a glimpse of the spectacle for which the town is justly famous, visit the Documentation Center of the Sartiglia (Centro di Documentazione sulla Sartiglia) on via Sant’Antonio 9. For a quick lunch, stop in at the nearby Caffetteria La Terrazza on Via Cagliari 234.

sartiglia museum oristano
Display of old mask and costume in the Sartiglia Museum

Planning a Trip to Oristano

If you are open with your times to visit, check out the historic climate charts to see when the temperatures and precipitation averages are to your liking.

The drive from Cagliari to Oristano takes about an hour and 10 minutes. From Alghero it takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Public transportation in Sardinia takes considerably longer, therefore rent a car or bring one on the ferry.

Consider a trip to the Sinus Peninsula when you’re in the city. The little bulge of land bristles with things to do.

Categories: See & Do: Historical |

At A Glance



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