Sardinia has always been a coveted island, and was often conquered accordingly. Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans all left their mark, often in the form of impressive buildings whose fascinating remains can still be visited today.


Foreign rule in Sardinia: when the Phoenicians and Romans came

From the 7th century BC, the subjugation of Sardinians began by ever-changing conquerors. The Sardinians were too weak to defend their land against strangers and were forced to endure various foreign rulers – albeit without any major change to their lifestyle and habits. The Phoenicians were first, originally arriving in Sardinia as merchants. When they realised that their profits could be multiplied without the Nuragic people, they swiftly and unceremoniously occupied the island. After the Phoenicians came the Carthaginians, who were then replaced by the Romans. With the downfall of the Great Roman Empire around 500 AD, the African Vandals arrived in Sardinia, but were in turn soon expelled by the Byzantines.

It goes without saying that all of these cultures have left their mark in Sardinia, and this is what makes the island’s culture so intriguing. For example, the Roman ruins of Nora can be visited near Pula. The Romans also founded new cities, such as Turrsi (Porto Torres today) and Gurulis Vetus, which is now known as Padria.

Other cultural monuments from this period are the religious buildings in Cagliari with their cross-shaped ground plan and dome (martyrdom of Saint Saturninus), San Giovanni di Sinis (near the ruins of Tharros) and on the offshore island Sant’Antioco.