Scraping Together Fragments of Roman Cagliari: the Villa of Tigellius and the Amphitheatre

In my usual way I was looking forward to seeing the Roman remains of Cagliari.  It was an important provincial capital and on paper it looked like there was a fair amount to see.  My first disappointment was finding that the Cave of the Viper, a Roman tomb, was closed.  I checked the internet and found that the amphitheatre was open, so along I went.

The Amphitheatre

It was actually closed.  They said it was open, because they were restoring it, and for 3 euros allowed people to walk just along a short strip at the side.  I saved my money and was glad I’d got to peer down on it from above as I walked downhill towards the site.

It looks like it will be attractive as a space when it reopens, though clearly it’s not one of the Mediterranean’s greatest examples of amphitheatre.  It was the largest amphitheatre in Sardinia, which is hardly surprising since Cagliari was the provincial capital.

View of the Roman Amphitheatre, Cagliari, Sardinia

A nicer view of the Roman Amphitheatre, Cagliari, Sardinia

Feeling a little miffed, we walked on towards the second Roman site I was looking forward to exploring: the so-called Villa of Tigellio.

Villa of Tigellio

The site called the Villa of Tigellio is a double misnomer:  it is neither a villa, nor did it ever belong to Tigellius.  It’s actually two insulae and a bath-house located on a site that, in the 19th century, archaeologists were keen to attribute to their famous son who rubbed shoulders with Julius Caesar and Horace, the singer-poet Tigellius.

Walking the length of the archaeological site at Tigellio Villa, Cagliari, Sardinia

This is the map of the site from a board, Tigellio Villa, Cagliari, Sardinia

The buildings on site date from the 1st century BC to the 4th century AD.

The remains are unremarkable and disappointingly,  despite the fact that they’ve found frescoes, these aren’t on show on site.  Nor did they seem to be in the Archaeological Museum, so I don’t know where they are.  Afterwards, I wondered if they were in the building where we got the tickets, but they hadn’t told us that, so I don’t know.

Okay, so I don’t want to be down on the place, but here are pictures from the site:

Ooh look, capitals and columns! Tigellio Villa, Cagliari, Sardinia

The floor of the baths, Tigellio Villa, Cagliari, Sardinia

The remains of an insula, Tigellio Villa, Cagliari, Sardinia

View looking back on the site, Tigellio Villa, Cagliari, Sardinia

You can just about make out some plaster in the corner of the wall, Tigellio Villa, Cagliari, Sardinia

So in Summary

I found the site strangely depressing.  Honestly, if you are time-limited, skip it.  If you don’t really care about archaeology, skip it.  Actually, I’d say skipping it will save you time and money.

Further Information

There is a charge to enter the sites, and there was supposed to be a money-saving multiple-site ticket you could get.  Sadly, many of these sites were shut for renovations, so that didn’t work for us.

There is a website which gives some information on opening hours and prices: www.beniculturalicagliari.it

How To Get There

It’s easy to walk to the site from the old centre of Cagliari from the train station.

The transport website for Cagliari is not very user-friendly for the non-Italian speaker.  So, here’s the city’s official transport website: www.ctmcagliari.it – with some English information on Cagliari buses generally.  Here is a pdf of the bus map.  Now you’ve worked out what route you want to take, pop over here for a list of the bus numbers, so you can see the schedule of your bus.

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