Mentioned in 19th century letters and studies, the Roman amphitheatre in Cagliari was rediscovered during the Romantic period, with its passion for the ruins of ancient civilisations.The first excavations by canon Giovanni Spano (1866-68) were followed by archaeologist Doro Levi's digs (1937-38) and the restoration of the majestic building.

During the first imperial age, neighbourhoods and public buildings were built in Carales, followed by the amphitheatre from the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD, set in the southern foothills of the Buoncammino hill. It originally occupied more than a thousand square metres, with a 120 metre perimeter and a 20 metre high facade decorated with columns and statues. Part of the stands (cavea), the arena, corridors and other areas were carved from the rock, while the rest was built using white limestone blocks.