Precious Romanesque architecture in the Oristano area

Cattedrale di santa Giusta, facciata con scalinata  - Santa Giusta

Precious Romanesque architecture in the Oristano area

A tour of the medieval churches, basilicas and cathedrals in central-western Sardinia, places that lovers of Romanesque architecture and sacred art really shouldn’t miss
ancient sanctuaries a stone’s throw from the sea

From one of the oldest churches on the island to a cathedral that has become a kaleidoscope of architectural styles over time, as well as a solemn and elegant basilica church and captivating examples of two-tone ‘rural’ style, concluding the itinerary amid the mysteries of a church with an origin that can only be deduced from a fragment of wall. All around, there are spectacular beaches, fascinating archaeological discoveries, natural oases, centuries-old traditions and legacies from the Judicates period. Between one stage and another, a good glass of Oristano Vernaccia wine is recommended as an aperitif.

Journey length: 47,5 km 
Road travel time: 1 hour for the various journeys 

San Giovanni di Sinis, Cabras

Opposite the Sinis-Mal di Ventre marine protected area, not far from the ancient town of Tharros, stands a sanctuary of Byzantine origin, which was extended around the 10th century. The mystical atmosphere of a one thousand-year-old place of worship is strongly perceived, as is the aura of austerity and intimacy, also resulting from the dim light. If you want to take a detour ‘off-topic’, there is also the church of San Salvatore di Sinis a few kilometres away, the finishing line of the ‘legendary’ Corsa degli Scalzi (Race of the Barefoot Runners).
Chiesa San Giovanni, Sinis - Cabras
San Giovanni di Sinis
In the charming setting of the peninsula of Sinis, everything smells of history: near the ruins of the ancient Tharros, there is a quaint little...

Santa Maria Assunta, Oristano

In the cathedral of the city of Eleanor of Arborea and of the Sartiglia, an equestrian joust, there are very few traces of the Romanesque structure, built on a Byzantine sanctuary (and cemetery). Inside, you will find yourself travelling through the history of art and ecclesiastical architecture on the Island: Gothic chapels, a Baroque altar and Neoclassical heads of the transept. Furthermore, the cathedral’s treasure is a real museum of sacred art. Piazza Eleonora and the Mariano tower are also worth visiting, after which you’ll be moving a few kilometres to the south.
Duomo di Oristano, interno
Santa Maria Assunta - Duomo di Oristano
The largest cathedral in Sardinia, which presides over the Archdiocese of Arborea, is known as the Cathedral of Oristano, the main building of the...

Basilica of Santa Giusta

One of Sardinia’s Romanesque masterpieces. It was a cathedral until the beginning of the 16th century and, in all its austere elegance, it clearly shows Pisan influences. There are Roman columns inside, perhaps coming from Tharros. In the basement, there’s a captivating crypt entirely made of masonry, with an altar containing the relics of the saint. The allegorical figures carved in marble above the portal also stand out. A short distance away, there is the precious pond of the same name ‘teeming with fish’.
Basilica di santa Giusta
Basilica of Santa Giusta
In the province of Oristano, in the central-western part of Sardinia, on the top of a hill, sits one of the most significant examples of Romanesque...

San Gregorio, Solarussa

The itinerary enters the lower Tirso valley, 15 kilometres north of Santa Giusta. On the edge of the town of Solarussa, an exquisite little church with two-tone ashlars stands surrounded by an enclosure with a spectacular portal, on which the bell tower was built. The precision with which the ashlars were cut and the alternation of colours in the lunette on the façade are fascinating. It is worth a visit especially during the big festival in October, in which devotional songs ring out and horse riders parade.
Chiesa campestre di san Gregorio - Solarussa
San Gregorio - Solarussa
One of the finest examples of simple and elegant ‘rural’ Romanesque style stands on the edge of a town in the Campidano area of Oristano, in...

Santa Sofia, San Vero Milis

To reach the final stage of the itinerary, travel 11 kilometres heading north-east, until you get to the border of the upper Campidano area. In the heart of one of the ‘capitals’ of Vernaccia wine stands Santa Sofia, another church featuring an overlap of styles. Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance styles coexist on the façade. On the rear façade, there is still a portion of a two-tone wall, with black and white ashlars, the only evidence of its probable thirteenth-century origin.
Torre aragonese di Capo Mannu - San Vero Milis
San Vero Milis
A municipality in the Alto Oristano area, in central-western Sardinia, with a thousand natural, cultural, archaeological, artisan, food and wine...

Mappa dell'itinerario