Discovering Sanluri and its significance in the history of Sardinia | Olianas
Art and culture
Discovering Sanluri and its significance in the history of Sardinia
The medieval village of Sanluri rises about half an hour south of Olianas. Counting 8,000 inhabitants, this small town has played a leading role in the glorious history of the island ever since the Middle Ages, when it started displaying its brightest and most distinctive features.
Walking through its ancient streets studded with architectural gems, one can still clearly sense the essence of the Sardinian Middle Ages.
Sanluri allows its visitors to enjoy unparalleled authentic experiences, including visits to the only medieval castle in Sardinia that is still habitable, the reenactment of the grandiose Sa Batalla, and the popular Festa del Borgo.
The feature that truly sets Sanluri apart is its marvelous medieval castle: a veritable jewel set in the heart of the town's historic center that holds centuries of history and culture. Built between the 12th and 14th centuries by the Cagliari Judicate, it was originally used as a military fortress, as well as a residence. The castle was expanded in 1436 by the Aragonese who turned it into the imposing structure we can admire today. Its grandeur dominates the surrounding urban landscape as a reminder of the city's glorious past.
This masterpiece of medieval architecture, with its mighty crenelated towers that seem to touch the sky, still shines in all its splendor: among Sardinia’s 88 medieval manors, the Castle of Sanluri is, in fact, the only medieval manor that is still fit to live in.
Visiting the Castle of Sanluri one has the impression of hearing the echoes of the stories preserved within its thousand-year-old walls. Every stone tells of battles and conquests of a bygone era, when constant conflicts and foreign domination left indelible marks in the history of Sardinia.
The charm of the Castle of Sanluri isn’t limited to its imposing walls and eventful past: its interiors are what leave visitors breathless.
The castle, in fact, houses four museums:
- The Duca d'Aosta Risorgimento Museum displays relics and documents from both world wars, the African campaigns, and the fascist period. Highlights include the Italian three-color flag raised in Trieste to celebrate the unification of Italy, and the victory bulletin signed by Armando Diaz;
- The Museum of Ceroplastics - the largest collection of ceroplastics in Europe, with over four hundred sculptures and portraits of artists from the 16th to 19th centuries;
- The feudal quarter - an exhibition area that houses the castle’s original furnishings and displays interesting correspondence, such as the letters exchanged with Gabriele d'Annunzio;
- The castle courtyard - an open-air space that stores the original artillery, torpedoes, and bombards that served to defend the city;
The castle is open for visits daily. Visiting hours vary according to the seasons:
- October to June: 10>13:00 hrs. and 15:30>19:00 hrs.
- July to September: 10>13:00 hrs. and 16:30>21:00 hrs.
For reservations, call +39 0709307184 or +39 3939916135.
Guided tours of the castle are available during regular opening hours.
- Adults: €7 per person
- Reduced (groups of 10 and over, adults over 65): €4 per person
- Children aged 6–14 years: €3.5
The Castle of Sanluri is dedicated to the legendary Eleonora D’Arborea (Eleanor of Arborea), the amazing leader and wise legislator who proclaimed herself Giudicessa Reggente (Regent Judge) of Arborea, one of the four Sardinian judicates that had opposed Catalan attempts at conquest, and managed to virtually reunite the whole of the Sardinia under her rule.
While her figure has long been a point of contention among historians, her legacy has always been a source of pride for the locals. She is called the heroine of Sardinia because of the indelible mark she left in the struggle for the island's independence: Arborea was the last autonomous Sardinian state to fall at the hands of the Aragonese, and Sanluri was the last outpost of this glorious resistance.
Eleonora D’Arborea is valued so highly in the local community culture that she is still celebrated today through the re-enactment of her historical exploits, such as the Sanluri Battle she won against the Aragonese.
Every year, Sanluri hosts “Sa Batalla”, a historical re-enactment of the famous Battle of Sanluri that took place in 1409 between the armies of Eleanor of Arborea and the Kingdom of Aragon.
This fascinating event fills the village with townsfolk clad in medieval clothes, ancient traditional fare, displays of period weapons, and encampments where the locals revive the crafts and arts of yesteryear.
“Sa Batalla” is a unique opportunity to experience the typical atmosphere of the 14th century and re-live the crucial moments of its epic battle. The celebration includes splendid historical parades and actual replicas of the fighting between knights and soldiers that ended with the assault on the castle and the sacking of the village.
Sanluri is also the setting of another can’t-miss event: the Festa del Borgo, literally “Feats of the village”.
To relive the town's heyday and celebrate Su Civraxiu, Sanluri's famous bread, locals dedicate a weekend each year to local medieval traditions and Sardinia's rich cultural heritage.
During these two days, the town flaunts the vibrant identity of our island in all its glory: traditional Sardinian costumes fill it with brilliant, vibrant colors, and the squares come alive with dances and performances.
This village festival, in addition to keeping the customs and traditions of Sardinian culture alive and passing them on to future generations, is also the perfect opportunity to sample our island’s exceptional flavors. The weekend festivities provide the opportunity to indulge in traditional specialties such as pecorino cheese, cured meats, and the famed tantalizing desserts, together with a selection of local wines.
All have the chance to savor incredible combinations of food and wine that exalt local flavors and aromas: our Cannonau pairs wonderfully with Malloreddus seasoned with sausage ragout and pecorino cheese, and both the Cannonau Riserva and Perdixi accompany typical lamb and artichokes marvelously. Vermentino enhances the flavors of local fish, such as snapper and sea bream, Rosato is perfect with traditional saffron cockerel, and our Rosato Spumante is delicious with typical sweets such as Gueffus, Pistoccus, and Pardulas.
The images on the page are courtesy of the Associazione Pro Loco Sanluri.