Berlin, Rome, Cagliari, Barcelona Comenius project 2009/2010
Cagliari is a really old town - one of the oldest in the Mediterranean sea ! Its origins date back about 3000 years ago. It was so long time ago that still today its origins are not very clear and shrouded in mystery. Cagliari a very ancient city
The collapse of the western Roman Empire allowed a new population –The Vandals- to affirm themselves in the control of the Mediterranean sea. Their presence on the island is related to the African and Catholic Bishops who, unwilling to conform to Aryanism were exiled in Sardinia.
The Vandalic rule of the island came to an end with the arrival of the Byzantines. The Byzantine phase-though quite short- was not a prosperous period for the town of Cagliari. Their corrupted leaders and the high taxation were responsible for a rapid decay, loss of economic power of Cagliari, which at the same time , had to suffer for frequent raids carried out by Saracens. The Vandalic and the Byzantine period
Around the X century after the Byzantine had abandoned the island and due to repeated incursions and plunders of the Saracens, Sardinia felt the need to organize its defence autonomously. A new form of self-government started to appear: the “Giudicato”, so called because at the top of this self-government there was a “Judge”, Sardinia was divided in four sectors called “Giudicati”. They were Cagliari, Arborea, Torres and Gallura.
During the period of the Saracens’ raids, Cagliari, which had almost been reduced to the village of Santa Gilla, suffered a period of great depopulation, loss of economic power, but it regained popularity under the “Giudical” phase thanks to the help of the two naval cities power of Genoa and Pisa, that both wanted the supremacy on the island. After alternate disputes, the “Giudicato” of Cagliari returned under Pisan influence with Guglielmo of Massa in 1187.
A hundred year had not passed, when another domination came: the Aragonese, who with the help of the Pope, conquered Sardinia. They besieged Cagliari and built their stronghold on another hill , the “colle di Bonaria”. However, they did not destroy the enemy city, as the Pisans did with Santa Gilla, but, they allowed the Pisans for while staying in their feud of Castello until the Pisans were force to abandon forever the city and the island. From that moment the Aragonese dominitation started.
Pietro IV of Aragona , in order to keep peace on the Island granted Sardinia of self government and summoned the first Sardinian Parliament called “Stamenti”.
Members of this parliament were the three social classes of the clergy (stamento ecclesiastico), the nobles and the land owners (stamento militare) and the rappresentative of the town and villas (stamento reale).
The codes and the regulations active in Barcelona were granted and applied in Cagliari. The economy of Cagliari was guaranteed by the florishing trade port of the island. In this period, the town regained the role of "capital" of the island. The Aragonese built further fortifications
Unfortunately in those years Cagliari suffered a great unrest because of the plague, the fire, and the attack carried by the Giudici di Arborea. Cagliari almost without realizing it had become a Spanish city.
In 1479 , Ferdinand II of Aragon became the king of Spain, so even Sardinia became part of the Spanish Kingdom .
The harbor of the city acquired great importance for its strategic and economic position. From the XVII century in the city the culture awakened thanks to the birth of the universities and the foundation of the first printing shop of Nicolò Cannelles. All this contributed to an initial detachment from Spain.
In the XVIII century a rivalry between Spanish nobility and local nobility caused a decrease of Spanish power on Cagliari.
In 1718, after a brief rule of the Austrian Habsburgs, Cagliari and Sardinia came under the House of Savoy and included in the Piedmont kingdom , which from that moment took the name of S ardinian-Piedmont kingdom . By the end of the 18th century France tried to conquer Cagliari; in fact a French army reached to the harbour and moved towards the city. The proud Sardinians defeated the French and hoped to receive some rewards in return for their defending the town,
From the 1870s, after the unification of Italy, the city experienced a century of rapid growth. Many outstanding buildings were erected by the end of the 19th century during the office of Mayor Ottone Bacaredda buildings combined influences from Art Nouveau together with the traditional Sardinian taste for flower decoration: an example is the white marble City Hall near the port. Ottone Bacaredda is also famous for the violent repression of one of the earlier worker strikes in the beginning of the 20th century.
During World War II Cagliari was heavily bombed by the Allies in February 1943. In order to escape from the bombardments and the misery of the destroyed town, many people left Cagliari and moved to the country or rural villages. This flight from the town is known as "sfollamento" (deserting).
After the Italian armistice with the Allies in September 1943, the German Army took control of Cagliari and the island, but soon retreated peacefully in order to reinforce their positions in mainland Italy. The American Army then took control of Cagliari, thanks to its strategically position; in fact many airports were near the town (Elmas, Monserrato, Decimomannu, currently a NATO airbase)