There is something magical about Cagliari, the closest thing to a big city that you’ll find on the Italian island of Sardinia.
Facing the lapis lazuli Mediterranean Sea, Cagliari is beautiful for its history–it has changed hands more times than you should re-apply sunscreen on its blazingly hot beaches–and for the gentle pace of life which grips it in the high heat of midday.
The weather-beaten remnants of the massive Roman Amphitheater are a hulking reminder of the city’s timeless relevance in the annals of history.
The suntanned citizens of Cagliari have spent their balmy summer evenings outside for millennia, just as they did a few nights ago when Italy beat England in their World Cup opener.
The streets here are steeped in the vinegary scent of ages gone by. As I paused in the shade during one of my noon-time walks and heard the clatter of silverware on dishes and boisterous conversations escaping through the cracks in the walls and half-shuttered windows, I realized something:
I don’t look up enough.
As much as the streets are an undulating landscape of cracks, potholes, loose stones, and refuse, so are the buildings that flank them.
What can be inferred from the shuttered windows, peeling paint, empty laundry lines, chipped lintels, rusted flagpoles, and broken balustrades?
When we see potted plants on a windowsill or ferns heaving in the wind, what does this tell us about the owners?
How long have they lived here? Were they born in this neighborhood or are they new to it? Life-long denizens of Cagliari, or just passing through?
My wandering feet took me beyond the medieval heart of the city and into suburbs populated by look-alike concrete apartment buildings. They, too, have a part to play in the urban landscape.
I walked back into the city and climbed a hill overlooking the harbor and the mountains to the west; a low humming noise filled my ears and I saw a plane descending to an airport nearby.
Some hours later I found a place on top of the old battlements where lovers and friends have scrawled eternal loyalty to each other on the ground. How often do we look above with our questions, when there are answers right at our feet?
If you dig old rusticated facades and exploring aging urban landscapes, you might like Sens. Did that Roman amphitheater pique your interest? I’ve been to Rome as well–but if you want to see awesome Roman architecture in provincial settings, then you should check out the badass aqueduct in Segovia. First time here? I hope you come back! You can follow this blog for free by clicking on the “Follow!” button up on your right.