In the past, Sardinia has been populated by numerous civilizations, each of which has left an indelible print on the territory through the construction of various buildings, places of worship and burial sites.
Tuvixeddu is among the most famous necropolis on the island, located on one of the seven hills of Cagliari, the capital city of Sardinia. The necropolis is part of the Tuvixeddu Park in the Sant’Avendrace district of the city and can be easily reached from the city center.
If you are planning a trip to southern Sardinia and are an archaeology enthusiast, then I suggest you visit this unique site. Keep reading my guide, to find out more about the historical background and to get lots of practical information that will help you plan your visit.
Curious to discover the many layers of history of Cagliari? Then read my post What To See In Cagliari Underground.
Table of Contents
A Brief History Of Tuvixeddu Necropolis
The site of the Tuvixeddu necropolis has been used by man since Neolithic times, although it was the Carthaginians who first used the hill for the burial of the dead, creating the largest Punic necropolis on the island.
The necropolis was adjacent to a large settlement, of which only a few walls and floors remain. The Carthaginians used the site until the 3rd century BC, later leaving it to the Romans.
The ‘pozzetto’ tombs used for burials on this site were dug into the rock, creating a small well that acted as an access to the burial chamber.
The name Tuvixeddu derives from tuvu, which can be translated as ‘small hole’. The “pozzettos” of Tuvixeddu are characterized by a depth of three to eleven meters (between 9.8 and 36 feet), with lateral recesses and stone slabs.
Those were used to protect the tomb from looters, since the Carthaginians used to bury their dead with riches such as amulets, jewelry, amphorae and ceramic vessels.
Some tombs in the necropolis, probably those reserved for important members of the community, were decorated with wall paintings representing flowers, gorgons and other symbols.
Among the most important tombs on the site, the Sid tomb stands out. It is so called because of the mural dedicated to Sid, the Phoenician deity (probably of Egyptian origin) of healing, worshipped both in Sardinia and North Africa.
The Roman necropolis is slightly different from the Punic, with chambers and incineration tombs as well as monumental tombs, which have decorations and inscriptions.
The tombs of the Punic and Roman necropolis were also used as dwellings in the Middle Ages, while during the Second World War they were used as air raid shelters.
After the war, the tombs were used by homeless people and for other clandestine activities, which continued until 1997, when the necropolis was opened to the public as a public park for everyone to enjoy.
Now that you know its history, let’s see how you can actually visit.
Tuvixeddu Necropolis is free to access for all. For a better experience, I actually recommend joining a guided tour with a local guide that can help you understand its importance, use and give you insightful information about the site.
I recommend this guided tour of Tuvixeddu with a local guide. It last 1.5 hours and it is very well reviewed.
Tuvixeddu opening hours
The opening hours of the necropolis follow those of the park and vary seasonally.
From January to March, Tuvixeddu is open from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.
From April to September, Tuvixeddu is open from 5:30 am to 10:30 pm.
From October to December the park is open from 6:30 am to 10:00 pm.
How to get there
Tuvixeddu is easy to visit from the center of Cagliari, though it can be a bit of a long walk. By car or bus, on the other hand, it’s just 15 minutes.
If you have a car, follow Viale San Vincenzo and then turn left at the traffic light in Piazza d’Armi, taking Viale Merello. Drive down till you reach Via Vittorio Veneto which will be on your right. You will find signs directing you to Tuvixeddu which is in via Falzarego.
If you are departing from Piazza Matteotti, drive northeast along Via Roma then turn right into Via Pola then left onto Corso Vittorio Emanuele. This will eventually become Viale Trento. Continue driving until you find via Vittorio Veneto on your right and then turn left onto via Falzarego.
If you are traveling by bus, you can take several lines, such as Line 1 or 9 both leaving from the main station in Piazza Matteotti. Get off in via Cesare Battisti, from which it is a short walk to Tuvixeddu.
Other nearby places to visit
Since the Tuvixeddu necropolis is located on one of Cagliari’s hills, you may decide to continue your archaeological itinerary by visiting Cagliari’s Roman Amphitheater, a true architectural masterpiece of the Roman era. I shall warn you though that it is currently going through restoration works so access is limited to a specific area.
Not far from it, make sure to pass by the Villa di Tigellio, one of the nicest examples of Roman villas in the Sardinia capital.
The various objects and treasures found in the excavations of Tuvixeddu Necropolis are displayed at the National Archaeological Museum in Cagliari, so you can visit to learn more about the site and other archeological findings.
If you are planning a trip to Cagliari, these other posts will be useful:
- A Wonderful 3 Days In Cagliari Itinerary
- How To Get From Cagliari Airport To The City Center
- 15 Great Things To Do In Cagliari, Sardinia
- A Guide To Renting A Car In Cagliari
- The Complete Guide To Castello, Cagliari
- A Short Guide To Stampace, Cagliari
- A Short Guide To La Marina, Cagliari
- The Best Guide To Villanova, Cagliari