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domenica 14 agosto 2011

That invisible city - Cagliari underground, among caverns,reservoirs and shrines.

Cagliari, as Francesco Alziator wrote, is a city that is mainly seen,. It is all there, as in a great exibition of yellow stones, of glasses that reflect the sun, of thin green tips a city that rises as a triangle, on a hill covered by houses dating back to ancient times. But there is also a Cagliari that cannot be seen, under its hills, its lagoons and sea. A hidden visuality, with its legends from the times when gods and men came from the sea as shells taken by the tide. As the "de sa musca macedda" ( a giant fly in Sard Legend), the deadly insect looks after the treasure hidden in the Viper'sCave.
There are two buried cases: one with the treasure and the other one with the deadly flies. In the same hill, there is also the Punc Necroplis in Tuvixeddu (small quarry), the most important one in the Mediterranean basin, unfortunately besieged by
overbuildng since time immemorial. More than three hundred tombs, starting from the VI century BC, facing the West, almost all of them with wells, dug at different depths, between three and seven metres deep. Abundant ceramics, goldsmith's, craft documentated. Towards the IV - III BC, buryng was also exended to the hill of Bonaria, where the tombs that were used in Roman and Christian time, started to be used again.The underground city ranges from the Punic to the Roman, from the Medieval Sant'Igia to the shelters of the last war. There are abundant reservois and cisternoni with tunnels for conveying waters. there are abundant quarries and wells. And here there is a legend: in order to keep children far from wells, there was Maria Farranca, Sa mamma  'e funtana,the mother of the well, a woman with
 clutches (farranca). No t'affaccis in funtana ca ti ciappara Maria Farranca. Do not lean over and into the well, or Maria Farranca will catch you", children were told in order to strike fear into them. There is even a lake of exellent water, which was used by a beer factory in the past: it is "Sa grutta de su Stiddiu (cave), under the Military square, the cause of the continuous subsidence of the ground. In the courtyard of the faculty of Literature, also in the Military square, there is an Aragonese origin fresh water well. A few steps away from it, there is the Amphitheatre,
one of the greatest of the Roman monuments, not only in the city, but also in the whole island, which dates back to the I century AD: it is posible to go through tunnels and see pipes that used to take water from the reservoirs dug in what nowadays is Fra Ignazio street. Further down, the Botanical Garden keeps different hydrulic works. The Sant'Elmu cave, had very fresh water, and it was destroyed with the small church of the Saint, for bulding the Mario Aresu Clinic. One of the most renowned places, in Yenne square, until ten years ago, was the Grotta Azzurra, or Marcello's Blue Grotta). Sa Prazzitta, Carlo Alberto square, where the executions convicts of noble origins were carried out.

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