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Villanova district

The district of Villanova is the most recent of the four historical districts of Cagliari

It has developed since the 13th century on the eastern slopes of the hill of Castello. Its name is mentioned for the first time in a document dating back to 1288 concerning an agreement between the maritime republics of Pisa and Genoa.

Unlike the other historical quarters, it has always been perceived as a settlement entity. A veritable village leaning against the city. In fact, the first inhabitants of the district were the farmers of the nearby Campidano plains who had commercial relations with the city and who decided to settle closer to the centre to facilitate their activities. This agricultural vocation was well perceivable until the beginning of the 20th century when the numerous vegetable gardens and vineyards were still cultivated. The name la vega in Spanish - the vegetable gardens, relative to the northern part of the district, testifies to the persistence of the areas dedicated to the production of vegetables over a long period of time.

Visit the Villanova with this walking tour that includes also the market of San Benedetto

In this area of the city there were already structures and settlements in Roman times. A system of large underground cisterns developed in the area of Piazza San Giacomo and Via Sulis. A necropolis of sailors, the Roman fleet of Miseno was discovered between Viale Regina Margherita and Via Eleonora d'Arborea. A fullonica that is a laundry - dyeworks of republican age has been found under the palace of the Inps in Via XX Settembre and an archaeological area of great interest and has been identified in Vico 1 Lanusei.

The medieval village was built modestly sheltered from Castello for a certain period without a defensive system and a rational design. The walls were built later even if the documents and maps do not clarify the period in which this happened. The walls followed a small model of the walls of Castello and started from the height of the present Bastion San Remy. This defensive work was characterized by the presence of an unspecified number of minor towers and three major towers with gates. The first gate at the current Via Sulis was called the Calderai. The layout of the walls continued along the current Via Garibaldi as far as the Romero portico where the second gate was located and continued as far as Piazza Garibaldi from where it went up to the church of San Cesello, where a third gate called Cabana or Cavana opened. The historical part of the quarter enclosed in ancient times within the city walls is developed on several parallel axes - Via San Giovanni, Via Picconi, Via San Giacomo and Via San Domenico connected to each other by a large number of secondary alleys. The main street is Via Giovanni, characterized by a long and winding path intersected by alleys and steps. Other local points for the formation of the urban fabric of the district are the religious complexes of San Giacomo and San Domenico. The streets and alleys of Villanova were and are characterized by simple dwellings on one or two floors with workshops and craft workshops on the ground floor. In the past occupied by master silversmiths, wood craftsmen, tailors, tanners and boilermakers. Currently mainly carpenters and restorers, but in ever smaller numbers.

In addition to the artisans characterized the district is arregateris - the minute retailers of fish, fruit, vegetables and various goods and especially their wives who made the bread at home the filled pasta, the characteristic sweets and then resell them later. This female figure was called is paneteras.

During the Second World War she was heavily affected by the Anglo-American bombardments in February and May 1943. Signs of that devastation can still be seen along the streets of the neighborhood. Today Villanova is one of the most suggestive and lively areas of the city. Via Garibaldi is the shopping street par excellence. The numerous restaurants and nightclubs welcome residents and tourists in its narrow streets and characteristic alleys.

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