The massive granite rocks eroded by the wind at Palau fuel the imagination into seeing human forms, fantastic animals and surprising abstract sculptures. Many of the rock formations, such as Bear Rock, are by now famous attractions created by nature and inseparable from the surrounding countryside.
Amongst the most famous are Elefant Rock, situated along the road leading from Castelsardo to Sedini, the Mushroom of Arzachema and the Dinosaur on the edge of the road between S. Teresa and Bassacutena.
On arriving in the centre of Oristano one comes across the tree-lined Piazza Roma. From this square rises the Porta Manna (Gate of Manna) also known as the Tower of Saint Christopher, an imposing construction from 1291. Another beautiful square in Oristano is that of the cathedral where one also finds the Palazzo Vescovile (Bishop’s Palace) and the twelfth century cathedral.
Rebuilt in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, traces of the original medieval building are still visible in the apse and the fourteenth century bell tower.
The Basilica of Bonaria in Cagliari was designed by the Piedmont architect Felice De Vincenti in 1772. As can be seen in many churches in the area, the presence of Piedmont military architects during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries at the time of the domination of the House of Savoy was a determining factor in the island's artistic development.
The polygonal bell tower constructed of imitation angles, like Sant'Agata in Barcelona, is grafted onto the front of the presbytery.
An impressive testimony to the years of Pisan leadership is the fortress, the highest part of Cagliari, which the Pisans enclosed with walls and towers after the assignment of Sardinia to James II of Aragon. Two towers are still superbly intact: that of Saint Pancrazio and the Elephant Tower. Built by Giovanni Capula in 1305 and 1307, they are enclosed on three sides only and fortified with great corbels. The cuts on the ashlars are still smooth and perfect and the circle of arches at the entrance still intact.
The Basilica, built in 1073, is one of the oldest Romanesque buildings in Sardinia. The Burgundian Gothic façade dates from the beginning of the thirteenth century.
The period in Sardinian history from 1500 to 500 BC is known as the "nuragico" period, so named after the nuraghi which in the Sardinian dialect are the great towers which rise from the plains and hilltops, soaring above the island's landscape and intensely characteristic of the region.
A nuraghe is a round tower built by placing large chunks of rocks in an overlapping pattern (usually of trachyte or, as is the case in Baumini, basalt or basaltic lava), one on top of another without any form of cement. They get narrower and narrower towards the top where it is, or we should say was finished, seeing as no traces are left of such summits, with terraces equipped for defence purposes.
Today there are 7,000 nuraghi in Sardinia - the most imposing reminder of the island's ancient civilisation.