Cagliari is a nice town whose colors and lights and temperature remember a bit the north Africa.
What you catch at first glance is the rise of the walls of the upper town, towers and domes. It is the district of Castello.
If we pass the Gate of S’Avanzada (which evokes in the imaginary an army of enemies that “advanced towards it”) and that of the Seziate, where the Viceroys comfortably “seziusu” – seated, were busy in deciding the fate of the prisoners, we enter Piazza Indipendenza.
It is nice that every toponym coined in the past, encloses a story, even if it is often unhappy. From here we can choose which road we want to take, and go down to the ramparts.
Is is impossible to get lost: the streets of Castello take you downhill towards the sea that fills the sight of blue and the smell of saltiness.
Bearing witness to the importance of this historic district, it is the fact that until the early 1900s Cagliari was called “Casteddu Mannu” (Big Castle), but also “Casteddu e’susu” (Castel standing up of the hill). It can be accessed from one of the many doors that were once closed at sunset to the premises to give silence to the nobles who lived there. A “lei leggia”, a bad law, they said at the time.
It is still possible to hear the saying “m’anti bogau a son’e corru” (they sent me off to the sound of a horn) among the inhabitants of Cagliari and, in fact, during the domination by the Spaniards (“cussos dimonios” – those devils), at sunset, the population was warned about the imminent closure of the castle doors with the sound of a horn. Since then, the inhabitants of Cagliari, still use that expression of more than 500 years old, to describe the situation, rather embarrassing, of those who are sent away badly. Who was found inside the walls was inexorably thrown down from the Bastion of Santa Croce. So it was the end of many Sardinians, and it seems that, once the victims reached the ground, the Spaniards pronounced the literal expression “stampax”, deformation of the Latin “stas in pax” and then “stay in peace”. It is not to be excluded that this phrase gave the name to the neighboring district of Stampace … in Sardinian Stampaxi.
In the past the neighborhood was much more vital. Today it livens up, especially during summer evenings, when undisturbed ghosts, known, nobles, notorious and commoners, flutter along the terraces and narrow streets, as it is expected in any self-respecting Castle. The life of the past was made of the shouts of “is piccioccheddusu” (the children), the serenades sang at the top of the ramparts, and of “is nomìngius“, nicknames, (… some unrepeatable) shouted in the street. All of this is still narrated in historical goldsmiths and lace and button shops in neighboring districts by a few elders. The charm of the past, lives still there, and it is felt in every street, Stretta, Lamarmora or Genovesi, where the history and independence of the Sardinian people were realized.