Want to know the things to do and see in Sassari, so you don't miss the best of this North Sardinia city and its territory? Here are our top 10.
Today we are in the northwestern part of Sardinia, in an area inhabited since the Paleolithic. Here lies the great protagonist of this article: Sassari, the most important city in the north of the island.
Sassari surprises us not only with the beauty of its monuments and territory but also with its folk festivals. An exceptional place to discover, full of fascination in every sense!
In this article you will find a selection of 10 things to do and see in and around Sassari that will make you fall in love. Shall we start?
10 things to do in Sassari: an overview of the city
From a purely administrative point of view, the province of Sassari covers the whole of northern Sardinia, making it the largest on the island and in Italy.
Here, the terrain is predominantly hilly. The wind blows and keeps the atmosphere of the city cool, which is about 200 metres above sea level, in a particularly strategic location for urban and social development. Already after a first glance, you can say that some of the most beautiful seaside resorts in Italy and Europe are not too far from Sassari, which, however, also has more to offer.
As far as popular festivals and events are concerned, every year, thanks to the 'Salude & Trigu' programme, promoted by the Sassari Chamber of Commerce, tourists can supplement their seaside holiday with wonderful experiences in contact with local culture.
So let's see what are the 10 things you absolutely must do and see during a visit to the city.
10. Taste the local products
One thing to do as soon as you arrive in an incredible place like Sassari is to taste the local cuisine. Local restaurants and bars satisfy all palates and you can easily go from cheap bistros to exceptional places, with great elegance and refinement. Poor cuisine, however, reigns supreme. A local speciality not to be missed is fainé, also known as Farinata Sarda, characterised by its intense aroma and made with simple elements such as chickpea flour, extra virgin olive oil, eggs and black pepper. A delicacy! Other traditional dishes include snails (in the local language 'Ciogghitta'), monzette (a variety of snails), favata (a soup made with dried broad beans) and zimino (made with veal entrails).
9. Having an aperitif in Piazza d'Italia
The 'aperitivo in piazza' (aperitif in the square) is an all-Italian tradition, and of course, it applies here as well. Let's also add that the largest square in the city is a place of great visual impact, certainly unique of its kind in all of Sardinia. The true center of the city's society, it extends for almost one hectare and is surrounded by monumental buildings of the second half of the nineteenth century.
At the center of the square, there is a statue dedicated to King Vittorio Emanuele II, inaugurated in 1899. Good ice cream or even an aperitif is always a pleasant experience, but in this elegant square even more so.
This square is also the starting point of Sassari's other great traditional festival, the 'Faradda di li Candareri', which in Sassari is Festha Manna ('great feast').
In short, stopping for a little refreshment is almost an obligation as well as a pleasure.
8. Exploring the city's most important architecture
Sassari is a city full of beautiful architecture to be discovered, and art lovers will also find bread for their teeth.
The Baroque jewel of Sassari is the cathedral of San Nicola, set in the old town. It appears almost suddenly as you walk through the narrow streets of this part of the city and captivates you with its statues, columns and ornaments.
Also beautiful is the Church of Santa Maria di Betlem, mainly Romanesque but also rich in elements of different styles. Outside is clear the gothic influence and also a bit orientalizing, while the inside is almost baroque. The mixture typical of island towns and Southern Italy makes visiting these places charming and exciting.
Another point of interest is worth mentioning, located outside the city walls. The Rosello Fountain, in late Renaissance style, is the symbol of Sassari and a unique monument on the island.
7. Discovering Sardinian painting at the city's National Picture Gallery
Suppose you want your list of things to do in Sassari to be full of visits to cultural points of interest. In that case, we recommend venturing to one of the most beautiful museums in the city and the whole of Sardinia. It is located in the context of a monumental Jesuit building of the sixteenth century. The Pinacoteca Nazionale (National Picture Gallery) of Sassari houses an extensive collection of paintings covering a wide time, insisting on the period between the Middle Ages and the early 20th century.
In those extraordinary rooms, there are great masterpieces of great technical expertise. You can admire works by Giovanni Lanfranco or even Guercino, Flemish, French or Spanish landscapes, and still lifes, while a significant part of the collection is dedicated to Sardinian art of the twentieth century. A real gem for art scholars and lovers of culture.
6. Visiting the Monserrato Park
The outskirts of Sassari also deserve to be known and explored. For example, Monserrato park is a beautiful green area of the city in the south-western suburbs, covering a large area of over 5 hectares.
The park lies along a natural basin and is ideal for a walk or just to relax immersed in the green. It is home to various plant species such as linden trees, holm oaks, carob trees, cypresses and pines; coolness and shady areas are guaranteed.
Very scenic architectural presences are present within the structure as terraces, orchards, turrets, or even tanks. It is worth a visit.
5. Immerse yourself in the culture and folklore of the city
Sardinia is very attached to its festivals and traditions, and Sassari is no different. These festivities are fascinating for those who visit the island and the Sardinians, who never fail to participate. The Sassari Chamber of Commerce is one of the most active in Italy in promoting events that reveal this fascinating side of Sardinia linked to traditions, customs and traditions. For this reason, it has created the 'Salude & Trigu' programme, a container that aims to publicise events throughout northern Sardinia and the beautiful territory in which they take place.
We mention some of the most important ones. The 'Faradda di li Candareri' or 'Discesa dei Candelieri' is a religious festival of incredible social and tourist value. It is attended by over 100,000 people annually and is part of the Unesco Heritage circuit of the 'Great Shoulder Machines of Italy'.
'La Ciogghitta d'Oro' is an event that is now part of Sassari life and whose protagonist is one of the cornerstones of the local cuisine: the snails.
Popular festivals are also often an excellent opportunity to admire traditional Sardinian costumes and masks - two of the most fascinating and evocative elements of the island's ancient culture - as is the case with the 'Cavalcata Sarda'.
If you are wondering about the best things to do or see in Sassari and the whole of Sardinia, these events are not to be missed!
4. Things to do around Sassari: follow in the footsteps of the ancient Nuragic civilisation
Sardinia is littered with the traces of its millenary people. One thing you can do in various parts of the island, including the province of Sassari, is to 'chase' and discover the beauty of the ancient Nuragic civilisation.
If you find yourself in these parts, you can take the opportunity to make an archaeological visit to the great Valley of the Nuraghi, located about 40 km south of Sassari.
The interesting archaeology of the island offers ruins of prehistoric Nuraghi and Domus de Janas, and in this area, there is also one of the most important archaeological sites of the island, the Nuraghe Santu Antine. A must-do trek, to be included in the list of what to do or see in the Sassari area.
3. Going to the sea in Stintino and visit the National Park of Asinara
The time has come to reveal the best things to do or see in the province of Sassari and North Sardinia. Leaving the city, and going north we meet the towns of Stintino and Porto Torres, which are the main access by sea for excursions to the island of Asinara, a true paradise of nature.
To enter the island is helpful to rely on authorized operators since the entrances are always contingent on protecting a delicate landscape. However, the services to reach this National Park are quite regular in spring/summer, with greater insistence from May to October, the best period for a visit.
The territory you are going to explore is mainly mountainous and the points of interest not to be missed are the Fornelli prison, Cala d'Oliva, the viewpoint of Punta Della Scomunica, and the beach of Cala Sabina.
2. Visit Gallura and the Costa Smeralda
If you want to take an excursion to one of the most beautiful areas of Sardinia, you cannot miss a place that is now part of the province of Sassari.
We are on the Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast), and the name alone brings to mind the most iconic images of Sardinia, the white sands of the beaches (in photo: the Capriccioli beach) and the emerald green sea. A truly magical land inhabited since ancient times. In its inland areas away from the coast, you can see the wildest Sardinia, made of green and lush hills.
Moving northward, the coast of Gallura becomes even more rebellious, wild, and no-frills. Are you ready to lose yourself in nature?
1. Go up to Palau to discover the Bear Rock
We have come to the end of our top 10 of things to do or see during a holiday in Sassari in magical Sardinia. Last but not least is the promontory of Capo d'Orso near the beautiful town of Palau, so-called because of the presence of the large rock eroded by the wind that recalls the image of a bear.
From here you can enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of the La Maddalena Archipelago, another heavenly place to explore both in summer and winter. Nature in these parts is truly spectacular!