Oristano The Judicial Capital

The “Oristano, the judicial capital” itinerary includes a passage along streets which were once occupied by medieval walls and high towers. It is possible to follow the entire itinerary by noting passages both in and outside the walls.

The itinerary stretches from Piazza Roma to via Mazzini, passing through via Solferino, piazza Manno, via Cagliari, via Diego Contini and ending the journey with the study of the city model, exhibited in the Antiquarium Arborense Archaeological Museum, in order to provide visitors with an overview of the whole defense system of the medieval capital.


Torre di Mariano II

📍 Piazza Roma

Piazza Roma is the location of the Torre Mariano II (also known as Torre San Cristoforo). The first document in which the name Torre de Port’e Ponti appears dates back to 1500, while in municipal resolutions from the 16th-20th centuries, it is mentioned as Torre di San Cristoforo, from a retablo that was once kept inside.

The tower is the most significant element among the few remaining sections of the walls built by Arborense Giudice Mariano II at the end of the 13th century. The tower also enclosed the northern entrance to the city, connected with the road, already known in Roman times and used in the Middle Ages, which headed towards the north of the island.


Medieval city wall

📍 Via Sant’Antonio

The city walls, present today only as scattered ruins, had an irregularly circular perimeter, externally demarcated by today’s via Mazzini, Solferino, Cagliari and Contini alleys, arriving all the way to the current Piazza Roma. There were four entrance gates and 28 watchtowers along the entire wall. To the north, they opened to Porta Manna or Porta Ponti, the east hosted one of two minor doors, called Portixedda, with west having a small opening, coinciding with the present entrance of via Sant’Antonio with via Cagliari, called Porta Sant’Antonio. Finally, the walls closed with Porta Mari, the main entrance to the Giudicati city, from which it was possible to go south to Santa Giusta and south-west to the port and the sea.


Hospitalis Sancti Antoni

📍 Via Sant’Antonio

The hospital is mentioned in the will of the Giudice of Arborea Ugone II de Bas-Serra, dated 1335, in which the sovereign explicitly ordered compliance with the offer usually given to both the hospital of San’Antonio intra muros and to that of San Lazzaro extra muros: at the time, both structures were used for assisting the sick and lepers.

In the nineteenth century, the old premises of the Sant’Antonio hospital were assigned to the Pie Maestre Venerine, who opened the first Kindergarten (Asilo Infantile) in the city in 1866. Today, the building is the seat of the Municipal Library and Art Gallery.


Church and Monastery of San Francesco

📍 Via Duomo, 10

The convent of San Francesco, mentioned in the will of Giudice of Arborea Ugone II of 1335, witnessed important historical moments in the political and religious life of the Giudicato of Arborea.

In fact, the highest authorities of the Arborean kingdom used to meet in the refectory of friars, and in that same hall, the peace treaty was signed in 1388 between Eleonora and the Catalan-Aragonese king. The church features a particular location for the famous crucifix, known as Nicodemus, a polychrome sculpture mostly believed to be of Valencian school and certainly of Rhenish inspiration, dated 1300.


The Cathedral

📍 Piazza Duomo

An example of a suburban cathedral, the Duomo della Vergine Assunta today presents part of the annexed funerary area of the ancient church.

The first document certifying the existence of the church dedicated to Santa Maria is dated February 20th, 1192. The current Cathedral, built within the old structure in compliance with the designs of the elegant Piedmontese Baroque style in the years 1729-1745, houses the chapel with the relics of Sant’Archelaus, patron of the city and of the diocese.


Tower of Portixedda

📍 Via Mazzini 

The east gate, called Portixedda, is located in the corner where the north-east wall joins with the south-east one.

The tower, located in front of the current Via Mazzini, features a circular base on the side of which a door opens, for departures towards the village or territory called “la Maddalena”. The tower was built by Giudice of Arborea Mariano II between 1290 and 1293, at the time of the construction of the older towers of San Filippo (located in today’s Piazza Manno and demolished in 1907) and San Cristoforo (in the current Piazza Roma).


Castello giudicale, Torre di San Filippo and Porta Mari

📍 Piazza Manno

The residence of Arborean kings in Oristano, mentioned for the first time in 1263, was deep within the Judicial castle located in the southern sector of the city, limited on the outside by the southern walls, and on the inside, by the streets of San Saturno and Porta Mari, at a location where the latter extended, forming the square of Sa Majoria, the current Piazza Manno.

The castle and the adjacent Porta Mari, later used as barracks and prison, were demolished in the early 1900s to make way for the judicial prisons in the square.


Palazzo Parpaglia - Museo Antiquarium Arborense

📍 Via Parpaglia 37

The Archaeological Museum Antiquarium Arborense, housed in the historic Palazzo Parpaglia since 1992, is one of the few museums in Sardinia featuring an exhibition section dedicated to the blind and visually impaired, where it is possible to understand the details of some of the most beautiful artefacts exhibited in the Museum or part of the city’s cultural heritage.

The Arborense Antiquarium museum houses a vast archaeological collection of ancient items dating back to various eras, with a total wealth of about ten thousand cultural and archaeological assets.