Monday 8th July 2019
The day started with what should have been a train journey from Alghero to Sassari, but no, we had another bus replacement service. I seems as though the narrow gauge railway is closed so that they can replace it with a tram service.
Sassari is the second city – or as some might say – Sardinia’s equivalent to Birmingham. On arriving in Sassari we walked in 36ºC heat [almost 97ºF] to our hotel. Google maps said it was a seven minute walk but it took significantly longer than that and was most definitely not “mostly flat” as claimed.
Sassari was a stop-over for us rather than a destination in its own right on our itinerary but despite the heat, Matilda insisted on going out to see the Piazza Duomo and the cathedral which is dedicated to Saint Nicholas.
We passed through Piazza d’Italia . . .
. . . where the arched porticoes reminded us of an enjoyable trip to Turin and recreating scenes from the film The Italian Job.
Then on to the cathedral.
The cathedral appears bright in the sunshine with clean almost modernist lines from the direction we approached and looks as though it has recently been cleaned [see photo at the top].
The majority of the decoration is on the striking ornate baroque façade which has three distinct orders [levels].
The lowest comprises three arches including the larger central entrance arch, though you now have to enter via a side door, paying a small fee of €3 each.
Above each arch is a niche decorated with one of the statues of Sassari’s martyrs [Gavino, Proto and Gianuario]. The top order has a large pediment and a single niche, with a statue of St Nicholas. Looking down approvingly on all this glory is a sculpture depicting the Christian God.
Inside the basilica, the white vaulted ceiling rises majestically upwards and a painting of the Madonna oversees the altar.
There was nothing further on Matilda’s list of culture and we desperately needed to replace lost fluids so stopped for a local birra alla spina.
The cathedral was undoubtedly beautiful and there may be sights we did not find but neither of us are drawn to return to Sassari, as we are with many of the other places we visit. We struggled to find a restaurant, but we were probably wanting to eat earlier than the locals who had had a siesta between 13:00 and 17:00 while we were walking round the sights.
Eventually we found a pizzeria near our hotel – see Dish of the day – where we were the only customers other than the friendly helpful waitress and her own family. We may have been a bit of an intrusion but she gave no indication that we were. The pizzas were tasty and large and neither of us managed to quite finish ours.