The Castle of San Michele
The Castle of San Michele sits atop the homonymous hill, now surrounded by several buildings, but once isolated in the north-western territory outside Cagliari. Recent excavations have unearthed the remains of an early-medieval church, upon which the castle was built, equipped with towers and a moat, after the Aragonese conquest, starting in the early 14th century. The fortified complex then underwent significant changes, for defensive purposes and to adapt its walls to the evolution of warfare. The most important period in the life of the building, which is also richly documented, is perhaps the 15th century, when it served as the luxurious home of the Carroz family, to which its history is inextricably linked. Abandoned and left to decay, the castle became a hospital and quarantine station during the “Plague of Sant’Efisio” (1652-1656), and was fortified again during the French attacks of the 17th and 18th centuries. Used as barracks in the early 19th century, it was deleted from the list of fortifications in 1867 and sold to the Marquis Roberti di San Tommaso, who restored it and reforested part of the hill with Aleppo pines. In the 20th century it was occupied by the Navy and also used during World War II as a radio station. In the ‘70s it was decommissioned and the ownership of the building was transferred to the State and then to the Municipality of Cagliari that, in 1985, promoted an intervention funded by the Fondo per gli Investimenti e l’Occupazione (Investment and Employment Fund). Today the Castle, open to the public since 2001, survives with its three towers and curtain wall, surrounded by the moat, while its interior space has been deeply modified with steel and polycarbonate structures, which occupy it entirely. From noble residence to military radio station, the Castle has not lost its charm, enriched and surrounded by a large park. Since 2005, the Castle of San Michele has become a multipurpose art center, home to very important artistic events in recent years.