The fate of the castle after the Carroz family
Today the castle of San Michele is the result of a functional recovery of a building that for centuries underwent continuous alterations and changes in its use, interspersed with long periods of abandonment.
Guglielmo Centelles, having inherited the building from Violante in 1511, granted its property to the Kingdom of Sardinia: this was the end of the association between the castle and the Carroz family.
In 1655, a plague epidemic arrived in Cagliari, having already spread in the north of the island for three years. The city ran for cover in all ways, invoking, among other things, the protection of Sant’Efisio. In addition to the construction of a real hospital for infectious diseases in Sant’Elia, the castle of San Michele was also identified as a place for quarantine for those arriving in Cagliari from the inland.
News about our manor thinned out until the end of the 18th century, when it was fortified again to counter the imminent attack of the French army. The castle, conceived in medieval times to resist attacks from cold weapons only, was totally unsuitable for defense against firearms. The walls were thus thickened and, in place of the ancient battlements, large embrasures were built to place cannons for defense.
In the first half of the 19th century, the castle was inhabited again, becoming a hospital for war invalids, only to be abandoned and definitively excluded in 1867 from the list of active military fortifications.
At the end of the century, Marquis Edmondo Roberti di San Tommaso became its owner and subsequently the castle underwent its first restoration, while the pine forest still present today was planted on the hill.
The last activity of the castle was once again of military type: after World War II, the Navy Radio Station was installed, which will remain there until the 1970s and for which anti-aircraft shelters were built at the base of the hill. In the meantime, starting in the 1960s, the hill was partly “eaten” up by the limestone quarries that fed the new neighborhoods in the city.
Once the radio station was decommissioned, the castle was abandoned again until 1988 when, following the acquisition by the City of Cagliari, it was finally subjected to an organic restoration that will lead it to be opened, in 2001, as the Centro Comunale d’Arte e Cultura Castello di San Michele [Municipal Art and Culture Center]. Today, the ancient home of the Carroz family houses numerous cultural events and exhibitions.
- In Serdiana, 20 kilometers from Cagliari, there is “Castello Roberti”, which belonged to Marquis Roberti di San Tommaso who acquired the castle of San Michele in the second half of the 19th century
- The embrasures opened during the 1700s for defense with firearms are still visible in the southern curtain wall, where the new access to the castle was created
- The museum space was created with lightweight steel and polycarbonate structures, so as to impact as little as possible on the pre-existing ruin