Cagliari Amphitheatre - History and Facts | History Hit

Cagliari Amphitheatre

Casteddu/Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Cagliari Amphitheatre is a rock-hewn Roman amphitheatre dating to the second century AD.

Peta Stamper

01 Jun 2021

About Cagliari Amphitheatre

Cagliari Amphitheatre is a rock-hewn Roman amphitheatre likely dating to the 2nd century AD in Sardinia, Italy.

The origins of Cagliari Amphitheatre are obscure, though it is thought to have been built around the 2nd century AD and was certainly in use by the mid-3rd century, as referenced by ancient authors. Cut directly into the rock face and augmented with additional marble construction, the amphitheatre would have been used for a number of events, including gladiatorial games and public executions.

With the fall of the Roman Empire, Cagliari Amphitheatre fell into disuse and, like many other Roman constructs, was partially pillaged for materials over the centuries.

Today Cagliari Amphitheatre is open as a tourist attraction as well as hosting local musical events.

Cagliari Amphitheatre history

Between the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, the builders carved into the bedrock the bleachers, arena, and corridors to form the Cagliari Amphitheatre. The seating was divided into 3 orders: imea, media and summa cavea, reserved for different social classes – the senatores, equites, plebeians and slaves.

Along the corridors would have been cages for keeping wild animals to release into the games arena. The amphitheatre was the Roman’s most popular entertainment spot where you would go to see events including fights between men and animals, the execution of death sentences and gladiatorial fights. Cagliari’s amphitheatre would have been able to seat an audience of 10,000, all clamouring for blood.

From the 5th century AD, the amphitheatre was no longer in use and so was used as a free stone quarry under the Byzantines, Republic of Pisa and House of Aragon. It was not until the 19th century that the amphitheatre site came to be owned by the commune of Cagliari, and was excavated by the linguist and priest, Giovanni Spano.

Cagliari Amphitheatre today

For only 3€ standard entry, you can visit the remains of one of Cagliari’s most important public buildings of the city’s Roman period, dramatically cut into the hillside. While ongoing restorations prevent people from fully exploring the ruins, a path trails around the site allowing you a close view of the ancient amphitheatre.

Getting to Cagliari Amphitheatre

Located in the city centre, Cagliari Amphitheatre is easily reached via public transport. Buses 8, 8A, 10 and 20 stop along the Via Buon Cammino just across from the site. For those driving, there is also parking along the Viale Luigi Giussani open 24 hours and just around the corner from the amphitheatre.