THE CHURCHES
to discover the historical places of Sardinia

The church of St. Maria Acquas (Sardara)

In front of the Antiche Terme di Sardara there is the church of St. Maria Acquas – a diocesan sanctuary. It was built around the eleventh and twelfth century, even if there are no definite dates or historical documents regarding its building. However, the worship of the Holy Virgin in this area started perhaps centuries ago. It is thought even before the year one thousand.

 

The Sanctuary of St. Maria Acquas (Sardara)

The statue of the Holy Virgin, which still lies within the church, dates back to the sixteenth century, perhaps even to the fifteenth. The statue was once hidden due to external attacks, fraudulent incursions and raids. Its following recovery led to the subsequent restoration of the church around the eighteenth century. The small church has been renovated with the passage of time and so has the statue of the Holy Virgin named Holy Virgin of the Waters, precisely because we are located near the thermal baths that characterize the area.

 

The Church of St. Gregorio (Sardara)

The church of St. Gregorio is in the old town center, on the upper part of Sardara. There used to be a nuragic sanctuary with a well temple in the Church of St. Anastasia . There are still traces of Punic and Roman settlements around the area .There was a Roman station in St. Maria acquas that was located along the main thoroughfare between north and south. The presence of spring waters led to the installation of thermal baths that are still active today. During the Giudicale Age the territory was controlled from the castle of Monreale, situated on the border between the kingdom of Cagliari and the kingdom of Arborea. The church of St. Gregorio, is characterized by fine architectural details and is one of the most intact and significant Gothic monuments in Sardinia. Although there is no documentary evidence, the building can be ascribed to the first quarter of the fourteenth century. The facing walls are made of limestone and volcanic stones. The church plan is single-naved with a wooden roof and an apse on the S / E. Although this last one has a semicircular profile inside, it appears externally squared. This is due to a compromise between the well-established Romanesque tradition and the intent to adhere to the new Italian Gothic forms. The gabled façade is divided into three sections by pilaster strips and two strong corner pilasters. In the central section there is the architraved portal surmounted by a pointed arch drain and provided with molded jambs. There is a Gothic rose window in line with the portal that is surmounted by a series of arches on corbels. A belfry with two narrow lights completes the facade. In the northern side there is a portal with a pointed arch rib. In the apse there is a wisely restored ogival mullioned window.

 

The Church of St. Severa (Gonnosfanadiga)

It is said that it was originally built by a group of Christian slaves condonated ‘ad metalla’ by the Roman Empire, in fact a foundry was active in the area for the processing of metals extracted in mines. The church can therefore be dated to the first centuries of Christianity, but there is almost no trace of this plant, it currently has a Latin cross plan, and on the three sides it is surrounded by a portico, probably added in the seventeenth century. At the centre of the nave there is a circular dome; on the original facade there is a bell tower, to which an ancient bronze bell, from 1388, is fixed during the feast of the Saint.

The ancient statue of the Saint preserved inside the church, cannot be removed from the niche of the high altar and is closed by a stained glass window, because several centuries ago the population invoked the Saint with a procession against drought, moving the statue. Immediately the desired effect was had, but the water that came down was so much that it turned into a flood. When the statue was returned to its place the rain ceased, and since then it has not been moved.

 

The Church of St. Pietro (Tuili)

The building houses inside a sixteenth-century altarpiece of the Master of Castelsardo, called Retablo di Tuili or Retablo di San Pietro, a work considered the masterpiece of Renaissance painting in Sardinia. The building was erected in the fifteenth century and consecrated on May 7, 1489. Little remains of the original factory, in Catalan Gothic style, as the church was extensively remodelled in the following centuries. The facade has double inflection crowning. On the left rises the square bell tower, surmounted by a glome on an octagonal drum. The interior of the church, with a rectangular plan, has a single nave, three chapels on each side and an elevated presbytery. The nave, the presbytery and five chapels have a barrel vault, while the third chapel on the left, accessible via an ogival arch on carved capitals, has a stellar ribbed cross vault; this environment is what remains of the original fifteenth-century building. The church houses interesting marble furnishings, such as the balaustrade of the presbytery, built between 1808 and 1811, the Baroque pulpit of 1783 and the high altar. The latter was commissioned at the end of the eighteenth century from the marblers Domenico and Santino Franco by the rector Felice Maria Mura and placed in the presbytery in 1800; it is in late Baroque style, made of white marble with inlays, decorated with bas-reliefs and the statues of St. Peter in the chair, in the centre, and of Apostles Paul and Andrew at the sides.

 

The Church of St. Pietro (Villamar)

Made in the second half of the thirteenth century. in Romanesque-Gothic style, it has classic construction details of the Romanesque period with elements of evident Arab influence, probably due to the use of workers from Spain.

The church, originally built with a single absidate nave, was later enlarged with a second minor nave on the left side, always absidata. Built of sandstone and vulcanite, it has the classic round arches adorned with peducchi with various decorations, while a bell tower with double bell towers surmounts the main portal.

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