© Sardegna Turismo / unknown
© Sardegna Turismo / unknown

History, architecture & fun in Tuili, Sardinia's hidden gem

4 minutes to read

With my story today, I accompany you on a trip to discover Tuili, a hidden gem in Sardinia. It is one of the most beautiful villages in Sardinia, and it is located at the foot of the Giara plateau, in the Marmilla region, less than an hour's drive away from Cagliari.

Parco della Giara Escursioni, Tuili
Parco della Giara Escursioni, Tuili
Parco della Giara, 09029 Giara di Gesturi SU, Italia

The village of Tuili amazes and enchants visitors, with the simplicity of its architecture and its perfectly preserved historical center.

Tuili's history since its origins

Tuili's history dates back to the Nuragic era; this is proved by the numerous archaeological finds, which are now kept in the Archaeological Museum of Cagliari. Finds from later periods, dating back to the Carthaginian and Roman eras, tell of an assiduous frequentation of peoples in this territory. In the Middle Ages, Tuili belonged to the "Giudicato di Arborea" and the Marmilla curator, with a strategic role at a regional level due to its position. Subsequently, Tuili was an important fiefdom, until 1836, when it became an autonomous municipality. Tuili is currently a typical rural village, whose historical center is crossed by the main street, overlooked by the typical Campidanese style houses.

© Villa Asquer / Maurizio Mulas
© Villa Asquer / Maurizio Mulas
National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari
National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari
Piazza Arsenale, 1, 09124 Cagliari, Italy

Campidanese houses

These houses are beautiful and present very different decorative and architectural elements. The manor houses, belonging to the landowners of the ancient Spanish nobility, are built of stone and characterized by a covered porch ("sa lolla") and significant entrance portals, with coats of arms and noble friezes. The simpler houses, while maintaining the same typology, were instead built with ancient mud bricks.

© Mapio.net / unknown
© Mapio.net / unknown

The noble villas

At the center of the village, there are the Villa Pitzalis and Villa Asquer, two beautiful neoclassical buildings built in the early 1800s by the famous architect Gaetano Cima from Cagliari. In particular, the complex of Villa Asquer consists of two areas: the noble area, which currently houses the Olive and Oil Museum, and the Museum of Sardinian Musical Instruments (both can be visited by reservation); and the area dedicated to rural works. The Olive and Oil Museum illustrates the olive tradition through ancient pictures, stories, and agricultural tools, including a 19th-century oil mill and machinery from the second half of the 20th century. The Museum of Sardinian Musical Instruments is located on the first floor.

Villa Asquer, Tuili
Villa Asquer, Tuili
Piazza S. Pietro, 09029 Tuili SU, Italia

The complex occupies an entire block and is located in a panoramic point of the well-kept historic center: it is overlooking the square of the Church of San Pietro, from which a charming stone arch separates it.

© Villa Asquer / Maurizio Mulas
© Villa Asquer / Maurizio Mulas

The churches

The two churches inside the village of Tuili are also beautiful and represent two examples of deeply different religious constructions. In fact, while the church dedicated to Sant'Antonio is built in the Spanish colonial style, the parish church of San Pietro is in the Catalan Gothic style, and subsequently modernized in the following centuries.

© Chiese di Sardegna / Sergio Pianti
© Chiese di Sardegna / Sergio Pianti

A jewel of Renaissance art

The famous altarpiece by the "Maestro di Castelsardo," executed in 1500 on commission from the Lords of Tuili, and preserved inside the parish church of San Pietro in Tuili, is one of the greatest expressions of the Renaissance in Sardinia. This altarpiece is located in the first chapel on the right. It represents the various aspects of Saint Peter's life, in addition to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, and a Madonna with the child. The work consists of oil-painted wooden tables separated by gilded frames, measures five and a half meters in height, and three and a half in width. In the chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist, there is another altarpiece by an unknown author, called the Pentecost Retable, dating back to 1500.

© vistanet / unknown
© vistanet / unknown

Tuili's economy is still strongly linked to agriculture, pastoralism, the cultivation of wheat and olives. But recently, the tourism sector has also been growing rapidly, through the enhancement of the territory and its naturalistic attractions - such as the Giara plateau, which is ideally offered for hiking. From the top of Giara, you can enjoy a wonderful view of the landscape, up to the Nuragic village of Barumini.

Discover the surroundings of Tuili

After visiting Tuili and walking on the Giara plateau to admire the beautiful ponies and all the surrounding ecosystem, you can visit "Sardegna in Miniatura." It is an amusement park that allows you to ''travel'' throughout Sardinia and discover all the attractions of this splendid region, perfectly reproduced in scale.

Parco Sardegna in Miniatura, Tuili
Parco Sardegna in Miniatura, Tuili
Parco Sardegna in Miniatura, Sud Sardegna, Ιταλία

After this excursion to Tuili, Sardinia's hidden gem, you can visit the Giara plateau and have a typical snack of salami, cheese, and wine at a refreshing point. You can also buy local products, such as olive oil, wine, saffron, honey, cheese, and salami, to take home a taste of Sardinia. History, art, nature, food, what else should one ask for?!


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The author

Mara Noveni

Mara Noveni

My name is Mara, I am Italian, born in Rome and raised in the wonderful Tuscany. Always in love with reading and writing, I completed this way of expressing myself through photography, especially street and travel photography. Thanks to my many and long travel experiences, I have enriched my mind and my inner life.

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