Apart from the capital city, it is the most highly-populated town in the metropolitan area of Cagliari, in southern Sardinia, and it is a town with ancient artisan traditions and a splendid coastline
Quartu Sant’Elena located four miles East from Cagliari on the ancient Roman road, is a city and comune in the Metropolitan City of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. It is the third biggest city of Sardinia with a population of 71,216 as of 2015.
Quartu Sant’Elena is the third largest town on the Island, after Cagliari and Sassari. Once an agricultural centre, today its wine-growing production is still alive and it is renowned for its Malvasia wine. Its jewellery made using gold filigree is also famous, as is its production of breads and homemade pastries: candelaus, pabassinas and piricchitus. Its territory is located between: the Campidano plain, the mountains and the woods of the Oasis of Sette Fratelli and the Molentargius-Saline park, which you can visit on foot or by bike and admire greater flamingo colonies.
The first traces of human presence in Quartu are from the Prenuragic, Nuragic and Phoenician period, as attested by findings in Cepola, Geremeas, Is Mortorius and Separassiu localities. Roman findings were found near Sant’Andrea villa, a graveyard at S. Martino and a few tombs at Simbirizzi.
In the 11th century AD Sardinia was divided into four Giudicati: Quartu, which included fourteen villas, belonged to the Giudicato of Cagliari. In 1066 Quartu was given to Cagliari’s archbishop and then went back to Judge Torchitorio II of Cagliari. During the Aragonese rule, Quartu suffered from famines, plague, malaria and continuous raids from Saracen pirates, following the general path of decay of the whole of Sardinia.
In 1793 the soldiers of a French fleet landed on the coast of Quartu, with the intention of conquering the whole island; the people of the city, led by Antonio Pisanu, assailed the French and repelled them after a bloody battle.
There are five churches situated in the city. The most important are the churches of Sant’Elena Imperatrice (dating before 1589, but now in neoclassical style and recently proclaimed “Basilica“), Santa Maria Cepola (before 1089) and Sant’Agata.
There is also Sa dom’e farra, a large peasant house of the 17th century with various rooms, objects and tools used by the peasant society.
There are numerous nuraghi in the vicinity.
Quartu has a long, shallow coastline. It also looks onto the pond of Molentargius, where flamingos and Sultan roosters nest.
The economy is based on the tertiary industry. Quartu also produces excellent wines, bread and cakes. Although the city is not extremely big, there are many shopping opportunities: Carrefour, E. Leclerc-Conad, Iper Pan.
The most important religious festivity is dedicated to Saint Helena and is celebrated on 14 September.