Barumini Nuraghe, or Su Nuraxi di Barumini, is one of the best examples of a nuraghe, the ancient stone towers found on the island of Sardinia. The nuragic complex of Barumini, which includes the nuraghe and the prehistoric nuragic village surrounding it, has been excavated and gives the visitor a good idea of what they were originally like. Su Nuraxi di Barumini is one of Sardinia’s top tourist sites and one of Italy’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
What is a Nuraghe?
Nuraghi (the plural of nuraghe) are Bronze Age megalithic towers that dot Sardinia. More than 7000 nuraghi can be found on the island but most are mainly ruins. Many of them are surrounded by nuragic villages. Little is known about these monuments, the nuragic people or their culture and although there are many theories, the purpose and use of these towers is not clear.
Barumini Nuraghe and Nuragic Village
The nuraghe, or stone tower, in Barumini’s nuragic complex dates about 1478 BC (based on carbon dating) and evidences suggests that the village was in use until the third century AD. The tower was modified several times over the years due to the need for defense from invaders. Originally the tower entrance was 7 meters above ground level. Currently the tower is 3 stories high.
Barumini Nuraghe is an imposing site. Walking through village toward the nuraghe, you’ll pass excavated remains of stone huts, public spaces, and walkways. Stairs have been erected up one side of the tower but to go inside to the bottom, you’ll have to climb down on narrow stone steps part of the way. From the inside there are several chambers off the main tower and looking up you can see the sky through the dome at the top.
How to Visit Barumini
Barumini Nuragic Complex is open daily starting at 9AM with closing times varying by time of year. Visitors must be accompanied by a guide, available at the entrance. Tours are scheduled every half hour and last about one hour. If you want to be assured of a guide who speaks English well, you may want to hire a guide in advance for your visit. I recommend Paola Loi, an excellent guide, who can also arrange a car and driver as well as visits to other nearby sites.
Tickets include the tour and admission to the interesting Casa Zapata museum and nuraghe in the town of Barumini and the Giovanni Lilliu Cultural Center (named after Professor Lilliu who led the excavations).
A small gift shop near the entrance has books and other items. Restrooms are located below the bar across the street from the parking area and entrance.
Barumini is about 40 miles north of Cagliari, the principal city in the south. The best way to get to Barumini is by car. From Cagliari, take the SS 131 to the SS 197. There is no public transportation to Su Nuraxi although there are buses from the city of Cagliari to the town of Barumini and from the town it’s about a mile walk.
- See its location on this Sardinia map
Many artifacts from the excavations are displayed in the archeological museum in the city of Cagliari.
See Su Nuraxi di Barumini video on the Sardegna tourist site.
Casa Zapata Nuraghe and Museum
Below the 16th century noble residence of the Zapata family, a nuraghe has been discovered and excavated. Su Nuraxi e’ Cresia and part of the village has been excavated and is visible from walkways and glass floors erected in the house. Some finds from Su Nuraxi di Barumini are on display inside the museum. Also at Casa Zapata is an interesting ethnographic museum displaying objects from everyday life of the past and a section about launeddas, one of Sardinia’s traditional musical instruments.
Casa Zapata opens daily at 10AM and is included with the Barumini Nuraghe ticket. It is totally accessible for people with reduced mobility.
Explore These Top Sardinia Archaeological Sites
- Nora is another fascinating site that can be visited as a day trip from Cagliari. The ancient town by the sea was officially founded by the Phoenicians in the 8th century BC but also has Punic and Roman ruins as well as an 11th century church nearby.
- Tharros is an ancient Phoenician-Roman Port possibly dating back as far as the Bronze Age. It’s beautifully located by the sea on the Sinis Peninsula near Oristano.
- Santa Cristina is a large site including a sacred well, nuraghe, and a 13th century church with little 17th century pilgrim houses. There’s also a good restaurant and bar.
- Monte d’Accodi, an unusual Neolithic site with a large ziggurat, is in the northwest about 40 minutes drive from the city of Alghero.
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