The origin of the name derives from two paritetic names: Thàthari and Sàssari. The first seems to indicate the origin of the founders of the first inhabited group, while the second, the oldest, originally indicated the vocation to gardens. It contains the sumera base sar “garden, vegetable garden” repeated to indicate its totality, “immense network of vegetable gardens”.
There is no certain information on the origins of the city, the most likely hypothesis is that it is the result of the progressive enlargement of one of the medieval villages that sprang up in the hills near the Gulf of Asinara. It is known for certain that in the one hundred and thirteen the judges of Torres began to stay there reinforcing it with a castle, the Castrum Sassaris or Saxi, which is already known in a document dated 1118.
Later he was involved in the struggle for dominance over Sardinia and, in the same sentence of Torres, between Pisa, Genoa and the Judges. The Ligurian Republic prevailed after the battle of Meloria (1284), stipulating an agreement in which Genoa undertook to protect and defend Sassari. The control of the city was entrusted to the Genoese podestà and to the Consiglio Maggiore, formed by a hundred citizens with the office for life. In reaction to the Genoese who wanted to reduce their autonomy, a pro-Aragonese group was formed in the city, but it was immediately clear that the new allies aimed at a rigid rule of the city. In 1325 there was therefore a rebellion repressed by the Aragonese who built a fortress to better monitor it.
The Aragonese were consolidated after a series of struggles only in 1420, while that circle of noble Spaniards was strengthened, benefiting from the fiefs granted to them. The control of the traffic in the north of Sardinia and the presence of the feudal lords became a source of well-being and power. In 1528 the plague carried at least 15 thousand deaths in the city alone and a vow was made to the Madonna for the end of the epidemic in 1582. Within the community, the categories of craftsmen and workers called Gremi began to gain importance. In the procession of August 14th, during which large Candlesticks are carried, with one for each category of workers, the solemn promise is renewed every year.
Like all of Sardinia, with the Treaty of London of 1718, it passed to Piedmont. Under the Savoy the city had notable benefits, but the reformist impulse loosened with Vittorio Amedeo III, leading the city to rebel in 1780. Within a few days the order was restored. A revolutionary decade followed, where the revolts were controlled by executions. He returned to shine in 1821 thanks to the government of Carlo Felice first and then Carlo Alberto, and in 1836, the permission to build outside the walls led the city to expand, so much so that in the early ‘900 there was a remarkable industrial development. Starting in 1891, in the political environment, three young lawyers, Enrico Berlinguer, Pietro Moro and Pietro Satta Branca, who founded La Nuova Sardegna, soon became the most widespread newspaper on the island. He passed the war period without many traumas, but had to endure a prolonged shortage of foodstuffs. After the war, Sassari reacted slowly and got a slow economic development, leading the city to become today the second most important city of Sardinia.
THINGS TO SEE
Traveling along the State Road 131 “Carlo Felice”, direction of Portotorres, exactly at Km 222.300, you turn into a dirt road that leads to the entrance gate of the archaeological area of Monte d’Accoddi. Unique in the Mediterranean basin, the monument is morphologically classified to a Mesopotamian zhqqurat, and is attributed to the culture of Abealzu-Filigosa. The huts surrounding the altar indicate that it was a place of worship. 75 meters long, including the access ramp, and was 37 meters high but currently 8 meters. Near the altar there are other monumental prenuragic artifacts: to the east a slab of 8.2 tons, perhaps it constituted a table for offers, on the opposite side a Menhir and two spheroidal stones, the largest weighs more than a ton and has a circumference about 5 meters, the second has a diameter of about 60 cm. The monument would express the religious representation of the Mesopotamians, who were convinced that heaven and earth joined together, by means of a mountain (Kodi in archaic Sardinian), while the divinity descended among men. The altar on the tower was therefore therefore the meeting point between man and the divine and probably a large number of animals were sacrificed there. Another hypothesis is that the symmetry of the altar would reproduce the stars of the Southern Cross, today not visible from the site because of the precession of the equinoxes, but that 5000 years ago was probably visible in the southern portion of the Sardinian sky.
Not far away are the necropolis of Su Crucifissu Mannu, with 22 Domus de Janas all multicellular, Ponte Secco with thirteen hypogeic tombs, Li Lioni, Sant’Ambrogio, Su Jaiu, Spina Santa and Marinaru, the dolmen and menhirs of Frades Muros, and about ten nuraghi. The necropolis of Montalè, consisting of six hypogea is located near the neighborhood of Li Punti, while near the village of Tottubella we can see the Nuraghe Rumanedda, of the single-tower type a tholos.
The Cathedral of St. Nicholas, called the cathedral, built in 1725 presents the Baroque facade of considerable value, with three niches above the rectangular portico, inside which there are statues of Saints Turritani (Gianuario, Proto and Gavino); The Church of San Pietro di Silki, annexed to the Franciscan convent and seat of the Gremi dei Massai; The Church of Sant’Andrea, the seat of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament and the Church of Santa Caterina are just some of the many religious architecture of considerable interest.
Civil architecture represents a significant asset for the city. Along Corso Vittorio Emanuele we can admire the Gothic Catalan houses of the fifteenth century, Palazzo d’Usini in Piazza Tola, today the Municipal Library, the ancient grain depot called Palazzo della Frumentaria, the Doge’s Palace currently the town hall, the Civic Theater, the Palaces of Giordano, Cugurra and of the Province in Piazza Italia are just some of the places of merit you can visit during your stay in the city.
The symbol of the city is the Fountain of Rosello, at the foot of the homonymous district and dominated by the fascist period bridge. It fed the aqueduct that supplied Porto Torres. The water flows from eight masks to the base, three on each major side and one on the smaller sides, and from the statues placed at the corners representing the 4 seasons. Added in 1828, they replace the original ones destroyed in the anti-feudal movements of 1795; of them, only the one depicting the Estate was saved, but it is very damaged and is currently kept inside the Palazzo Ducale. Equally the two crossed arches, at the top of which stood the statue of San Gavino, were rebuilt in 1843, while the statue is a copy of the original. Under the cruise a fifth statue, original, depicting a lying river god.
The Castle of Sassari, built by the Aragonese, was demolished in 1877 and in the area where it stood, was built La Marmora Barracks, seat of the Sassari Brigade with the homonymous square, under which, recent archaeological excavations have brought to light the foundations of the ancient structure. Starting from the XIII century, the city was surrounded by walls, interspersed with 36 towers but only 6 remain, including the only round tower also called Turondola. The perimeter had a development of 3 km and was divided by 4 doors; in 1600 another door was opened, between the Archbishopric and the University, and was called “New”.
The number of Museums in the city is noteworthy, as is the important national archaeological and ethnographic museum GA Sanna and the Masedu Museum of Contemporary Art, while the Museum of Sassari Arte (MUS’A) and the Museum of 20th and Contemporary Art present interesting exhibitions temporary collections with Sironi, Biasi and Sardinian art of the ‘900 and beyond.
In Sassari, the artisan tradition safeguards the symbols and the shapes in the drawings that adorn all the objects produced by the objects and jewelery, to clothing. In the historic center there are shops-laboratories where you can buy products made by local artisans, created with the same techniques used centuries ago but also with techniques developed in a more modern direction, thus transforming design and artifacts of surprising modernity.
For decades events, especially religious, have a strong tourist attraction. The Festha Manna takes place on August 14th. It renews the promise to Our Lady with the traditional “Faradda di li candareri” (Descent of the candlesticks). Every year on Ascension Sunday (penultimate Sunday in May), since 1711, in homage to King Philip V of Spain, La Cavalcata sarda with a parade on foot and on horseback from groups from all over Sardinia, is one of the most important events on the island.
Varied cuisine of Sassari, especially dishes based on vegetables such as fabadda, very thick soup made with dried beans, cabbage, fennel, pork rind and pork. Among the main courses, we find the cordula with peas, the tripe cooked in tomato sauce and an important place occupy the snails, often called snails, in various sizes. The typical dish is the zimino, that is the entrails of the veal as a diaphragm, intestine, heart, liver and spleen, cooked in a grill on the grill. The typical dish “adopted” is the Genoese fainé. Among the desserts, in addition to those typical of the island such as papassini, tiricche and seadas, are typical of the city and surroundings the long fritters called “li frisgiori longhi” or “sas frigjolas” made mainly during the carnival, fried and based on flour, water, sugar, aniseed and grated orange peel.