(Photo by sardiniapost.it)
On the left bank of what is the largest Sardinian river, the Tirso, near its mouth rises the town of Oristano. The origin of its name is uncertain: some attribute it to the word "arista" (ear), because of its rich soil suitable for cultivation, some others to the alteration of the word "auristatmnum" and some to the meeting of the Greek paola "oros" and pond, of which the fertile plain is rich. Or it probably took its name from the princess Aristana who moved there from Tharros and founded the colony.
It was transformed from a small village into an important center when in 1070 it was elected capital of the Giudicato d'Arborea after the now-decayed Tharros was abandoned due to Saracen raids. The new town was in fact more protected due to natural barriers such as the ponds of Santa Giusta and the bifurcation of the Tirso River, which pass one to the north and one to the south of the town. During the Middle Ages there were numerous wars between the Arborensians and the other Sardinian kingdoms; between the 13th and 14th centuries the city's fortifications were improved by raising the city walls by fifteen meters and building some 28 towers.
It was acquired by the Aragonese in 1420, who turned it into a marquisate. The title of marquis of Oristano still belongs to the King of Spain.
Like the rest of the island from 1720 it passed into the hands of the Savoy family.