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A brief history
Sassari is the second largest city in Sardinia in terms of number of inhabitants (129,000). It rises up on a vast calcareous plane that slopes gently down towards the gulf of Asinara.
The town is the capital of the province by the same name, as well as its administrative headquarters.

It has been inhabited since Neolithic times, and is characterised by many nuragic complexes dotted around the region. Mount Accodi, a prehistoric altar built in 2400 B.C. and discovered in 1952, is just one of the important archaeological findings of the area, and is within easy reach of Sassari, along the 131 dual carriageway, in the direction of Porto Torres.
In Roman times, Sassari was the immediate inland of the powerful and active Roman colony of Turris Libisonis (today's Porto Torres).
Despite the many ancient archaeological findings, the first specific reference to the town was discovered in the condaghi (ancient registers or notarial deeds) of the monastery of San Pietro in Silki. It was first named in an act dated 1131, as jordi de Sassaro. We find a second reference to the town in 1135, when the church of Sancti Nicolai de Tathari is mentioned.
In the XIII century A.D., the town, guided by the authorities, was first allied with Pisa, and later with Genoa. It was during this time that there was a significant increase in the population, and also during this time that considerable architectonic work was carried out.
The town was fortified and despite the works that have been made on the original building over the years, we can still make out some parts of the original city walls today.
The Aragonese domination determined a period of great social and economic crisis, and Sassari, amongst pestilence and disorder, gradually lost its population, only to rise again with the peace in 1420, when it acquired once more its status as town of reference for northern Sardinia.
Traces of the Spanish passing can be seen in the Platha de Cothinas (today's street: Corso Vittorio Emanuele) that runs from one end of the town to the other, or in the town hotel, and the Town Hall.

During the XVI and XVII centuries, there was a suffered resistance to the Saracen invasions that, as was also the case in other areas of Sardinia, blocked the full development of the town. In 1562, the Jesuits brought about the foundation of the college "Studi di San Giuseppe", which in 1617 then became the University of Sassari – the first university of Sardinia, and amongst the oldest in Italy. Within the complex, we would mention the University Library, with its many ancient manuscripts, including the previously mentioned Condaghe di S. Pietro di Silki.

The historic centre, architectonic examples
The historic centre of Sassari is amongst the largest of Sardinia. We can cross the ancient Platha, and head towards the most characteristic heart of the city. The beautiful fountain Fontana del Rosello, which we pass as we take viale Umberto near to the Chiesa della Trinità church, is well worth seeing. Built in 1605, in late renaissance style, the fountain, also known as Garusello, has since become the symbol of Sassari. The presence of the Savoia family marked, as from 1718, the start of a new architectonic period. Some of the most important monuments of this period include the Piazza d'Italia with its majestic Palazzo della Provincia and the neo-Gothic Palazzo Giordano. The elegant piazza which is still today the hub of the centre and local meeting point, is introduced by an evocative portico characterised by the typical bars.

During the second half of the XIX century, the architectonic profile of the centre became more animated, also thanks to the dynamic influence of eclecticism, which created a new impulse towards the hybrid experimentation of art nouveau.
Of the many rich and varied shapes of the "architectonic landscape" provided by the classic itinerary, on foot from Porta Sant'Antonio (near the station) up to Corso Vittorio, we should mention the Civic Theatre (1830) fashioned on the form of the Turin Carignano Theatre, and the wonderful Cathedral of San Nicola: built in XII Romanesque style, and reworked several times, particularly between 1480 and 1505. The Aragonese chapel through which you can access the CathedralTreasureMuseum, is truly beautiful. Other places that should not be missed, include Palazzo Tola which houses an important library, and the G. Sanna National Archaeological and EthnographicMuseum.

Festivals and tradition
Amongst the most important events, we would mention the Festha Manna (the large festival) also known as the Faradda di li Candareri (the descent of the candlesticks) held on the 14th August. This popular religious festival evokes thanks to the Madonna for her protection during the terrible pestilences that invaded the city. Seven candlesticks standing three metres tall, are carried by eight men. They represent the corporations (gremi) and leave from the church "chiesa del Rosario" heading to the church of Santa Maria di Betlem. The procession is accompanied by the vibrant rhythmic beating of drums.
The festival also includes tasting of typical products, dances and fireworks. There is another important event that takes place on the sixth Sunday after Easter: the "Cavalcata Sarda" (Sardinian Horse riding). Tradition has it that this is either a celebration of the victory of the Sardinian and Pisa forces against the Saracens or, according to other sources, it re-evokes the equestrian processions that the noblemen of the city organised in the honour of King Philip V of Bourbon.

We should also mention the typical food products of the area: the delicious fainè – a lasting tradition from the long stay by the Genoese, is well worth trying.
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