Oristano, Sardegna

Oristano (Aristanis in the Sardinian language) (OR) is situated in the Campidano Plain, in western Sardinia. The city can be reached through State Road 131, the main road crossing Sardinia from North to South, or following the coastline road 292 Alghero-Oristano, which offers views of great natural beauty through a number of sea towns - Bosa, Tresnuraghes, Santa Caterina - and the magnificent Is Arenas pinewood.


  • Population: about 30,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal codes: 09170
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0783
  • Patron Saint: Sant'Archelao, celebrated on 13 February
  • Frazioni & Localities: Donigala, Massama, Nuraxinieddu, Silì, Torre Grande


Not far from the present day town there was a Phoenician port called Othoca (the hamlet of Santa Giusta), then the Byzanthines, in the early centuries of the Christian era, founded Aristianis, which in 1070 became a bishopric seat and the capital of the Giudicato di Arborea. Soon after, also to better defend the new capital from the Saracens raids the town was fortified with high walls and two huge towers protecting the entries to the town, the Port'a Ponti to the north and the Port'a Mari to the south.

In the Middle Ages there were frequent wars among Arborea and the other Sardinian kingdoms, which one after the other fell into the power of the Aragonese. Arborea was conquered by the Spaniards in 1478 after the Macomer battle, and was under the Aragonese until 1708, then under the Spaniards until 1720 and finally came under the Piedmontese. Oristano was made capital of the newly established province of the same name in 1975.

What to see

  • The Portixedda tower, built at the time of the early medieval fortifications, 8.8 mt tall, and consisting of two separate round structures joined through an oblique plane.
  • The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, built in 1130 on a previous Byzanthine temple, whose remains are still visible in the gardens. The church was restored in the 17th century, but 3 chapels were left in the ancient Romanesque style. In the chapel of "Rimedio" there is the sepulchre of Filippo Mameli dated 1348. In the center of the presbytery there is, next to the Virgin Mary, an image of St. Archelaus, patron of the town.
  • The church of Sant'Efisio Martire, whose construction began in 1792, in the district called Su Brugu, to commemorate a vow to the saint, that apparently saved the population from the French invasion. Every year a procession with the saint's statue is carried on a waggon drawn by two oxen and escorted by knights on horseback. The procession stops at the Basilica del Rimedio, at Donigala Fenughedu, and finally at Tharros, where the tradition says that the French troops were stopped.

Where to stay

ItalyHeritage on Facebook
Family History
Genealogy ResearchNeed help in your research?
Contact us with details and priorities.
Provinces of Sardegna
Sardegna region
Surnames in the Provinces of Sardegna