Casa Zapata Museum
This elegant whitewashed villa was built by the Aragonese Zapata family who ruled Sardinia’s Marmilla region from 1300s until the end of feudalism. In the 1990s it was discovered that the house had been built over the remains of a prehistoric village, and archeologists began excavating the site. The museum’s rooms now house many of the Nuragic artifacts that have been unearthed as well as artefacts from another nearby archaeological site (Su Nuraxi) and exhibitions about Marmilla’s history and its local traditions.
Most visitors to the museum also head to the nearby site of Su Nuraxi, another excavated Nuraghic settlement and a UNESCO World Heritage Site just a few miles away. You can join a guided tour of the museum or book a combined ticket that takes you to both of these archaeological sites.
Things to Know Before You Go
Casa Zapata offers free guided tours of the museum every 30 minutes.
You can purchase tickets that combine both Barumini Nuraghic sites (Casa Zapata and Su Nuraxi) in one entry fee.
Many visitors to this region join tours that also include the Giovanni Lilliu Center (dedicated to the architect who discovered the ruins) or the Giara volcanic plateau, where you can spot Sardinia’s famed wild horses.
The Nuragic ruins at Casa Zapata are inside the villa and can be viewed from a suspended catwalk; the Su Nuraxi ruins are almost all outside, and a hat and sunblock are recommended if visiting in summer.
The museum complex is accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
The museum is located in Barumini, on the southern half of Sardinia, almost directly north of Cagliari along highway SS197. Reaching the site via public transportation is complicated; you should drive or join a guided tour that includes transportation from Cagliari.
When to Get There
Casa Zapata is open all year round. Summer temperatures in Sardinia can be scorching, so the indoor portions of the museum are particularly appealing during the hottest hours in the middle of the day.
Set in the countryside just outside Barumini, Su Nuraxi is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on Sardinia and the most popular Nuraghic settlement to visit. The most remarkable feature is the tower dating from 1500 BC, which was incorporated into a fortified compound in the years after it was built. Though the earliest dwellings were erected during the Bronze age, the heart of the settlement is a cluster of adjoining stone buildings that cover most of the hilltop were built later, during the Iron Age.
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