The Tower of the Elephant

The Tower of the Elephant is the second highest tower in Cagliari (in fact the Tower of St. Pancrazio is the highest one), but it is one of the most important symbols of the historical District of Castello and an identification sign for the whole city. In the past it was a defensive rampart against the attacks by the people from Genoa or by the Arabs and it is still one of the ways to get to the quarter.

It is situated in the area of the Bastion of Santa Croce, near the church of St. Giuseppe from Calasanzio and not far from some of the most popular public places in the quarter.

Tourists who walk around this monument can’t help looking up and watching the sculpture from which its name was derived. This sculpture is not on the top of the tower, but it is in a side position with respect to the main entrance that is a door which still keeps its old barriers: three big gates and two  portcullis.

The Tower was built in the typical style from Pisa, and its three massive outer sides are made of the white limestone from Bonaria, while the fourth inner side  is open. It is from 31 to 42 metres high.

Once it was a prison and a place of grief. In 1668 the Marquese of Cea , one of the supposed killers of the Viceroy, was imprisoned there and later beheaded. His head  was hanged down to the tower for 17 years, but it was not the only one, in fact many other heads of prisoners who had been cut off  in the “plazuela” nearby (now called Piazza Alberto), were displayed at the door of the tower as a warning.

Nowadays the Tower of the Elephant is a place of delight for tourists who can enjoy a wonderful view from the  Bastion of Santa Croce .