WHAT TO SEE IN CAGLIARI: STAMPACE AND S. EFISIO
Stampace neighborhood and S. Efisio are unquestionably among what to see in Cagliari.
Stampace, “Stampàxi” in the Sardinian dialect of Campidano, was originally a small village, then called “villa”, built by the Pisans under the lee of the western walls of Castello district and having its own walls. Its name seems to derive from the Medieval well-wishing words “Stai in pace” (“Be in peace”). Until recently, Stampace has always been characterized by artisans, unlike Marina, a district where marine activities were predominant; Villanova was mainly characterized by farming and of course Castello was the seat of the civil and religious aristocracy.
In tradition, Stampace, Villanova and Marina constitute the “Is appendìtzius”, the “slopes” of Castedd’e sùsu, that is of “upper Castello”, distinguishing them from the name Castèddu, which in Sardinian language means the entire city of Cagliari. In the most recent historical ages, the villagers of Stampace seem to have always distinguished themselves for being strong, stubborn and a bit irascible, so much that they were called Cùccurus còttus, “Hotheads”. Piazzetta Sant’Efisio is the real heart of “upper” Stampace. The present structure of this church, which is turned towards north-west, that is having the sea behind, dates back to the 18th century. Inside, the wooden statue of the Soldier-Saint, is kept here all year round.
At the beginning of May, on the occasion of the grand celebration for Saint Ephysius martyr, in this charming part of the historic centre of Cagliari there is a real explosion of colours, devotion and vitality mingled with folklore and traditions. A carriage drawn by mighty oxen carrying the shrine with the statue of the Saint leaves from the little church. It is escorted by representatives of the municipality in formal dress and by the militiamen on horseback. The procession crosses the city and arrives to the beach of Nora where another old church dedicated to this Saint is found on the traditional site of the martyrdom. The Feast of Saint Ephysius was established in 1657 when the inhabitants of Cagliari to devote themselves to this Saint to get rid of a plague epidemic.