WHAT TO SEE IN CAGLIARI: POETTO BEACH
About what to see in Cagliari, the Poetto Beach is one of the most typical.
Poetto is one of the most beautiful city beaches in the Mediterranean area. It is six kilometers long and the width goes from a few meters to a few hundred meters. The inhabitants of Cagliari love their beach they have been coming here since the early twentieth century as you can see in some photo collections of the city.
Poetto probably takes its name from an Aragonese tower now in ruin that stands on top of the Sella del Diavolo. The tower was called “tower of the Poet” or more likely “tower of the pouhet”, “tower of the well” in Catalan.
Poetto is also an environmental place of interest.
As you can see the beach is a sandy strip that separates the sea from the salt marsh. Its soil contains a great percentage of salt and this allows the growth of just a few plants that adjusted to this condition. The vegetation is a signal of the salinity in the soil, where it is not very salty we can see reed thickets and ornamental plants in gardens. Where the ground is barren we can only see greenish gray bushes of atriplice alimo. And near the salt works only the common glasswort managed to adjust.
On the beach the vegetation has to face the wind, the moving sand and the ongoing crossing of people. We can anyhow appreciate some examples of typical beach vegetation, especially at the farthest end of the beach apposite Sella del Diavolo. They are tufts of reed with sharp points and they help form small sand dunes on the beach.
Thanks to the nearby ponds the beach hosts several wild birds like terns also called sea swallows. Cormorants are also commonly seen swimming and diving, they often follow their prey long distances underwater and resurface where you least expect it.
In the early morning and at sunset when the beach is less populated you can see seagulls strolling along. They are opportunistic animals and they know where they can find something to eat.
Another commonly seen bird is the elegant White Wagtail which is in fact black and white similar to a sparrow but thinner and slender. In the sea in front of the beach at a few hundred meters from the shore the underwater grassland of posidonia starts, a continuous stretch of long ribbon like leaves that can reach one meter in length. The seaweed you see on the shore are pieces of these underwater plants. They have a very important role in keeping the environment intact. Many fish species find refuge and food among these leaves in spite of the strong human presence. Fish and other living organisms have adjusted to living on the sand and they camouflage themselves in gray, white colors that make them practically invisible on the sandy sea bed. Sole fish, red mullets, octopus and star fish are a regular presence here, there is also the weaver fish or “aragna” in Sardinian language, a fish equipped with long poisonous prickles able to inflict painful stings when disturbed. Luckily the antidote for its poison is heat so to calm the pain down it is sufficient to place the affected part of the body in very hot water.
The water in Poetto is always clear and this gives you the opportunity to see all the dwellers of this stretch of water: Small striped bream near the shore and large schools of mullet.