WHAT TO SEE IN CAGLIARI: THE REPRESENTATION OF THE LA MADONNA DI BONARIA
The Represention of the La Madonna di Bonaria and his legend, is one of the most interesting things to ear and to see in Cagliari .
It’s said that a Spanish ship heading for the Italian peninsular was caught up in a bad storm in the stretch of sea beside the hill. The sailors tried to scupper the ship and threw the cargo overboard to save themselves. They also threw overboard a great chest, the contents and the owner of which were unknown. It was 25th March 1370. As soon as the chest touched the water, it miraculously becalmed the sea; the chest was washed up on the shores of this hill and people were curious to see what it contained. Strangely, nobody was able to lift it because it was too heavy. They decided to call upon the Mercedarian Friars that ran the local church built by Alfonso. Only the friars were able to lift the chest and open it. It contained the statue of the Virgin. On her left arm she rested the baby Jesus, while in her right hand (when the chest was opened) there was a lit candle.
They immediately proclaimed it a miracle, and from that point onwards, people have displayed enormous devotion to this statue, said to be “buona aria”: “Good air” – meaning the ‘good wind’ that favoured its arrival here. The devotion towards her soon spread not only all over the island, but all over the world, especially among sailors who invoked her as their guardian, so much so that the Spanish conquistadores dedicated the capital of Argentina to her, therefore taking the name of
Buenos Aires. Indeed, the name is none other than the Spanish translation of ‘Bonaria’.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Madonna of Bonaria was declared the main Patron Saint of Sardinia. Pope Benedict the 16th, after his visit to Sardinia on 7th September 2008, conferred the “International Recognition” of the basilica dedicated to the Madonna.