The nuraghe Diana

Sito archeologico Nuraghe Diana

Introducing the archaeological site

The Diana is a complex type nuraghe located in the territory of Quartu Sant’Elena, a few kilometers from Cagliari, situated in a dominant position on the Is Mortorius granite promontory.

The place where it was built allows an extraordinary view on the Golfo degli Angeli. Scholars affirm that the nuraghe performed the prominent function of ensuring the control of the sea routes, crossed by peoples who passed through the coasts of the Gulf since the thirteenth century BC.

It stands about 15 meters above the ground level and its fortified tower is now surmounted by a military sighting tower which is part of the "Carlo Faldi Battalion", built during the last world war in the context of coastal defenses.

Vista 3D Nuraghe Diana

Interactive image: drag to rotate

The first historical information on the Nuragic complex dates back to 1856. The historian Casalis in his work entitled "Quarto ab urbe lapide", states: "the remarkable one called Nuragi-Anna (to be identified with the nuraghe called Jana in the cartography, known in literature as nuraghe Diana) partly destroyed, but worthy of being seen for its singular shape that can be seen in its room."


The Nuraghe Diana is located on the coast road to Villasimius and is easily accessible along the SP17 up to the town of Baia Azzurra - Is Mortorius.

It dominates the top of a hill, in the north of the promontory of Is Mortorius, it is about 150 meters away from the sea, and is located at 35 m a.s.l.

The nuraghe, due to its extraordinary strategic position, was certainly part of the Nuragic coastal defensive system monitoring the routes travelled in the Middle-Late Bronze Age in the Gulf of Angels (from Capo Carbonara to Capo Spartivento, then upt to Capo Teulada and beyond). From its summit it was possible to supervise Mycenaean, Levantine, Cypriot, Punic and Roman trades.

From underwater prospecting, carried out along the coast of the promontory of Is Mortorius, the archaeologist Patrizia Zuncheddu was able to detect all the conditions that suggest the presence of a natural harbour, which allowed and facilitated the disembarkation of anyone who needed to land or set sail from this coast. The seabed has returned ceramic material from the Roman era, but the use of the landing place is believed to date back even to more ancient times.

Viste aeree Nuraghe Diana

The territory of Quartu Sant'Elena

Since ancient times, the territory of Quartu Sant’Elena has been a crossroad of peoples from the sea, from inland areas and from the nearby towns. These flows of travellers, each with their own culture, have contributed to enriching the archaeological, historical, cultural heritage - and therefore the identity - of this area.

The abundance of archaeological settlements is a peculiarity of the southern coast of Quartu S. Elena. The main historical monuments date back to the Nuragic era: it is possible to come across simple, complex and Tholos nuraghi or, to bump into sepulchral monuments such as the tomb of giants of Niu 'e Crobu.

Moreover, signs of occupations from the Neolithic, Eneolithic, Punic, Roman and medieval ages can be found.

Interno Nuraghe Diana


Realized at one time entirely in granite, the nuraghe shows facing walls in opera sub-quadrata and polygonal made of large boulders mostly placed in the upper parts of the walls.

A considerable amount of lithoid material was found along the external perimeter, due to collapses, natural deposits that occurred over the centuries and from the subtraction and plano-volumetric alteration of the original structure related to the use of the area as the anti-naval military battalion "Carlo Faldi" during World War II.

Structure layout

The nuraghe Diana floor plan shows a multiple layout plan with a central keep or "tholos" or "mastio", two smaller towers and a paved room raised above the other side towers. These rooms are connected to each other by cyclopean curtain walls that outline a triangular-shaped plan, enclosing a quadrangular courtyard, with an oriented south-east entrance.

The distribution

The internal courtyard, with a quadrangular layout and well preserved, also serves as a hallway to access the areas of the nuraghe: the Central Tholos, the lateral towers B and C; the hallway, the staircase where there are steps that develop along the perimeter of the walls and which suggest that the monument was characterized by an upper floor.

Central Tholos

The central Tholos or Mastio is dominated by a military sighting tower, which dates back to World War II, reachable from the outside via a flight of granite steps, cemented by the soldiers themselves on the thickness of the north-east curtain. Inside, a reinforced concrete floor is visible, equipped with a trapdoor which opens towards the inside of the mighty and well-preserved central tholos.

Inside the tholos there are two imposing and perfectly symmetrical niches, the west one characterized by two polygonal boulders at the base which support a boulder of extraordinary size. Another architectural element showing refined workmanship is the triangular window built above the arch of the mighty architrave placed inside the entrance from the Tholos.

Guided tours

The nuraghe explained by the archaeologist who excavated it

Archaeologist Patrizia Zuncheddu has conducted excavation campaigns with Prof. Enrico Atzeni since the 2000s, on behalf of the Superintendence of Archeology, Fine Arts and Landscape for the metropolitan city of Cagliari and the provinces of Oristano and South Sardinia.

Today she is the scientific director of our project as well as the best guide to discover the secrets of the Nuraghe Diana. During the summer season it is possible to join free guided tours.

Patrizia Zuncheddu

Scientific coordinator


Virtual visit srls

Via Tel Aviv, 25
09129 - Cagliari


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