Roman Ruins; Nora Archaeological Site. Pula, Sardinia

Nora  is an ancient Roman and pre-Roman town which sits on the jutting peninsula of Pula in southern Sardinia.  The area was originally Phoenician; a flourishing sea route ran between Carthage and Sardinia. There were  two protected harbours on each side of the peninsula – part of each is still visible.

Nora
One of Nora’s Roman jetties overlooking the Spanish built tower.
Nora
Roman church and jetty from Nora

Following the conquest of Sardinia in 238BC the town came under Roman control. It went into decline from the 4th century as after the Arab conquest of Carthage the city lost its economic function and it became a simple fort. Nora appears to have been abandoned during the 8th century.

Because the southern part of Sardinia is sinking into the Mediterranean Sea, a substantial part of the former town is now under water.  A similar fate has befallen nearby Bithia (under the tower of Chia), which is now completely submerged.

Nora
Roman rocks are visible in the shallow waters nearby

The excavated Roman town is large however a significant part of the town of Nora situated on land belonging to the Italian Army has not been excavated.

Entrance fee

The entrance fee for one adult and three children was 21 euros. You cannot enter the Nora remains without a guide and so this fee includes that person and the hand held listening device you’re given if you’re foreign.  During off season the guides are held on the hour before 12pm and after 4pm. We weren’t aware of this so had to wait about forty minutes for a tour to start.

There are no maps or written guides and nothing for the children they could use as learning material. It would have been very helpful!

Nora
View over Nora from the entrance

She said what?!

Our guide was a relatively young female, I’ll guess under the age of 25 and I was really quite irate by her attitude towards us. Originally we were handed only one listening device. These devices are no bigger than a portable phone and produce a translated version of the tour the guide gives. As I was handed our audio device she said to me

This is only for adults not for children!

Nora
The kids listening to the audio device

Well this really pissed me off.  Without knowing my children, who are aged 8 and 7 and incredibly well behaved (that day), she had presumed they would damage the device – despite there being a neck strap on it too!!

We couldn’t hear anything on the device in loud-speak so were forced to listen to it individuallyand pass it around between us. It just wasn’t working for us so we asked for more devices for the children and reluctantly one extra was brought to us; but not similar to the one we were already using. This one was like some sort of Motorola phone from the 1990s – of course child proof!!

So between the four of us we had two listening devices.

Nora
Imogen listening to her device
Nora
Trying to choose and listen to the device

This wasn’t the only occasion either where her attitude riled me. Later on she insinuated that the children shouldn’t even be on the tour because they weren’t learning about the Romans in history!! She proceeded to tell me that Italian children only learn about the Romans in their last year of primary school and that they really wouldn’t learn anything.

One thing that really gets my goat is the presumption that children can only learn in a classroom and that they should be limited to learning at age specific times. Utter crap!

Anyway….

Nora
Nora Roman remains

 

Starting the tour

The tour was started in Italian with us trailing along behind at the back of the group. We felt ignored and cast aside really.  We actually missed the second and third stop on the listening device because we weren’t aware of where we were. We weren’t the only ones though as I could hear a French couple with us complaining they didn’t know what stop they were either.  Eventually Imogen (aged 7) went and asked in her best Italian

Scusi che numero aqui

For Italian speakers, you’ll realise this is full of mistakes BUT she’s 7 and I’m not going to correct her.  So courtesy of Imogen we realised we’d stopped at the Temple for number one but then had missed numbers two and three and re-connected at number four. So we quickly hop footed back a few steps.

Nora
Nora ruins

The temple

The temple is now an indistinguishable & collapsed pile of rocks. It is mostly frequented by nesting seagulls. This is the best photo I got of it.

Nora

The Atrium

I didn’t photograph what number two was so I have deduced it was either an atrium or a triclinium.

The room was a U shaped room and had some sort of water collection facility in it. This makes me think it was probably an Atrium however I have included the description for both.

The atrium was a central hall and it was the most conspicuous room in a Roman domus. It was open at the roof, which let in light and air for circulation, and also allowed rainwater for drinking and washing to collect in the impluvium, a small draining pool in the middle of the atrium. Cisterns were also located throughout the domus to collect rainwater, which acted as the primary water supply in the absence of running water.

The atrium was one of the most richly decorated rooms in the domus.

The Triclinium (dining room) was a “three couch room” because it had three couches arranged in a U-shape. While eating, Romans reclined on these couches and they always dined barefoot. There were no fixed tables in the Roman triclinium; food was served on portable tables, sometimes by a high-ranking slave.

Nora
What we think was the tiled floor of the Atrium

A housing district

There were a number of housing districts around the site. This one in the centre of the city and another one next to the sea front.

Nora
Housing district
Nora
Housing district in the centre of the city
Nora
The housing district near the sea

The cross roads

This is the longest road within the Nora remains. Sadly we didn’t get the chance to walk on it but we passed by the cross roads near it. Instead our guide whisked us off to the north eastern coast where the Artrium pillars stand.

Nora
The longest road in Nora

The tetra-style atrium house

Perhaps the greatest thing about the actual tour is the tetra-style Atrium house and the four pillars that remain. I really wanted to get a photo of the pillars in the sunset but alas as it was a formally guided tour and we weren’t allowed anywhere by ourselves, I was unable to.

Nora
The pillars from the tetra-style atrium
Nora
The pillars from the tetra-style atrium

The theatre

The remains are generally in quite a good condition but the condition of the theatre is great. The stage area and the archways I suspect have been repaired but for over a thousand years old they’re looking good!

 

Nora
The ampitheatre
Nora
The ampitheatre

More photos

I have no idea what anything is from here on as it was so difficult to listen to the hearing device, retain information and keep up with the tour.  Some reading material would be fantastic. Maybe I should have asked for some?

Nora
The Spanish tower overlooked by Nora Roman remains

Visiting the Spanish tower

The roman remains are really good and there’s a huge amount to see (if you’re allowed to) but the best part of the tour was being allowed to visit the Spanish tower. The view over the bay is magnificent and gives  a birds eye view of just how grand the remains are.

Visiting the tower adds forty-five minutes on to the tour which takes approximately an hour.

 

So you want a beach holiday? 10 reasons to choose Villasimius, Sardinia.

Looking for a beach holiday? Villasimius is your place to go!

Villasimius sits on the far southern coast of Sardinia in Italy.  It’s Italy’s second largest island (and the second largest island in the Med too) but it’s closest neighbour is Corsica (France) which is just a short boat trip away.

Sardinia has 2,000km of coast line and unlike Italy and Sicily it is NOT earthquake prone. The climate down in the south is also very mild with an average winter temperature of 11 to 17 °C raising to 20-24 °C in the spring and summer to 26 to 30 °C.  If that hasn’t sold you, it has some of the clearest water I’ve ever seen and with white sand, rocky coves, protected bays and marine life such as dolphins and turtles, you’d be sure of a fantastic beach holiday.

The beaches around Villasimius are nature’s playground at its best.  Here are our top ten beaches and why we think you’ll love them!

beach holiday

 

 

Cala Pira: With its very shallow waters, white sand, rocks and warm rock pools this is a perfect family beach for young children especially. Older children could venture out beyond the rocks for some snorkeling.

 

 

beach holiday

 

 

Porto Guinco: Under the tower is a small and secluded spot deep enough for confident swimmers and snorkeling. Its point borders the choppier waves which are also just as clear but much deeper.

 

 

beach holiday

 

 

Capo Carbonara: A rugged beach with plenty of opportunity to climb rocks, throw stones and paddle. Explore the island’s mining history of Cava Usai here too. This is a perfect picnic beach.

 

 

beach holiday

 

 

Punta Molentis: This beach has something for everyone! Shallow waters and white sands, rocks and rock pools, areas for climbing, spectacular views, areas for snorkelling and diving. Perfect for families of all ages.

 

 

beach holiday

 

 

Sa Ruxi:This is our second favourite beach. A glorious protected cove which is pretty deep and perfect for (slightly older children) snorkelling and swimming alike.

 

 

beach holiday

 

 

Costa Rei: A long, rugged and wild beach with waves. Great clarity, some depth and constant waves.

 

 

beach holiday

 

 

Spiaggia di Notteri: A long white beach next to the flamingo lake. Perfect for sand castles, paddling and swimming in the calm waters. Perfect for families with young children.

 

 

beach holiday

 

 

Spiaggia del riso: A small and protected beach near the marina. Has an area close by with large rocks for climbing.

 

 

 

beach holiday

 

 

Spiaggi Di Simius: Villasimius’s main beach is long and full of white sand. It does get busy but it has lifeguards on duty. To the eastern side are rocks that are great for older children to navigate.

 

 

 

beach holiday

 

 

Timi Ama: A very small area of beach that is shaded by these rocks. Perfect for sunset.

 

 

 

Beach Holiday

So, have we convinced you to have a beach holiday in Villasimius? Let us know!

 

 

Our first night in Villasimius & a sunset from Timi Ama

After being cooped up on the plane for two and a half hours and then a subsequent three hours in the airport waiting for our bags and trying to sort out all the problems we had with our French bank cards (GRRrrr) and thus Hertz… (a long story but we’d never recommend BNP), we found the first beach we could in Villasimius (Spiaggia di Simius) and just went for a walk! Anything to blow the frustration and cobwebs out.

Spiaggia di Simius

Basically the beach at Simius is so long, it’s been divided into lots of different areas. At the time it’s hard to know which beach you’re on but whilst looking at a map it becomes clearer. Not that it really matters lol. All the beaches around Villasimius are very beautiful.

The Spiaggia di Simius is one of the main beaches in Villasimus. It’s currently spring and about 22 degrees; during the day the beach is almost empty but it comes alive for sunset when people walk themselves and their dogs.

The waters are clear, the sand is pale and the waves are little…   In the spring and winter months there’s quite a lot of sea debris along Simius beach; dried seaweed, some branches and heads of sea plants. Of course our kids picked up the largest branch they could find and insisted on dragging it behind us up the beach!

Simius
The beach at Simius
Simius
Jumping the waves or ripples at Simius
Simius
NO we are NOT dragging a tree behind us up the beach!!!!

We decided to walk west (down) the beach and we came across the rocks of Timi Ama. No rock left un-turned and all that, of course we had to climb them to see what was on the other side!

The rocks of Timi Ama

The rocks of Timi Ama separate Simius beach from Notteri beach and when climbed, they glow orange at sunset.

I managed to get some photos of Rich and the kids in the golden hour glow which made me very happy 🙂

Simius
Timi Ama rocks looking east along Simius beach
Simius
Timi Ama rocks and beach looking west over to Notteri and Porto Guinco
Simius
Timi Ama rocks at sunset
Simius
Enjoying the sunset
Simius
Our babies on the rocks at Timi Ama
Simius
Timi Ama rocks basking in the golden sunlight
Simius
The sunset over Spiaggia di Simius

Short blog

This is just a really short blog and in all honesty nothing majorly exciting or eventful happened here. The only reason I am blogging about it is because prior to our arrival I found it difficult to find English blogs detailing the beaches of Villasimius.

Are you following us?

If you’d like to follow us, please pop along to Instagram where we’re most active.

La Spiaggia di Notteri, Villasimius, Sardinia

We originally went chasing flamingos at the Spagno di Notteri (the lake just next to the beach) and despite our great intentions we FAILED MISERABLY! It would appear that those pesky flamingos are a bit shy and kept themselves firmly in the centre of the rather large lake.

So instead, we decided to do what any self respecting family would do and head down to the empty beach La Spiaggia di Notteri.

La Spiaggia di Notteri
Meandering down to the beach; La Spiaggia di Notteri

We are so lucky

We came to Villasimius hoping for a beach holiday and that is exactly what we have got.  We are just at our three week point (one more week left on Sardinia) and we’ve had the best weather we could have asked for; lots of sunshine, a little bit of wind and not too much rain.

La Spiaggia di Notteri
La Spiaggia di Notteri

Its neighbours

The beach of Notteri is overlooked by the tower of Porto Guinco and the Lake of Notteri. It’s immensely colourful at the moment (spring).

La Spiaggia di Notteri
The view from Porto Guinco overlooking La Spiaggia di Notteri and Spagno di Notteri

 

Vacanze in paradiso

My idea of paradise involves blazing hot sun, white sand, clear turquoise water, marine life, a scuba tank and silence!  Villasimius ticks all of those boxes although at the moment the water is not warm enough for me to brave it.

La Spiaggia di Notteri
She just loves the water

The kids have had an amazing time here on Sardinia and really loved being in Villasimius.

They’ve jumped and splashed…

We’ve been to a new beach or cove every day and they’ve jumped and splashed in the clear waters, they’ve scaled rocks, collected seaweed, counted shells, spotted marine life, watched waves, explored towers and so much more!

La Spiaggia di Notteri
La Spiaggia di Notteri
La Spiaggia di Notteri
La Spiaggia di Notteri

Looking for stuff at La Spiaggia di Notteri

Unless they’re doing something mega dangerous, I tend to leave them alone to explore and ‘hunt for stuff’. This usually involves dragging half a tree behind us or filling the bag with ‘precious stones’ or making sand tunnels for the sea to destroy but this is all part of their learning process and plus, they’re having fun 🙂

La Spiaggia di Notteri
Playing with sand
La Spiaggia di Notteri
Searching for stuff
La Spiaggia di Notteri
La Spiaggia di Notteri
La Spiaggia di Notteri
Building castles and channels
La Spiaggia di Notteri
Digging sand channels

COunting shells

They even work on their maths skills! Counting shells, dividing shells between them, adding them all up. It’s all number skills and every day is a learning day 🙂

La Spiaggia di Notteri
Counting shells on La Spiaggia di Notteri
La Spiaggia di Notteri
La Spiaggia di Notteri

I am busy writing a post on our most favourite and recommended beaches in Villasimius and this one definitely features!

Social Media

As always, we’re posting on Instagram and Facebook. Please follow us, share this article and leave comments if you liked this post.