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La città di Iglesias

The territory of Iglesias has been inhabited since ancient Neolithic times. The abundance of mineral resources (silver, lead and zinc) attracted the great Mediterranean powers, the Phoenicians, Punics and Romans, who started an intense exploitation of the metal mines of the Iglesiente territory. In the Middle Ages the city flourished with the name of Villa Ecclesiae under the Pisan dominion, but after the breaking up of the Giudicato di Cagliari (1258) it was assigned to Count Ugolino della Gherardesca of the Donoratico family (the character described by Dante Alighieri in the XXXIII canto dell’Inferno). Defensive walls and towers were built as was the fortess castle San Guantino on the Salvaterra hill. Also numerous worthy churches were built, as well as a mint where the silver “aquilini” were minted. The life of the citizens was regulated by an important statute called “Breve di Villa di Chiesa” which also contained the rules for the management of the mining activity. Count Ugolino himself had the church of Santa Chiara built between 1284 and 1288, the only cathedral of Christianity dedicated to the Saint of Assisi. Not far from the cathedral is the church of St. Francis whose first groundworks, smaller than the present ones, date back to 1328, and is linked to the presence of a real convent of the Minor Franciscan Friars. In the chapel dedicated to Saint Barbara there are some tombstones, recently restored by the Pozzo Sella association, with the names of the miners who died in the mines of the Iglesiente territory from 1922 to 1931. These names symbolically represent all the miners who over the centuries have lost their lives in the hard work of the mine, which we want to remember and pay homage to at the beginning of our journey. In this church art lovers can also admire the Mainas retablo, a polyptych in tempra on canvas attributed to Antioco Mainas (1537-1571).