Gun Emplacements at Sunrise, Archeology at Noon – Nora (Pula), Sardinia, Italy

The benefit of the short days at this time of year is that we were on the beach literally as the sun rose above it. The intrepid early morning surfers silhouetted against the beautiful golden glow.

I had plotted a new dog walk this morning along the almost mile long beach to the headland opposite where according to Google maps there was some sort of WW2 bunker hidden in the bushes and cacti. The beach was narrow and steeply banked at the waterline creating quite a loud surf sound we can hear when we wake in the morning. Is there any better sound to start the day?

We spotted the path at the end of the beach leading toward another parking area where another intrepid camper was ignoring the no autocaravan signs to get their waterside camp spot. We followed the path round the headland as it narrowed to venture out to the promontory. Alongside the path was rusted barbed wire which was clearly part of the original WW2 coastal defences. As we followed the path we crossed what Kevin told me were communication trenches and even the rail tracks used to carry ammunition out to the gun emplacements.

We passed beautiful narcissi already in bloom as we followed the path to the first well hidden sporting station on the end of the peninsula with commanding views over the bays for about 270 degrees. It was well dressed in local stone and looked a little like a nuraghe from the back but for the characteristic concrete viewing slot at the front. We went in and admired the view from within. It felt so well preserved with the wire all round it was like it had just been left. Another tribute to the preservation of Sardinia that such a prominent coast spot, 30km from the capital has not been developed or even disturbed much since. Although there are now laid gravel walkways so perhaps they intend to make this a tourist attraction.

We followed the narrow path through the bushes and found 3 gun emplacements and a barracks, plus a radio station, all equally well camouflaged in local stone. The cast iron doors still hung complete with opening peep hole for visitors. Signs were on the wall, rails in place to store ammunition etc. Except for the expected weathering, missing guns and a little graffiti from the local youth it was like we had just uncovered them as they were left. A fascinating little exploration for our morning walk, all the better for not being perfectly renovated and restored with plaques and signs and roped walkways.

We had earned a Sunday morning cooked breakfast after all our adventuring this morning, so back to the van for tea and cooking. After morning coffee and Italian lessons etc, it was time to continue with our day’s sightseeing. This time we headed to off to the archeological site literally a 5-10min walk from where we have been parked up.

Apparently chosen due to the orientation of the two bays giving all weather access for shipping, the island of Nora has Phoenician, Punic and Roman settlements. We dashed to the ticket office believing from the signs that there was a guided tour at 12, however, we were directed to show ourselves around using the app. I had looked for a guide based on previous reviews but the only tours seemed to be departing from Cagliari.

However, app in hand we set off down the walk way. The first ruins opposite the ticket office were covered in tarpaulin which was not a good sign, it appeared they were trying to preserve the mosaics. The app gave us the information which was on the boards, however some of which were missing so it was worth having. The Roman road around the town is well preserved and its width shows the level of population at one stage. There are various temples, a Roman theatre which seated 1200 people and a 3000m2 forum for political and civic functions. Connection to a port is mentioned though no remains of that were visible to visit. There are two separate Roman baths, one of vast construction and remains showing fountains, aqueducts and sewage systems. The proportion of civic and public buildings to housing seems really generous, though I guess not all the housing has been retained / restored. It does make you think we have gone backwards in someways since that era, although obviously the use of slavery for construction did add to the scale of the Roman achievements.

The scale of the site is impressive, you get a feel for the layout of the town and the roadways, the connection to the ports. Sadly though some of the restoration is very unsympathetic or is perhaps following the ethos of clearly showing what is added. However concrete arches and doorways spoil the impression a bit for me. Glad we got a chance to look around, I think a guide perhaps with some artists impressions of the buildings would have helped bring it to life a bit.

This afternoon we are going to head into the town of Pula hopefully for some food. I think we have sufficiently filled the blog and photo albums this morning for one day 😁 Time to relax.

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