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“Giovanni Antonio Sanna” National Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum


The Sanna Museum and its collections represent an important cultural, archaeological and anthropological landmark of northern Sardinia. The Museum is named after the businessman and politician Giovanni Antonio Sanna, who donated his archaeological collection of items dating. The archeological finds come from the Lower Palaeolithic to the end of the Middle Ages and Modern Ages. Museum collections have been enriched over the years, in particular with a contribution from Gavino Clemente and Zely Bertolio, consisting of ethnographic items such as fabrics, woodwork, pottery and traditional costumes

The History

The original nucleus of the Museum dates to 1878, when the Royal Antiquarian Museum was established. In 1931 was built the G.A. Sanna Royal Museum of Antiquities and Art. In 1973 the Museum was further expanded and in 2000 the medieval section was inaugurated.

The Building

The museum is located within a neoclassical building which evokes the idea of a temple and was realized at the beginning of 20th century in a project by architect Michele Busiri Vici. The original spaces have been expanded and included in a contemporary, modern and bright structure where visitors can better enjoy the exhibition.
Surrounded by a garden, the museum is located in Via Roma, a short distance from Piazza d’Italia and the Medieval centre of Sassari.

The Collection

The museum collections, which have increased over the years thanks to public and private donations, are rich and articulated. They are divided into the two sections of archaeological and ethnographic.
The archaeological section portrays the archaeology and history of northern Sardinia starting from the lower Palaeolithic and prehistoric Sardinian cultures up to the Middle Ages. Of particular interest are the rooms containing items relating to the pre-Nuragic temple of Monte D’Accoddi and the Roman room where visitors can admire items found in the roman colony of Turris Libisonis (now known as Porto Torres).
The ethnographic collection is the most ancient collection in Sardinia. It is made up of fabrics, jewellery, baskets and furniture which display traditional Sardinian everyday life.
Special mention must be made for the room housing traditional costumes from the second half of the 19th c. and the first half of the 20th c., arranged according to geographical criteria.

Costumes of the  ethnographic  tradition 

The museum collections include costumes and fabrics belonging to traditional Sardinian clothing dating back to the second half of the 19th c. and the first half of the 20th c.  These precious artefacts show different Sardinian styles, mainly from northern and central areas.  

Attic urn with scenes of Heracles and Antaeus

Intended to contain wine, the urn (dating to the Punic age 6th c. BC) was found in the Punic necropolis of Tharros located in San Giovanni di Sinis - Cabras. The scene depicted on the urn represents the final part of the battle between the defeated giant Antaeus, with his mother Gea by his side, and Heracles, supported by the god Hermes.

Votive bronze statue

The statue (dating to the Iron Age, 10th-7th c. BC) represents a bull and comes from the sacred well belonging to the Nuragic complex of Predio Canopoli in Perfugas (SS). The bull has a massive body, twisted tail and long stained horns tied with a rope.


Via Roma, 64
07100 Sassari