Saint Efisio’s Feast in Cagliari: a must-see Sardinia tradition

12 Apr 2023 Sardinia Tourism @bluAlghero-Sardinia

Saint Efisio Feast Cagliari 1st May.

Experience The greatest festival in Sardinia 🌸

Every year – since 1652 – a colorful procession of carriages, knights and faithful accompanies the statue of Saint Efisio from Cagliari to Nora, the final stage of the procession.

A journey of over 80 km on foot that unites faithful from all over Sardinia. The celebrations of Saint Efisio feast from 1st to 4 May 2023.

The Feast of Saint Efisio, the co-patron of Sardinia, is a grand event that brings together the entire island in celebration. The preparation for this feast starts many months in advance, with several Sardinian villages involved in the process. The highlight of the event is the parade of traditional costumes, each with its own unique elements representing the area they come from. The elaboration of these costumes is handed down from generation to generation, making them a true representation of Sardinian heritage.

The procession leading up to the passage of the Saint Efisio coach is a grand spectacle that involves various groups, each with their unique roles. The faithful, dressed in traditional garments, lead the way followed by tracas, the decorated wagons, and religious brotherhoods. The militiamen on horseback, donning their red jacket uniforms, add to the grandeur of the event. The horses and riders are meticulously prepared to showcase their majestic appearance, while oxen are adorned with floral decorations on their horns.

As the procession moves forward, a stunning carpet of flowers is laid out to pave the way for the Saint, creating an explosion of colors and fragrances. The whole event is a true feast for the senses, a celebration of tradition and faith that reflects the rich cultural heritage of Sardinia.

The festivities commence in the early morning of May 1st, with a lively procession that kicks off from the heart of Cagliari, specifically from the district of Stampace in the historic city center. The procession features a carriage that emerges into the square, pulled by two magnificent oxen. The tracas, carts adorned with fragrant flowers, lead the way for the saint’s chariot.

The streets are covered by ramadura: a carpet of colored petals and essences

The population finally has the opportunity to greet the Saint during the stop in front of the Town Hall. The sound of the bells and the sirens of the ships welcome the arrival of the chariot which can therefore set off on the long journey towards Nora.


1st May

The great procession starts at 10 in the morning with tracas, the carts decorated with flowers, followed by the traditional dress parade, the knights, the Militia and the Guardiania. At 12 o’clock The chariot of Saint Efisio runs through the streets in the center to the town hall. The pilgrimage continues with various stops until Sarroch, where the night is spent.

2nd May

The journey continues up to the village of Nora, the place of martyrdom.

3rd May

Saint Efisio runs along the road to the ruins of the Roman city of Nora, then departs for Pula.

4th May

The procession starts at 8 in the morning for Cagliari, where it reaches about 22 and 30. Before midnight the procession is over. The vote, once again, is dissolved

The history

In 1652 in Sardinia – as in all of Europe – the plague was raging. The city authorities asked for help with a solemn vow to Saint Efisio. With the Vow, the city undertook to bring the statue of the Saint in procession every year, from the place where Sant ‘Efisio had been imprisoned – in the district of Stampace – to the beach of Nora, where it is said he had suffered martyrdom.

The plague miraculously ended. Since then, Cagliari annually dissolves its vote. Because St Efisio and the Cagliaritani are inextricably linked by veneration and by mutual promises that have been respected for centuries. Historically St Efisio was a Roman soldier who, before being executed because of his Christian faith, promised to protect Cagliari and its citizens forever. In his figure, the city has always found salvation and comfort and their relationship is handed down over time and history

The prayer of St Efisio before his death

“Please, Lord, protect the city of Cagliari from the invasion of enemies, let its people abandon the cult of the Gods, reject the deceptions of the Devil and recognize you, Jesus Christ Our Lord, as the only true God. the sick who will pray at the place of my burial can recover health, and anyone who is in danger in the sea or threatened by the invaders, tormented by hunger or plague, after invoking me, Your servant, can be brought to safety. “

Feast of Saint Efisio Full Calendar

The procession accompanies the simulacrum of the Saint from his church in the Stampace district along the streets of the historical center and up to Nora, place of martyrdom.

1st MAY

Procession begins. The traditional wagons, called tracas, open the procession. Follow the different colors of Sardinia: the faithful on foot wearing traditional clothes from every part of Sardinia Over 300 horses follow the procession in three different groups: the Knights, the Militia, the Guardiania

Departure of the St Efisio simulacrum through the route:
via Azuni, Piazza Yenne, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Via Sassari, Piazza del Carmine, Via Crispi, Via G.M. Angioy, Via Mameli, Largo Carlo Felice, Via Roma (Town Hall), Via Sassari (lower part) Viale La Playa, Pescatori Village, Giorgino, Sant’Efisio Church in Giorgino.
Arrival at the church of Sant’Efisio in Giorgino where the chariot is replaced and the travel clothes are made to wear in the Saint.

La Maddalena Spiaggia: procession along the Provincial Road to the link with Frutti D’oro and stop for the celebration of Holy Mass in the open square in front of the Church of Sant’Efisio in Su Loi.
Short stop for the oxen.

The journey continues up to Villa D’Orri where the Eucharistic rite commemorating the dead is celebrated in the chapel owned by the Marquis of Villa Hermosa.
Blessing and departure for Sarroch where it is said – the saint – had spent the night in the church of the same name.

2nd MAY

Holy Mass
Departure for Villa San Pietro.
Procession, Mass and departure for Pula: the municipal authorities, the Archconfraternity and the faithful await the Saint to begin the procession along the town.

Celebration of the Holy Mass before the departure of the simulacrum for Nora.
Feast in front of the statue to commemorate the dead.
Stop in front of the cemetery to commemorate the dead.
Blessing in the Church of San Raimondo.
Departure for Nora, stop of the simulacrum near the command of the Navy, ammaina flag and subsequent departure for Nora for the celebration of Holy Mass in the Romanesque church of the beach next to the famous archaeological site of Nora.

3rd MAY

Holy Masses until 11:00 am celebrated by the ordinary diocesan in the open air.

Procession with the simulacrum along the path that leads to the excavations of Nora and then return to the beach.
Holy Mass and departure for Pula.

4th MAY

Departure from Pula after Holy Mass. This is the place where the martyrdom of the Saint is believed to have occurred. It is the final stage of the journey and then reverse the journey and return to Cagliari in the night.

Where to stay in Cagliari?

The celebrations of Saint Efisio on 1 May attract thousands of visitors from all over the world. We advise you to book now your hotel or B&B as availability may end soon.

➡️ Where to stay in the centre of Cagliari

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