Cagliari Turismo, the tourist portal of the City of Cagliari
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In 1943, Italy was still in war on the side of Nazi Germany. Sardinia and Cagliari became an important strategic objective for the Allied Air Force. For the serious material, and above all, human losses, on May 12th 1950 the President of the Italian Republic Luigi Einaudi gave to the city the gold medal for military valour. Even today, as we can see from the few period films, the scenery of death and devastation caused by the bombings, in places familiar and dear to us, seems unreal.
On Wednesday 17th February 1943, Cagliari suffered the first dramatic raid. In the afternoon, American bombers flew over the city centre, dropping a large number of bombs.
According to the official bulletin 100 people died , 255 others were injured. That day, there was a cruel massacre of unarmed fellow citizens, who had hoped to find a safe shelter in Sant'Efisio's street, between the churches of St. Anne and St. Restituta.
Here below, the inscription commemorating the victims, placed by the civic administration in occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the massacre:
IN THE EARLY AFTERNOON HOURS ON FEBRUARY 17TH 1943
AN AIR SQUADRON SUDDENLY CROSSING THE SAFE HEAVENS OF CAGLIARI THREW ON THE DEFENSELESS CITY ITS LOAD OF DEATH SPLINTERS SOWING MASSACRE IN AN HELPLESS CROWD WHO TRIED TO ESCAPE TO THE CRYPT OF SANTA RESTITUTA USED AS A SHELTER WITH A NAIVE TRUST
FIFTY YEARS AFTER THE EVENT THE CIVIC ADMINISTRATION INTERPRETING THE FEELINGS OF STAMPACE DISTRICT'S INHABITANTS OF THE SURVIVORS OF THE RELATIVES, GUARDIAN OF REGRET AND OF THOSE WHO ASPIRE TO PEACE AND HATRED DEFEAT PLACED THIS MEMORY AS A WITNESS OF COMPASSION AND AN INVITATION TO SUFFRAGE.