The Church, the relics and the three statues
Saint Efisio is the Saint of the archdiocese of Cagliari: a deep-rooted devotion that ousted from the hearts of the people the first patron saint of the city, Saint Saturn. Efisio is venerated in different areas of Sardinia, but particularly in the southern-eastern area.
The Church of Saint Efisio in Stampace district
This church, built in 1780, is the starting point of the procession on 1st May and it is the place where the simulacrum of the Saint is prepared. Its style is Piedmontese baroque. Inside, there is still a plaque thanking the Saint for the protection granted to the city during the bombardment in 1793. Under the church, there is the famous crypt where Efisio was imprisoned before being killed.
The Crypt of Saint Efisio
According to the popular tradition, the crypt in the heart of Stampace district is the place where the martyr was imprisoned and tortured before being sentenced to death. It is a cavity nine metres under the road level where it is possible to go through some steep steps from the above church. Inside, there is a marble column called "the column of Efisio's martyrdom", where we can still see the ring to which the chain of his imprisonment was hooked.
The little church of Saint Efisio in Nora
This little church is a building of three naves, built in a primitive Romanesque style with a Franco-Catalan inspiration. It was officially consecrated in 1102. In 1656, it was restored thanks to Don Alfonso Gualbus, marquis of Palmas, as a vow for having been saved from the plague after invoking the Saint.
In 2011, the relics of Saint Efisio returned to Sardinia after 900 years. Part of the precious remains of the warrior Saint, guardian of Cagliari and Sardinia, were donated by the Archdiocese of Pisa, that had kept them since 1119, to the 151st Infantry Regiment of Sassari Brigade, at Monfenera barracks in viale Poetto. The precious silver reliquary was made by the goldsmith Francesco Busonera. The silver statue, 52 cm high, containing the relics of the warrior Martyr, is carried in procession by the 151st Infantry Regiment and precedes the chariot of the Saint all the way from Stampace church to that of Giorgino.
The three statues
There are three statues of the Saint kept in the church of Stampace.
The oldest (XVI century) is called Sant'Efis sballiau, that is "the wrong Saint Efisio", because it has the cross in the left hand and not in the right one.
The second statue (XVII century) is the one of the Feast and represents the Saint as a young Spanish aristocrat, with moustache and pointed beard.
The third was made in the XVIII century by the sculptor Giovanni Antonio Lonis and shows the Saint wearing Roman military clothes. This is the statue brought in parade on Easter Monday.