Basilica di Saccargia

The black and white stonework of this Romanesque church, an offspring of the Pisan Romanesque constructions, makes an arresting sight as you approach the northwest corner of Sardinia.

The striking Basilica della Santissima Trinità di Saccargia (Basilica of the Holy Trinity of Saccargia) sits on a plain at Codrongianos, south of Sassari, in the northwest corner of Sardinia.

The distinctive construction is made up of black basalt and white limestone blocks (both local stones), laid in layers to create bands and chequered patterns. The basilica is the most important Romanesque monument on the island, and is the earliest Sardinian edifice to be built in the style of the great Tuscan churches, such as those in Pisa.

Here, though, the church sits in splendid isolation, with its bell tower as a sentry over the panoramic landscape. The original construction was finished in 1116, but the tower was added later, as was the portico on the façade. The basilica was abandoned in the 16th century and left unattended for 400 years before it was restored and reopened in the 20th century.