SASSARI, a town and archiepiscopal see of Sardinia, capital of the province of Sassari, situated in the N.W. corner of the island, 125 m. by rail S.E. of Porto Torres on the north coast, and 213 m. N.W. of Alghero on the west coast, 762 ft. above sea-level. Pop. (1906) 34,897 (town); 41,638 (commune). The Aragonese castle and the Genoese walls have been demolished in recent times, and the town has a modern aspect, with spacious streets and squares. The cathedral has a baroque facade; but traces of Romanesque work (12th century) can be seen at the sides and in the campanile. The see was transferred from Porto Torres in 1441. S. Maria di Betlemme has a good facade and Romanesque portal of the end of the 13th (?) century (D. Scano, in L'Arte, 1905, 134). In the municipal collection are a few pictures of interest. The museum in the university has an interesting collection of antiquities, largely formed by G. Spano, from all parts of the island, and belonging to the prehistoric, Phoenician and Roman periods. To the east of the town is the Fontana del Rosello, which supplied the town with water before the construction of the aqueduct, the water being brought up in small barrels by donkeys. Sassari is connected by rail by a branch (285 m. E.S.E. to Chilivani) with the main line from Cagliari to Golfo degli Aranci, and with Porto Torres and Alghero. To the district near Sassari belong some of the most picturesque costumes of the island.
The date of the origin of the town is uncertain; but it was no doubt founded as the result of migrations from Porto Torres. This can hardly have occurred during the 11th century, when we find the giudici of Torres or Logudoro residing either at Porto Torres or at Ardara; but it must have occurred before 1217, when a body of Corsicans, driven out of their island by the cruelties of a Visconti of Pisa, took refuge at Sassari, and gave their name to a part of the town. About this time we find one of the giudici residing at Sassari for a whole summer, no doubt to escape the malaria. The giudici continued to exist at least until 1275, and perhaps till 1284, but about 1260 Sassari seems to have shaken itself free, and in 1275 and 1286 we find Pisa treating Sassari as a free commune. In 1 288, four years after the defeat of Meloria, Pisa ceded Sassari to Genoa; but Sassari enjoyed internal autonomy, and in 1316 published its statutes (still extant), which are perhaps in part the reproduction of earlier ones. These, however, did not last long, for in 1323 Sassari submitted to the Aragonese king, and lost its independence. Sassari was sacked by the French in 1527, and disastrous pestilences are recorded in 1528, 1580 and 1652. In 1795 Sassari was the centre of the reaction of the barons against the popular ideas sown by the French Revolution; an insurrection of the people led by one Angioi lasted only a short while, and led to reactionary measures.
See P. Satta-Branca, // Comune di Sassari nei secoli XIII e XIV (Rome, 1885). (T. As.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)