Sassari is an Italian city and the second-largest of Sardinia in terms of population with 127,525 inhabitants, a Functional Urban Area of about 222,000 inhabitants. One of the oldest cities on the island, it contains a considerable collection of art. Since its origins at the turn of the 12th century, Sassari has been ruled by the Giudicato of Torres, the Pisans, the Sassaresi themselves in alliance with Genoa, the Aragonese and the Spanish, all of whom have contributed to Sassari's historical and artistic heritage. Sassari is a city rich in art and history, is well known for its palazzi, the Fountain of the Rosello, its elegant neoclassical architecture, such as Piazza d'Italia and the Teatro Civico; as Sardinia's second most populated city, the fifth largest municipality in Italy, it has a considerable amount of cultural, touristic and political importance in the island. The city's economy relies on tourism and services, however partially on research, construction and the petroleum industry.

Sassari is located at 225 metres above sea level. The area rises up on a wide karstic plateau that slopes down towards the Gulf of Asinara and the Nurra plain; the city is surrounded by a green belt of thousands of hectares of olive plantations, which from the 19th century have replaced the mixed woodlands of oak and other Mediterranean trees as well as the maquis shrubland. The thinly populated Nurra Plain, located to the west, occupies the main part of the region of Sassari, while the urban agglomeration, with a population of about 275,000 inhabitants, is located to the south east; the abundance of water, with about 400 springs and artesian wells, has made for much development of horticulture over the centuries. According to a survey by Weatherwise, Sassari is the city with the fourth best climate in the world. Although Sassari was founded in the early Middle Ages, the surrounding area has been inhabited since the Neolithic age, throughout ancient history, by the Nuragics and the Romans. Many archaeological sites and ancient ruins are located inside or around the town: the prehistoric step pyramid of Monte d'Accoddi, a large number of Nuraghes and Domus de Janas, the ruins of a Roman aqueduct, the ruins of a Roman villa discovered under San Nicholas Cathedral, a portion of the ancient road that connected the Latin city of Turrys Lybissonis with Caralis.

In the locality of Fiume Santo is found a fossil site where an Oreopithecus bambolii, a prehistoric anthropomorphic primate, was discovered, dated at 8.5 million years. The origin of the city remains uncertain. Among the theses, according to folk tradition the first village was founded around the 9th-10th century AD by the inhabitants of the ancient Roman port of Turris Lybisonis, who sought refuge in the mainland to escape the Saracen attacks from the sea, it developed from the merger of a number of separate villages, such as San Pietro di Silki, San Giacomo di Taniga, San Giovanni di Bosove. The oldest mention of the village is in an 1131 document in the archive of the Monastery of St. Peter in Silki where is cited a guy named Jordi de Sassaro, a serf from the nearby village of Bosove. Sassari was sacked by the Genoese in 1166. Immigration continued until, in the early 13th century, it was the most populous city in the Giudicato of Torres, its last capital. After the assassination of Michele Zanche, the latter's last ruler in 1275, Sassari became subject to the Republic of Pisa with a semi-independent status.

In 1284 the Pisans were defeated by the Genoese fleet at the Battle of Meloria, the city was able to free itself: it became the first and only early independent renaissance city-state of Sardinia, with statutes of its own, allied to Genoa. Its statutes of 1316 are remarkable for the leniency of the penalties imposed when compared with the penal laws of the Middle Ages. From 1323 the Republic of Sassari decided to side with the King of Aragon, in whose hands it remained for much of the following centuries, though the population revolted at least three times; the revolts ceased when King Alfonso V of Aragon nominated the town as a Royal Burg, directly ruled by the King and free from feudal taxation, during a period in which it may have been the most populous city in Sardinia. Further attempts made by Genoa to conquer the city failed. In 1391 it was conquered by Brancaleone Doria and Marianus V of Arborea, of the independent Sardinian Giudicato of Arborea, of which it became the last capital. However, in 1420 the city was sold along with the remaining territory for 100,000 florins to the Crown of Aragon, replaced by Spain after 1479 on the joining of the Aragonese and Castilian thrones.

During the period of Aragonese and Spanish domination the city was known as Sàsser in Catalan language and Saçer in old Spanish. The city alternated years of crisis, featuring economic exploitation, the decrease of the maritime trade, made unsafe by the daily raids of Saracen pirates, political corruption of its rulers, the sacking of Sassari in 1527 by the French, two plagues in 1528 and 1652, with periods of cultural and economic prosperity; the Jesuits founded the first Sardinian university in Sassari in 1562. In the same year the first printing press was introduced and the ideals of Renaissance humanism became more known. Several artists of the Mannerist and Flemish schools practiced their art in the city. After the end of the Spanish period following the European wars of the early 18th century, the brief period of Austrian rule was succeeded by do

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