The Church of Sant’Elia, one of the oldest and most important early Christian cult buildings in Sardinia, lies in Nuxis, a small town in the lower Sulcis, in south-west Sardinia. Of Byzantine era, built around year 1000, it emerges in the valley crossed by the Rio Tattinu at the foot of Monte Tamara is an area inhabited since prehistoric times that has long been exploited for its mineral resources. It was a place of worship as early as the Nuragic age, as evidenced by the discovery of the sacred well of Tattinu and the adjoining Nuragic village (11th century BC).
Very small in size (10m long and 9m wide), typical of the early Christian churches built in Sardinia in the 2nd half of the I millennium AD, it has a Greek cross plan with four equal wings. The central architraved entrance opens onto the east-facing façade and is surmounted by a small gabled bell tower.
The church is a destination point for devotees on the occasion of the feast honouring the saint, a point of reference of Nuxis (whose name derives from the presence of numerous walnut trees in the past), a village suspended between the remains of its past, remnants which date back to Neolithic times (like the necropolis of the Monte Claro culture) and industrial archaeology, the result of the mining era.