The origins of the town's name are uncertain: for some historians it derives from "albus" (white, due to the presence in the area of light-colored granite rocks), while for others from "arburis" for the massive amount of trees in the area, and finally for others from "arabus", referring to Middle Eastern populations that besieged the Sardinian coast.
In the province of Medio Campidano, located on the Southwest coast of Sardinia, the municipal territory is one of the largest in the region and includes, besides numerous districts, the mountain range of Mount Arcuentu, an entire hillside that slopes into the sea and a large coastline area that stretches for 50 miles and so it is extremely heterogeneous. Originally the local economy was devoted to mining and farming, while today it is largely open to tourism.
The area was already known by the Phoenicians, that extracted minerals here, but the exact date of foundation of the town is uncertain. Originally in the area of Arbus, there were several small settlements, that ended depopulated as a result of continuous looting and raids imposed by the Spanish and the Aragonese. To avoid this, the population concentrated in a larger and more defensible urban core, the present main centre. The first documented mention of the existence of this settlement goes back to the first half of the XIV century, in a text that attests that the town was part of the Marquisate of Quirra. In the early XVI century, the town was ceded to a Catalan noblewoman, Violante Carroz, but always depended from the Marquisate of Quirra until 1836, it was assigned to the territory of Iglesias.
- the Parish Church of San Sebastiano Martire, which was built in the IV century in Byzantine style, later expanded and subject of several restorations. In 1663 began the construction of the Bell Tower;
- the Church of the Blessed Virgin of Itria, built between the XVII and XVIII centuries;
- the Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian;
- the Church of St. Anthony of Padua;
- the Church of Santa Barbara;
- the Church of San Lussorio;
- the beach dunes of Piscinas, among the largest in Europe, which extend for about 2 km and have recently obtained the recognition of UNESCO World Heritage as home to the deer and the turtle species Caretta Caretta,
- the Sardinian Museum of Knives.