Villa del Casale, protected by UNESCO in 1997, is considered to be one of, if not, the best preserved villas from anywhere in the Roman Empire.
Built in the early 4th century, the magnificent Roman Villa is located 3 km outside the town of Piazza Armerina in Sicily…
♦ Who the villa belonged to is unknown but we do know that Romans divided most of Sicily into huge agricultural estates called “latifundia”and that the villa was at the center of a large complex. It is believed that, due to the villa’s size and the amount and quality of the artwork, it was probably the permanent or semi-permanent residence of a very wealthy member of the Roman Empire’s upper class.♦ Interestingly, since mosaic pavements were not considered as prestigious as marble floors by Roman standards, and the dominus or landowner probably wasn’t quite wealthy enough to use marble throughout, he probably wasn’t of the senatorial class.
♦ Covering approximately 7000 square meters (that’s over 75,000 square feet or approximately 1.7 acres!), the single-story villa was centered around a peristyle where almost all of the main public and private rooms were organized.
⇒ Click for a slideshow of the peristyle:
♦ There are 63 rooms including: a banquet hall, kitchen, bedrooms, courtyards, a thermal complex/spa, massage rooms, meeting and reception rooms, galleries, dressings rooms, lavatories, hallways and a large basilica (meeting or board room, not related to a building of worship) found in aristocratic residences…
⇒ Click for a slideshow peek into some of the rooms:
With 3500 square meters of mosaic pavements consisting of an astounding 120 million small mosaic pieces, it truly is a masterpiece.
♦ Extraordinary scenes depicting a myriad of mythical and erotic figures and creatures, include the the spectacular “Corridor of the Great Hunt” …⇒ Click for slideshow of the “Corridor of the Hunt” with scenes featuring the hunting, capturing and transport of animals destined for the amphitheater:
…and the famous “bikini girls” in the ”Chamber of the Ten Maidens”, give us intimate insights into Roman everyday life at work, play and sleep for the rich, that is, the very rich…
⇒ Click to see the famous “bikini girls” perform sports including weight-lifting, discus throwing, running and ball-games. A girl in a toga offers a crown and victor’s palm frond to “the winner”:
♦ Today the mosaic and fresco decoration is remarkably well preserved and in such excellent condition largely because the Villa was almost forgotten for over 700 years after it was covered by a landslide and abandoned in the 12th century AD.
♦ After initial efforts in 1881, the first professional excavations were made by Paolo Orsi in 1929. These were subsequently followed by more excavations in 1935-1939. Concerted efforts to protect and conserve this precious archeological gem were initiated after further excavations between 1950-60.
⇒ Click to see more of Villa del Casale:
♦ A cover was built over the mosaics and other excavations took place in 1970’s and in 2004. After unsuccessful attempts to find a suitable way to protect the precious mosaics, there is now a wooden structure resembling what would have been the original building.
♦ In 2007, a EU-funded reconstruction/restoration project, focusing on conserving the mosaics as well as cleaning the frescoes, cost more than €18 million.
♦ Today you can visit the UNESCO site and, walking on raised platforms, admire the truly splendid mosaic carpet and frescoes of this breathtaking archeological treasure. ♦
♥ Would you love to see this splendid Roman Villa? ♥
You can! Join me!
LetZ Experience Seductive Sicily …together!
Villa del Casale is one of Sicily’s seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites – we will visit six!
Step back into ancient history in monumental Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples and Segesta. Visit the Greco-Roman Archeological Park of Siracusa and Taormina’s Ancient Greek Theater with its stunning view of iconic Mt. Etna…
Read More About My Love for & Travels in Sicily…