Visit Piazza Armerina
The town of Piazza Armerina is located on a high plateau (almost 700 metres above sea level) in central Sicily about 30 km to the south of Enna.
Piazza Armerina itself is quite a vibrant town, and has both medieval and baroque areas to explore but it is the remains of the Roman villa or Casale on the edge of town that attracts the morst visitors.
Explore Piazza Armerina
In the town itself it it the baroque cathedral that is the 'high point' both geographically and architecturally. The cathedral was built in the 17th-18th centuries, but note the more ornate belltower that once belonged to a church that stood at this location and predates the cathedral by some 200 years.
The other main sight in the town is the 14th century Aragonese castle, Spinelli castle where King Martin I of Aragon once lived. Both the cathedral and the castle sit on the top of the hill and dominate the town.
In common with many of the Sicilian towns, the remaining architectural highlights are the churches and the small palaces scattered around the town. Many of these are built in the Baroque style as they were rebuilt following a devastating earthquake at a time when Baroque architecture was the dominant style.
Villa Romana del Casale, Piazza Armerina
Much the most popular attraction in this quiet part of Italy is the Villa Romana del Casale, 4 kilometres south of Piazza Armerina.
Of the 3rd century villa itself there is not a great deal remaining (although there are enough sections of wall to help give a feel for the grandeur of the original villa), but the mosaic floors (and some sections of wall) have been uncovered and are in very good condition, extensive (more than 3000 square metres), and extremely impressive.
There are hunting scenes, mythical characters, people going about their daily business and much more to discover in the intricate series of mosaics.
Perhaps everyone's favourite is the 'bikini girls' mosaic which shows bikini-clad Roman ladies enjoying themselves with exercise and sport - I think it's so popular because it shows that the Romans were really just like us, not just statuesque toga-clad figures, and that helps us make a connection with them. Whatever the reason, its very impressive!
Places to Visit Nearby
Those of you that enjoyed exploring the ruins of the Roman villa in Piazza Armerina might want to go and explore the extensive Greek ruins at Morgantina. For lovers of baroque architecture the nearby town of Aidone has more baroque architecture to admire.