Monday, June 12, 2017

Sicily - Villa Romana del Casale. . . . . . .

The Sicilian port of Licata rarely receives cruise ships as most are far too large.
Fortunately, Noble Caledonia's beautiful small expedition ship, Island Skywas able to
 dock here, making it so much easier to go ashore than alternative ways.

Prior to visiting the winery for the amazing lunch, HERE, we were off the ship
 early morning heading by coach to Piazza Amerina, Province of Enna, for the visit to
 the most amazing 4th century villa urbana. . . . . . . Villa Romana del Casale
It contains the richest, largest, and most complex collection of Roman
mosaics in the world, and understandably has been designated as one of
 49 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy.

The villa has the most sensational mosaics, their style and technique reminiscent
of those found in Northern Africa. Thanks to tent-like covered walkways, constructed
 to provide shelter from the elements for the mosaics, the rather slow-moving lines
 of visitors were also sheltered from the hot sun, a huge plus as there were so many
mosaics to view.

The mosaic pieces themselves are incredibly small making the finished scenes
 so detailed, almost like paintings. 
I can't even imagine how many artists, and how much time, completion of these
 amazing mosaics took.

In 1959-60 a mosaic was excavated on the floor of the room dubbed
 "Chamber of the Ten Maidens".
Informally called "the bikini girls", the young women perform sports including
 weight-lifting, discus throwing, running and ball games. 

The leopard kill of an antelope - even the dripping blood is visible.

For me, and I'm certain many others, especially if one has been on an African safari,
 the long, undulating floor of the Corridor of the Great Hunt is breathtaking, 
almost heart stopping! I wish so much I could have had more time here to look
 even closer and learn more about its story.
This mosaic is very complex and is the depiction of the capture of live wild animals in
 the most distant parts of the empire, and their subsequent transport by ship to Rome
 for the venationes, fights involving wild animals, that were held in Rome in the
 Colosseum and the Circus Maximus.

The Corridor of the Great Hunt.

Views from the Corridor of the Great Hunt ~ Villa Romana del Casale, Sicily.

The villa was probably the center of a huge agricultural estate for around 150 years, 
then damaged and perhaps destroyed during the domination of the 
Vandals and Visigoths. The site was abandoned in the 12th century AD after
 a landslide covered the villa and survivors moved to the current location of
 Piazza America. Some of the tallest parts of the remains were always above ground
 and the area was cultivated for crops. Early in the 19th century pieces of the mosaics
 and columns were found - and later that century the excavations started.

What an amazing place!

Please be aware that these are all photos taken by me in May 2017.
I will be happy to give permission to use any or all if you make a request via e-mail.


  1. AMAZING Mary ........ so beautiful and somewhere I would love to visit. XXXX

  2. Your fabulous photos of Villa Romana del Casale Mary show its exquisite glory - once seen, the corridor of the Great Hunt, is never forgotten.

  3. I was fascinated by the bikini girls...guess this proves that there is nothing new under the sun.

  4. Those micro mosaics are incredible. I bought daughter some earrings and found a brooch last year. They are unbelievable and the time it must have taken... What a wonderful trip. I saw a Capuchin monk cutting out the tiny pieces once.

  5. Dear Mary, I want to take the next plane and see these fantastic mosaics of Villa Romana for myself. Your photos are the next best thing, they are fabulous.

  6. Tremendous and absolutely worth to preserve it.

  7. Those mosaics are stunning! A far cry from the type of mosaic I used to do lol!

    1. As I'm sure you can imagine Penny, Bob and I were talking about you when visiting here! Thinking of your lovely mosaics - and the tray I have which you made - we just knew you would enjoy seeing these astounding floors. It was breathtaking to say the least.
      Mary -

  8. Oh these mosaics! Such treasures! I've never seen anyone post so many and how I would love to see them myself!

  9. Those mosaics are incredible!

  10. These mosaics are quite amazing! How fascinating, bikini girls from the past. What a treat to see, even in pictures.

  11. Spectacular photos, Mary, of the Villa Romana del Casale and its magnificent mosaics! I am amazed at the detail and methodological preciseness with which this art was applied. I am happily surprised to see all different shapes and sizes of the Ten Maidens, too! Thanks for sharing your visit to this mesmerizing place with us.

    Have a lovely week,
    Poppy x

  12. How enchanting, what fantastic mosaics, and a perfect reason to visit Sicily. We loved Italy, and I am sure we would love to visit again, and include Sicily as well. Thank you for your kind comments on my blog Mary. P.

  13. Wouldn't you have loved to be there when the mud was swept away and all was revealed - just imagine the faces of those seeing that. Wonderful that the mud preserved it all.


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