Piazza Armerina: Roman Villa of Casale Morgantina

Tour Guides

New York Times: Many visitors to Sicily bypass the town of Piazza Armerina and the ancient ruins of nearby Morgantina, about 100 miles southeast of Palermo. But the impressive remains of their rich Roman heritage certainly make the area worth visiting. While Piazza Armerina has numerous Arab-Norman buildings and Baroque palaces and churches, visitors who don't have a lot of time might want to head directly for the Roman Villa of Casale, about four miles southwest of Piazza Armerina. The 37,000-square-foot villa, which dates from the third or fourth century, has beautiful mosaic pavements covering most of the building's galleries, peristyles, courtyards and thermal baths. The tilework -- including the mosaics of the Labors of Hercules in the banquet hall and the mosaics illustrating the Roman circus in the baths -- are of the Roman-African school and date from the fourth century. Morgantina is about nine miles northeast of Piazza Armerina, near the village of Aidone. The site, which is still undergoing excavation, has been identified as an early Sikel settlement from the ninth-century B.C. that was at one point colonized by the Greeks. The principal excavations have been conducted in the third century B.C. agora, or marketplace, and in the residential buildings on the hillsides. The agora is a vast rectangle built on two levels and joined by a trapezoidal staircase with a covered market at the center and the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore as well as a fourth-century theater nearby.

Classics Pages: The Roman villa at Casale, just outside the pleasant town of Piazza Armerina, thanks to its celebrated mosaics is one of Sicily's premier tourist attractions - be prepared to fight your way round, especially if school parties are sharing your experience. The villa is huge - comparable with other surviving Roman palaces (Hadrian's villa at Tivoli, Diocletian's palace at Split) quite apart from the amazing mosaics. Eat you heart out Fishbourne Roman Palace. It is, quite simply, the most luxuriously appointed villa yet discovered. There are about 45 rooms - the private quarters are separated from the reception areas by a corridor 70 metres long. The heart of the villa surrounds a huge peristylium, and there is a magnificent bath complex large enough for a small town. Most of the rooms have mosaic pavements, and the walls would have been frescoed. There are two sumptuous latrines, the larger one the size of a small theatre. I won't go into details about the layout and mosaics themselves - you'll find all you need to know in any decent guidebook. The villa was probably built between 300 and 330 AD - who for remains a mystery. Many guides still mention the emperors Maximian and his son Maxentius - but this hypothesis is now discredited, although the identity of the extremely wealthy owner is unknown - he must have been successful in Roman politics, judging from the importance placed on procuring animals for the games, and the chariot race in the Circus Maximus.

Piazza Armerina: Piazza Armerina is dominated by the Aragonese castle, it became famous throughout the whole world for its Roman Villa. It is surrounded by shady woods and it has preserved its storical center intact. Revived by green gardens, it is adorned by ancient monuments like the Cathedral of 1600's wich was built on the remains of a most ancient church. The Diocesan Museum which guards the treasure and wax statues, the Baroque church of St. Rocco, with a carved tufa portal, the numerous noble Palaces, the Town hall with frescoes ceiling and the church of St. John the evangelist are a must, the Priorato of Saint Andrew, of clear Norman character, the Commenda of the Knights of Malta, highly esteemed for its harmony of the stucture, the Tower of the Carmine admirable for the purity of the architectural lines. Outside the city, but not far, you can visit the Norman church of S. Andrew and the wonderful Ronza Park - 7 Km from the city (2 from Bannata), where you can see different kinds of wild animals.

Aidone: Placed in the territory of the Commune of Aidone and to few kilometers by the historical center of the same, the archaeological site of Morgantina it is him to consider the discovery archaeological more important sort in Sicily. Vast urban agglomeration of a flourishing Greek Polis, the finds coming from the excavations effected in the ancient city are exposed in the Archaeological Museum of Aidone. To around 10 - 15 Km from the Commune of Aidone, one rise some most prestigious sites to the world, archaeological testimony of Roman Sicily of the imperial times d.C.. The Villa extends him for around 3.500mq, and it is formed from a great carpet "musivo" of geometric and narrative style, elegantly performed to plot motley with variety of subjects and jewels you draw. Only to the world it represents for researchers and tourists an obligatory destination of all the tourist runs of the island.

Delicious Italy: Piazza Armerina is Sicily's Roman heart and has arguably the finest ancient mosaics in the country. Suggested visits: the Villa del Casale (splendid rural residence, built between the third and fourth century A.C.) in Morgantina the 3rd century B.C. Great Theatre.

i-escape: Roman Villa del Casale near Piazza Armerina. After being buried in mud for 700 years, the mosaic floors of this C3AD hunting lodge and summer home were recently revealed in all their polychromatic glory; you can see hunting scenes, bikini'd gymnasts, the labours of Hercules and a frigidarium (cold bath room) with mythical sea creatures. A little further are the little-visited (and occasionally closed) ruins of the Greek-Roman city of Morgantina, including a theatre, agora, gymnasium and panoramic views.

Holiday Company Descriptions

Riviera Travel: We leave Agrigento and take the drive to the small town of Piazza Amerina, where one of the most amazing archaeological discoveries of the last century was made: a 4th century AD Roman villa where the mosaics are simply the finest we have from Roman antiquity. We have a guided tour of the villa before continuing our drive to the hilltop town of Taormina or, depending on the departure date, to the coastal town of Giardino-Naxos. We stay in Taormina stay four nights at the four-star Hotel Excelsior Palace, a classic building, over a hundred years old, superbly situated on a promontory with panoramic views of the sea to one side and Mount Etna on the other. In Giardino-Naxos our hotel is the brand new four-star Hotel Giardino dei Greci situated just a few minutes from the sea. Both hotels have swimming pools (open May to October, weather permitting), bar and restaurant where we take dinner.

Travel Sicilia: We leave by coach towards the Roman Villa del Casale, close to the town of Piazza Armerina. This building, dating back to the Tetrarchy period, is one of the best examples of Roman art and architecture. We stop for lunch at a country private historic lodge, nearby the Roman villa. The owners are glad to welcome us. After lunch, we proceed towards the Greek town of Morgantina, one of the most interesting archaeological areas of Sicily. It was discovered in the half of the 50s by an equipe of the Princeton University. On our way back, we stop in Catania for a drink and a visit in one of the most important historic houses of Sicily. The rest of the evening is free in Taormina.

Academic Tours: After breakfast, tour Siracusa including the most famous Greek theater of Sicily, the legendary Dyonisius’ Ear, the Roman amphitheatre and the Latomie. Visit the island of Ortigia, historical center of Syracuse, as well as treasure of Baroque style. Lunch on your own and leave for Noto famed for its Baroque style. Stop in Modica, also know for its Baroque architecture.

Discover Italia: The morning is dedicated to Piazza Armerina. The historic centre of the town is definitely worth visiting. Not to be missed are the Aragonese Castle and the Romanesque Church of Sant'Andrea. Then an "open air" afternoon including the excavations of Morgantina. An evening in Piazza Armerina, with dinner at the Fogher restaurant in the Bellia district, followed by an after-dinner stroll through the alleyways of the charming mediaeval historic centre.

Historic and Cultural Tour of Sicily: Today we'll take a cultural excursion around the central highlands of Sicily. Following a stop in Enna to visit its castle, we'll proceed to Piazza Armerina to visit its ancient Roman villa. Enjoy lunch at your leisure in Piazza Armerina, an enchanting medieval town. In mid-afternoon we'll visit Caltagirone, known for its ceramic (majolica) art. Time at leisure for shopping and lunch, followed by return to Villa Gussio for dinner and overnight.

Holiday Accommodation

Hotel Morgantina: The hotel is found in the historical center of Aidone, during the whole year he/she offers his/her services to whom travels and to whom moves for business. Situated the city of Aidone to the center of Sicily it is easily attainable and it is a fascinating destination for those people whom a stay of relax desires and to make some archaeological excursions.

Il Mandorleto: Gerace is a typical agricultural area located in the Sicilian hinterland. It is an ideal place to pay a visit to the archaeological areas of Morgantina and Piazza Armerina. The famous ceramics town of Caltagirone and other places can easily be reached within a half day excursion. It is 11 km from Pergusa and 20 from Enna. The bus "Sais" connects Catania's airport with Enna and Contrada Gerace to Enna. Catania's airport it is 100 km from Gerace. It is possible riding horse. Into Gerace Monastery of 1610 it is celebrated Holy Mass in the summer. Our guests will find lodging in a characteristically restored farm house provided of three wide bedrooms with private bathroom, a living-room with private entrance, a huge garden, possibility to use a kitchen, swimming pool, ping pong and a terrace where you can enjoy the landscape over the valley and a wonderfully lit up sky at night. We will invite you to rediscover the genuine farm products in the very near restaurant located within the Gerace Farmhouse of Antonella and Ettore open from Easter to September. To reach us exit at Enna Highway intersection A19 Catania-Palermo; go to Pergusa direction, get Pergusa and then go to Barrafranca direction for 11 km until Gerace (km 6,5 S.P. 78).

Aragonese: In the historic area of Piazza Armerina, Sicily, old renovated house with balcony and fascinating view. Rooms with bathroom, accomodations for singles, couples, friends, families and small parties; typical italian breakfast and 5 bed-rooms with panoramic view over the church-bells and the impressive medieval town; hospitality. In Via Roma, entrance from the old fashioned and characteristic Vico Sant'Antonio at N°11. We invite our guests to choose our B&B for confortable rest, essential to face the weary and delightful discovery of our unchallengeable "Città dei Mosaici" after a good breakfast!

Agriturismo Bannata: Bannata, from the Arab meaning "land kissed by the sun", is an agricultural estate farmed according to organic principles, and spreads out in the midst of rich woodlands full of pines, eucalyptus trees and poplars. The estate features a traditional Sicilian farmhouse, or "masseria", built in the early years of the 19th century, next to an older, 18th-century structure, a former dwelling for shepherds and labourers. The buildings are equipped to host conferences, banquettes, meetings, art displays and theatre pieces. The finest ingredients and recipes from the heartland of Sicilian cooking inspire the food and drink provided. Located on an ancient path, called the E1, which runs from Norway along the length of Europe into Sicily, Bannata offers fans of trekking an exceptional opportunity to rediscover the pleasures of walking in some of nature' finest landscapes. Visitors can also reach the estate on horseback, riding along country lanes (trazzere), past important archaeological sites steeped in mythology, taking in, for example, the world famous mosaics at the Villa del Casale near Piazza Armerina, Morgantina, the Rossomanno excavations, Montagna di Marzo, the Floristella Grotta-Calda Mineral Park, the enchanted stones and lake of Pergusa. Bannata is open all year round, but visitors are asked to book/reserve in advance.

Quattro Stagioni: Inaugurated in 2005, “Quattro Stagioni” Bed & Breakfast, is located in the city centre within a few minutes walk of local terminal, where you can catch a bus or a coach straight to places like the old town and beyond, the Roman Villa of Casale and other Sicilian destinations. The B&B, located at the first floor of a modern building, provides its guests with a comfortable and quiet place to stay all over the year. Great care has been taken in furnishing the B&B five mini-flats (1 to 4 beds per flat) fitted with a full range of comforts: dining room. kitchenette with cooking equipment, balcony or verandah, air conditioning, sat-tv, internet connection.

Saraceno: Bed and Breakfast placed in the heart of the historical center o Piazza Armerina in strategic position to visit both the sunny rich city of history and traditions and the splendid mosaics of the Villa Romana Casale. Piazza Armerina it is situated in strategic position to visit the whole Sicily. In the Bed and Breakfast Saraceno, simplicity, practicality and taste make the ideal place to enjoy the art, the history, the traditions and the territory of Armerina Plaza. The B&B of recent opening is situated in the historical district channels in typical house recently restructured. One of the two available rooms for the guests have the balcony, the other the balcony and the availability of an angle cooking. The practiced prices vary from 25 European to 30 European to understood person the first breakfast. One of the two available rooms for the guests have the balcony, the other the balcony and the availability of an angle cooking.

Gigliotto: In the ancient XIII century Farmhouse with characteristic Sicilian beam, owners have restructured all the area destined to the hospitality of tourists, with fifteen warm and comfortable rooms (one of which for disabled ). All rooms are furnished with Sicilian furnitures, with bath inside and fired floors. Works have been made in the respect of the traditional structures where arches, small squares, old beams and walls recreate an ancient and warm ambience. Excursions for small groups, visits with guide at the Roman Villa Del Casale, at the Piazza Armerina old town centre, at the Morgantinas diggings and at the small museum of the rural traditions located in our country.

Giucalem: The comfortable B&B Giucalem is located in an ample beautiful valley near Piazza Armerina in the Province of Enna - Sicily. The Bed and Breakfast is perfectly situated to visit the famous places like the “Roman Villa del Casale” with the mosaics of the 3rd century (5 min), Caltagirone and the beautiful stairway with majolica’s or the Greek theatre of Morgantina. It is a destination for those who love peaceful surroundings and an absolutely unspoiled nature. The Giuseppe’s Family and “Mamma Maria” are a perfect example for the Sicilian hospitality. Due to the warm and friendly ambience you will immediately feel like at home. The house is surrounded from their cultivated vegetables gardens. The early-morning breakfast is abundant and rich of tastes. To try the seasoned bread ("cunzato") prepared by “Mamma Maria”. The little Alessandro with his vitality will be a splendid companion of games for the guests children. Before you go to bed after a hard day’s sight seeing you can relax with a glass of homemade limoncello (creamy liqueur of lemon). The house has been recently renovated respecting its original character. The five rooms are all equipped with a private bathroom. There is an internal car park and a large garden.

Collecasale: The Bed and Breakfast "Collecasale" is a house made of stone, simple and confortable, it's a private room with bath, cooking angle, parking. The Family provides breakfast, set of linen and daily cleaning. The Bed and Breakfast "Collecasale" is easy to get to. It's 15 minutes walk far from the famous Villa of Casale and 4 Km far from Piazza Armerina; you can also enjoy an excursion in the historal centre of Caltagirone (abaut 30 min.) and Morgantina's excavations, two famous places around Piazza Armerina. Our is a simple hospitality. We offer relax, thoughtful welcome, quiet. We'llbe galds to give you all information about our oil production and others services. We guarantce the best daily - cleaning and the room functionality.