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Casale Roman Villa

The most important of all is the site of the Villa Romana del Casale, with its 3500 square meters of mosaic floors famous all over the world, as evidence of life in Roman times.

The Villa del Casale recognized in 1997 by UNESCO and included in the “World Heritage”, was the hunting lodge of Massimiliano Erculeo, colleague of Diocletian in the management of the Roman Empire. Also inhabited in the Arab age, the Villa was partially destroyed by the Normans. Subsequently, an avalanche of mud coming from Mount Mangone, which overlooks it, covered it almost completely.
The Roman Villa stands near the stream, which will become the Gela river further downstream, on the remains of a previous rustic settlement.

In the twenties, thirties and forties of the last century the first inspections were carried out, and with the excavations of the 50s thanks to the intervention of the Sicilian Region and the work of the archaeologist Vinicio Gentili, the excavations were completely brought to light.

The worldwide importance of the Villa is due to the impeccable state of conservation of the mosaics, which are also considered the most extensive and fascinating ever made in Roman times.


Almost always all important discoveries happen by chance. The Villa Imperiale del Casale in Piazza Armerina is proof of this.
It ran the century. XVII AD when some peasants noticed that numerous masonry structures emerged which later turned out to belong to the grandiose imperial villa of Casale. The news first of all attracted G. Paolo Chiarandà who in publishing this discovery wrote as follows: “At the foot of a high mountain called Mangone (Fortress) one can see ruins of houses whose name is not even known: by the Piazzesi it is called “Casale of the Saracens”.

A good 3500 square meters of mosaic floors with geometric and figurative designs, in Opus Tessellatum and Opus Secale, made by African workers who in some ways were inspired by oriental mosaic art were brought to light, and their discovery alternated with that of marble statues life-size, marble torsos, Ionic and Corinthian capitals, gold, silver and bronze coins with the effigy of Maximianus, columns and trabeations, statue heads and many other marble fragments: feet of statues shod with sandals, marble legs and hands which today should be in the warehouses of the constituent archaeological museum, in the trigona palace in Piazza Duomo.
The floor mosaics brought to light depict exotic landscapes, porticoed villas, episodes of hunting and transporting real and fantastic animals, mythological and marine scenes, circus games, cupids harvesting grapes and nereids, which document uses, customs, culture, philosophy and daily life of the dominant aristocratic society during the III-IV century. A.D. At the same time they constitute a sort of catalog of fauna (marine and terrestrial) known in that period. Immediately after the excavation, the restoration of all the floors and wall structures began.

In October 1991, due to an avalanche of debris from Mount Mangone, caused by a storm and by the deforestation of the whole area above the villa, towards the east, wall structures, marble slabs and terracotta channels came to light perhaps belonging to pools and fountains that embellished the terraced gardens of the villa which were located here, detached from the central nucleus.

Other "gems" of the area