Uh, Luxury “Palace,” not Villa

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You might consider the Villa Romana del Casale in Piazza Armerina the “dark horse” of Sicily’s UNESCO sites. It’s not as well-known as others in Sicily, but once you have seen it, its magnificence and historical significance overshadows your memories of other sites. First off, calling it a villa is really a misnomer because it is really a sprawling luxury palace. And at this point, only 4000 square meters or 43,055 square feet of the early 4th century estate have been excavated. In other words, there’s still more to it. This map-image gives you only a hint into the scope and variety of mosaic scenes that perhaps North African artists depicted: everything from contemporary sport, hunting, and fishing scenes to erotic imagery and illustrations of mythological tales. Last year when I toured the site I obeyed the signs that said no photography (hence the weak photo!); when I’m back in a couple of weeks… we’ll see how well-behaved I am!

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