Archaeological Park of Villa Romana del Casale
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Archaeological Park of Villa Romana del Casale

Guide to the Villa Romana del Casale

The Villa del Casale is a late Roman villa whose remains are located a few kilometers (about 4) from Piazza Armerina, in the Casale district, on the provincial road to Barrafranca. The Villa is located at the foot of Mount Mangone, it was built around the third or fourth century AD
on an area already occupied since the second century. from a "rustic villa" and in the center of a rural settlement within a large estate. The structure was built following the course of the land so it is structured in terraces on three different levels and spread over an area of ​​about 4.000. In December 1997, the Villa was included in the World Heritage List.

The Villa, or parts of it, although with various functional adaptations were also inhabited in the Arab period (X-XI century) and Norman period (XI-XII century) The medieval village where the Villa resided which in the meantime had taken its name di Plàtia was destroyed in 1160-61 and rebuilt after a few years in its current location in Piazza Armerina. The Villa was abandoned and nothing remained of it but ruins, even if in the vicinity, agricultural housing settlements did not have to completely disappear. In the fifteenth century there was a center known as Casale, from which the Villa took its current name. The ruins of the Villa were visible at the time of Jean Pierre Houel who visited Sicily in 1776-1779 and who was able to represent the ruins in one of his watercolors. After the first excavations of 1812 (Sabatino del Muto) and 1881 (Luigi Pappalardo), a first excavation campaign was conducted in 1929 by Paolo Orsi, who discovered the first mosaic (the labors of Hercules), and a second one, conducted in various shots from 1935 to 1939 by Giuseppe Cultrera, under the patronage of Biagio Pace, brought to light the whole triclinium with the elliptical portico in front of it. But the real excavations that have brought to light most of the Villa took place in (1950-54), under the direction of Gino Vinicio Gentili. In the 70s the restorations that led to the Plexiglas roof system designed by the architect. Franco Minissi. The excavation is still to be considered incomplete, because the dependencies of the villa remain to be discovered and are still buried in the surroundings. In recent years it has been underway, by the excavation mission of the La Sapienza University of Rome directed by prof. Patrizio Pensabene, an excavation campaign in the south, which has brought to light an ancient medieval town. In 2006 a second phase of restoration begins which involves the replacement of the previous roof. In 2012 the Villa was reopened to the public, even if some rooms are not yet fully open to visitors. 

The Villa has four nuclei connected to each other:

* monumental entrance with three arches with polygonal courtyard (1-2);

* thermal complex (3-10);

* central body of the villa, organized around a quadrangular peristyle courtyard, with a garden with a central basin (11-31);

* Triclinium preceded by an ovoid peristyle surrounded in turn by another group of rooms (33, 34, 36);

Many of the halls of the residence have the floor with figured mosaics in colored tiles.

For details go to: Guide to the Villa Romana del Casale

Site subject to archaeological restrictions

Card insertion: Ignazio Caloggero

Audio Guide: Ignazio Caloggero

Information contributions: Web, Region of Sicily

Photo: Ignazio Caloggero

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