Villa Romana del Casale
Roman villa built in the first quarter of the 4th century


Roman mosaics in the world The Villa Romana del Casale in Piazza Armerina is considered to be one of the most important of all roman villa residence with it”s mosaics and decorative elements. Dated back to 320-350 A.D., the villa most likely belonged to a member of Rome’s senatorial class a senatorial aristocrat and landowner who possibly supplied Rome with grain as well as wild beasts was once thought to belonged to a Roman emperor — perhaps Maximian, who was co-emperor with Diocletian.

37,674 sq ft of mosaic flooring – figurative and geometric – along with wall mosaics, columns, statues, capitals and coins. In the mosaics, the viewer can detect varying styles and narrative cycles: one is dedicated to mythology and to Homeric poems, while another refers to nature and scenes from the Roman aristocracy’s quotidian life. 




The Villa

The Four distinct zones have been identified from the villa’s remains: the monumental entrance with courtyard in horseshoe form; the villa’s center, built around another courtyard garden; a large room with three apses (trichora), preceded by an oval peristyle lined by several large niches; and the thermal baths complex. 

Almost in the middle of the south side of the villa is a room called the "diaeta of Orpheus". It has a columned entrance and an apse at the southern end where there was a statue of Apollo Lycaus which is a particular pose in which the god leans against a support with an arm resting on his head. The room features a mosaic of Orpheus beneath a tree playing a lyre and taming all kinds of animals with his music. Originally the walls were faced with marble. Its northerly aspect would have made it perfect for summer dining and may have been used for musical entertainment, in accord with the mosaics.

On the south side of the villa is an ovoid peristyle leading, on its eastern side , to a large ceremonial hall.

The peristyle colonnade has only fragments remaining of mosaics of animals encircled in acanthus leaves. The oval courtyard which it encloses is thought to have been used, at times, for aquatic games when it would have been flooded, the zig zag mosaics mimicking waves.

The great hall, or triapsidal triclinium, has a large square central area with an apse on each of its north, east and south sides. The hall was used for the most lavish of official banquets when each of the apses would have been furnished with the semicircular beds, known as stibadia, on which a good number of diners could lounge.

The central square floor was laid with a complex and colourful mosaic depicting the labours of Hercules.






Villa Romana del Casale

The Villa Romana del Casale (in Sicily), the centre of the large estate upon which the rural economy of the Western Empire was based. The villa is one of the most luxurious of its kind. It is especially noteworthy for the richness and quality of the mosaics which decorate almost every room; they are the finest mosaics in situ anywhere in the Roman world.