Today’s entry after which you will never again say that you have nice tiles on the bathroom floor. They had really nice floors at Villa Romana. Yours are worse, seriously.
In an earlier post, we complained about the long drive to Valle dei Templi, and then raved about how worthwhile it was to go there. One of the next dilemmas concerned the Villa Romana del Casale. When we were planning the next day and had in our minds to chug 2 hours to look at some mosaics in the villa for an hour, and then again 2 hours back, there was a lot of doubt.
On the one hand, we lose a lot of travel time and gasoline money, but on the other hand, we recalled fantastic ancient temples that we would certainly regret not seeing. So, following the principle of “It’s better to do something and regret it than to regret not doing it,” we decided to hit the road.
The road from Syracuse actually took us about 2 hours, but it wasn’t so bad. We drove reasonably fast, without much difficulty, and had some nice views along the way, including Piazza Armerina (a village near Villa Romana).
There is, of course, paid parking waiting for you at Villa Romana, which is unlikely to be avoided, as there is nowhere else to park in the area.
Such is the life of a tourist ;-)
Table of contents
Villa Romana tour
Once again, it hit us how crafty those Italians are when planning space around tourist attractions. As in Syracuse, for example, the road is designed to spend a fortune at nearby stalls and stalls. So we have the parking lot at the end, first passing a small square with stalls, and only then can we calmly head to the entrance of the villa.
OK, we have nothing to complain about, because the parking lot was almost empty, and of all the booths only two were open, whose employees begged us to keep our eyes on their wares, at least for a moment. Nonetheless, it is not so easy in high season.
To get to the villa itself, we still have to walk an additional piece uphill along the paved road. It’s not easy, but it’s manageable to get there with Bobas in a stroller :)
Entrance to the villa costs €10 (and how else, if you don’t already know, in Sicily all the attractions cost us €10 each ;-)) and compared to Valle dei Templi, the price there was more appropriate, although here too it is essential to go inside.
The site is relatively new, opened to tourists in 2012, and is the biggest attraction in central Sicily. What is so special about it? Here you will see very well-preserved Roman mosaics, on almost every floor (and more) in the villa’s grounds – a total of 3,535 square meters! The origins of this complex of buildings date to the 4th century. n. e. and the fact that the mosaics have survived the centuries so well is due to the layer of silt that covered them in the 12th century. The mosaics were rediscovered in 1950.
At first we were a bit lost – no map, no tour plan, vague descriptions of individual places (sometimes only in Italian, for example), but once you get inside the main building, it’s much easier to get your bearings and plan your tour. Among the buildings and rooms we can see an atrium with baths, where we can see how the systems that heated the baths worked, a courtyard, a basilica and numerous rooms (there are 50 chambers in this complex!).
The mosaics within the main building are viewed from above, from a special platform. Unfortunately, the lighting inside is poor and a lot of detail and true colors escape. The facility’s adaptation for wheelchairs and people with disabilities also fares poorly. There is a special entrance with a ramp, but the available area is severely limited.
The mosaics impress with their variety, accuracy, details and colors. They depict daily life, hunting scenes and mythology. Most impressive to us was the 64-meter-long mosaic in the corridor depicting scenes of wildlife hunting(Ambulacrodella Scena della Grande Caccia).
There is also a mosaic on the villa’s grounds, titled “The Mosaic. “small hunt” consisting of 5 pictures and it is located in the dining room. In fact, each of the mosaics is very detailed and perfectly laid out.
On the other hand, the most famous mosaic is the one depicting half-naked girls, of course ;). “Hall of 10 girls” or “Girls in bikinis” (Sala delle Dieci Ragazze) indicates that bikinis were already popular in those days.
Enna – the central terrace of Sicily
After this lengthy exposure to art, we decided that we would look at one town on the way – Enna. We were going to drive up for a while, maybe eat something. In practice, it turned out that getting to the village itself is full of excitement – the village is located on a hill (1,000 meters above sea level), so there is a lot of climbing and beautiful views ahead.
Anyway, it was the views that we were hoping for the most. Unfortunately, it was already starting to get dark, so we could not take advantage of it 100%, we can only imagine what the views look like here, for example, at sunrise.
And a panorama:Please define valid width and height attributes for remote images. This will also optimize the loading time of the remote panorama.
We also drove towards the castle located here, and this was probably the biggest mistake. No, it’s not about the castle itself, because it’s hard for us to judge whether it’s worth it or not, but it’s about the roads themselves in the town. Narrow (we almost rubbed our mirrors against the walls, seriously!), dark, paved and one-way.
Can it get any worse? Yes! Recall that this is a city on a hill, so every now and then we have sharp climbs here. Even worse? Here you go. Navigation got lost. Horror! By now we have 20 minutes of circling those narrow streets in front of our eyes and we still don’t know how we managed to get out of there!
And our route looked like this:
We have also marked on the map the entrance and exit of Enna from the main road, which is the free A19 highway.
Fortunately, Paweł loves such routes and had quite a bit of fun :) For those who do not like such sensations, I recommend not to listen to the navigation and go around the wider roads, it is of course possible :)
Was it worth it?
We returned to our hotel late in the evening. Another day on the road, another day when we were able to see a unique, one-of-a-kind place.
Although mosaics are not something we are very fascinated by, the size and number of them we saw that day left us stunned. It is not a place we will probably return to, but it is a place worth seeing.
In addition, the beautiful views and impressions in Enna made the day a success and the trip worth the time spent and the gasoline burned :-)
Finally, we recommend you a photo gallery as standard: