Hotels in Piazza Armerina

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Piazza Armerina

Piazza Armerina is situated on three hills in the middle of the Erei mountains, in the province of Enna. Set among large hazel-nut groves and orchards the small town (24,000 inhabitants) offers much more than only the mosaics in the nearby “Villa del Casale”: an attractive landscape as well as a wealth of churches with marvellous colourful cupolas - well worth a more detailed visit.
Piazza Armerina is a comparatively young town, founded in 1080 by the Norman Count Roger (Ruggero) I. Still today the town celebrates every year on 14 August the Norman victory over the Arabs with the “Palio dei Normanni” - traditional knights’ jousts and processions.

The town is dominated by the fortress “Castello Aragonese”, built under Spanish reign towards the end of the 14th century, and by the cathedral “Duomo Santissima Assunta”, dating back to the 17th century and standing on the remains of a more ancient church. Narrow little streets wind between all the medieval buildings and squares, creating an unmistakable atmosphere.
But the highlight of Piazza Armerina is the Villa del Casale, famous for its mosaics and acting as a magnet for all visitors to Sicily. Situated 5km southwest of Piazza Armerina, the village of Casale and the splendid villa, probably country and hunting seat of a Roman emperor or high nobleman of the 4th century, were both destroyed in a landslide in the 12th century and were forgotten. In 1925 first small mosaic fragments were found just by chance and scientists decided to excavate further. Since the 1950s the premises have been systematically explored and so far the manor house, colonnade, banqueting-halls, aqueduct… in total 50 rooms have been uncovered and preserved.

Particular attention should be paid to the floor mosaics, still featuring magnificent colours and detailed sceneries, such as mythological subjects, big game hunting in Africa and the main attraction: the world famous “bikini girls”, young sportswomen with balls or discus wearing a similar kind of clothes designed 1500 years ago.

Not far away from Piazza Armerina, approx. 30km to the south-east, Caltagirone, the stronghold of ceramic production, is another attractive tourist highlight with its famous colourful majolica flight of steps “Scalazza” (142 steps leading up to a church) and the Ceramics Museum.