Villa Romana del Casale

Piazza Armerina, Italy

The Villa Romana del Casale is a large and elaborate Roman villa or palace located about 3 km from Piazza Armerina. Excavations have revealed one of the richest, largest, and varied collections of Roman mosaics in the world, for which the site has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The mosaic and opus sectile floors cover some 3,500 sq metres and are almost unique in their excellent state of preservation due to the landslide and floods that covered the remains.

Although less well-known, an extraordinary collection of frescoes covered not only the interior rooms, but also the exterior walls.

The visible remains of the villa were constructed in the first quarter of the 4th century AD on the remains of an older villa rustica, which are the pars dominica, or master’s residence, of a large latifundium or agricultural estate.

The owner's identity has long been discussed and many different hypotheses have been formulated. Some features such as the Tetrarchic military insignia and the probable Tetrarchic date of the mosaics have led scholars to suggest an imperial owner such as Maximian. However, scholars now believe that the villa was the centre of the great estate of a high-level senatorial aristocrat.



Your name

Website (optional)


Founded: 4th century AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jane Steensta (2 months ago)
Agree with all reviews about the impressive villa and mosaics. Just to add that if you visit with a dog they áre not allowed on the site,but there are numerous loose unsupervised dogs around the car park which come after your dog, and wondering around the site. The staff are not very friendly or have any interest in making visitors feel welcome.
Joaquim Souza (2 months ago)
Worth the drive to see this roman villa. One has to wonder about the scale of wealth of its former owner as he was able to build such a large and sophisticated place in the middle of nowhere. Very well preserved and the mosaics are incredible.
Jose María Simón (3 months ago)
Breathtaking. I think it is one of the most fantastic places I've ever seen, in terms of history&art. I didn't read much about it before coming and I expected not much more than a yard or room with a well preserved mosaic. However it is a big place with many different mosaics, which are an absolute joy to look at. Even the near village of Piazza Armerina has its charm.
Bianca (3 months ago)
If you are an antique society history lover or art lover, you have to go there. I am not the biggest fan and I was really impressed. Free toilets in the restaurant, don't pay outside. I would recommend to bring your own snack and don't eat there. Not sure if it's worth to the guide at the entrance 1h15 for 50 euros. She was kinda running to show us everything on time but I don't think she said anything different from the explanations signs. Only if you really like to have someone telling you, otherwise you can just read everything.
Cristina A. (3 months ago)
World famous archaeological site. This was the palace of a Roman aristocrat, possibly a senator and this was his grand palace in Sicily. In fact the name "villa" can be misleading and not give honour to the majestic size of the place. Take in account at least 40 minutes of visit, but with the guided one can stretch to 1.5 hours.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Luxembourg Palace

The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.

The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.

In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.

During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.

Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.

The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.

During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.