VILLA ROMANA DEL CASALE

 
Il sito archeologico

Regional Museum established by virtue of Article 2, paragraph 2, of Regional Law 17/1991, since 1997 it has been included in the World Heritage List as a "sublime example of a luxurious Roman villa, graphically illustrating the prevalence of the social and economic structures of its time"., becoming one of the most visited Unesco sites in Sicily. In the 4th century, the Roman Villa del Casale in Piazza Armerina was the heart of an important latifundium estate, with spaces for the administration of the farm, warehouses for the products, and a representative function to assert the power of the owner. Since the mid-20th century, it has been decided not to remove the splendid mosaics and exhibit them in a museum (a practice that was dominant at the time), but to allow the context to be appreciated: the villa complex.

Initially it was thought to be an imperial residence, but it is now clear that it was rather the property of a high-ranking personage. At the time of the discovery, people were impressed by the great pomp and circumstance. Today, several villas of the same period and of a comparable standard are known in Sicily, but other circumstances have also been noted, such as the lack of stones from imperial quarries. The large warehouses to the left of the entrance (separate from the body of the villa and with specific features for such buildings) were used for the products of the farm (grain, oil, wine); there is no doubt about the function of the complex. The architectural organisation and decoration are clearly designed to impress those arriving for work and guests of rank, but also to have an environment that was pleasant to live in and suited to the culture of the master of the house. The subjects of the figurative scenes refer to the rank of the dominus, a person of senatorial rank, probably a praefectus Urbi (the governor of the city of Rome), but also a refined intellectual, a philosophus. Several owner identifications have been proposed: none is conclusively proven, but all meet the same characteristics.

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