Piazza Armerina & Caltagirone

Description

Pick up at your hotel and depart to Piazza Armerina to visit the famous Roman Villa del Casale: The Villa was constructed (on the remains of an older villa) in the first quarter of the 4th century AD, probably as the center of a huge latifundium (agricultural estate) covering the surrounding area. How long the villa kept this role is not known, maybe for less than 150 years. The complex remained inhabited and a village grew around it, named Platia (derived from the word palatium (palace). The villa was damaged and perhaps destroyed during the domination of the Vandals and the Visigoths. The outbuildings remained in use, at least in part, during the Byzantine and Arab periods. The site was abandoned in the 12th century AD when a landslide covered the villa. Survivors moved to the current location of Piazza Armerina. The villa was almost entirely forgotten, although some of the tallest parts of the remains were always above ground. The area was cultivated for crops. Early in the 19th century, pieces of mosaics and some columns were found. The first official archaeological excavations were carried out later in that century. Continue to Caltagirone to visit the city of the ceramics. The city’s name derives from the Arabic “qal’at-al-ghiran” (“Hill of Vases”). It was inhabited since pre-historical times, as attested by the presence of two necropoleis dating from the second millennium BCE and by numerous other archaeological findings. It was later inhabited by the Sicels pre-Roman population.

The Arabs built here a castle, which in 1030 was attacked by Ligurian troops under the Byzantine general George Maniakes, and which have left traces of Ligurian language in the current dialect. The city flourished under the Norman and Hohenstaufen domination, becoming a renowned center for production of ceramics. Back to Palermo.

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Tour type: Daily Tour
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Location: Sicilia
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