Day 370: Villa Romana Del CasaleFebruary 19, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C
See ya later Syracuse, we're outta here. Packed up and left the city in the morning, heading westwards roughly along the southern coast. After a couple of hours driving we arrived at the town of Piazza Armerina, where our next world heritage site was located.
This one was a good one - a late Imperial era Roman villa (so dating from the 4th century AD), with absolutely exquisite floor mosaics (and some wall frescoes as well). We've seen quite a few Roman mosaics lately, but these were absolutely outstanding - lots of scenes of hunting, gods and goddesses, intricate patternwork, etc.
We spent a few hours wandering around, since the villa was quite large though not on the same scale as Hadrian's villa outside of Rome. What I found interesting was that very little written record of the villa exists; quite unusual for the period. As a result, it's not actually known who built the villa or why, nor do we know who lived there! Though the common theory is that it was a particular governor of Sicily during the mid 4th century who was renowned for being wealthy and powerful.
After indulging in our fill of floor mosaics, we got back in the car and headed towards Agrigento. We had the problem though that it was lunch time, but of course no lunch places were anywhere to be found. Eventually we stopped at a random town and managed to find a place that was open, though it was more expensive than we wanted. A sit down meal of (admittedly good) pasta with drinks ended up at 30 euros.
After a couple of hours we arrived in Agrigento about halfway along the southern coastline of Sicily. Like Syracuse, this was a Greek colony founded around 500 BC that eventually fell under the sway of the Romans. But there's some fantastic remains of temples here to check out which we were both looking forward to tomorrow.
First problem, however, was that the road to our Airbnb was closed for resurfacing! Our host lives elsewhere in Italy (Bologna I think), and although her mother lives on the property and manages things on the ground, she hadn't thought to mention that fact! So with a bit of difficulty, we managed to talk our way in Italian past the barricades and construction workers, and finally found the place. They weren't particularly impressed, and even less impressed when we went back out straight afterwards to visit the supermarket!
Like others we've stayed in, this place was horrendously cold at night. It's been a common problem in the south of Italy - houses just aren't designed at all for the winter. It's a problem in Australia too, but this is much worse. So we went to bed early and shivered under the blankets, listening to rain on the roof. Hopefully it clears up tomorrow!Read more