Central Sicily

Sights in the Sicilian Interior

Inland Sicily is still village Sicily, a mountainous landscape of medieval towns clinging to their hilltops with a life and culture as rich as any you'll find on the more sight-saturated, tourist-ridden coast.

★★ The Roman villa at Piazza Armerina - In the hamlet of Casale outside the small city of Piazza Armerina lies Villa Romana del Casale, an AD 4th-century villa whose 40 rooms are carpeted with some 37,800 square feet of the most extensive, gorgeous, and colorful ancient mosaics in western Europe. This was the hunting lodge of Maximianus, Diocletian's co-emperor, and the remarkable mosaics were probably the work of north African craftsmen. They're remarkable not only for their Technicolor variety and sheer extent of preservation, but also for their masterful craftsmanship.... » more

The ceramics of Caltagirone - If you're into hand-painted Italian ceramics, head to Caltagirone. Caltagirone (from the Arabic for "castle-cave") was founded in the Bronze Age on a trio of hilltops, giving the medieval city a intricate street plan today lined by baroque and Art Nouveau buildings, many studded and decorated with painted ceramics and tiles. They've been making pots in Caltagirone for 4,000 years, but it was with the Arab conquest in the 9th century that the ceramics industry really picked up and the local craftsmen refined their majolica art. Today the little city thrives on the tourists and collectors who visit its some 130 ceramics studios and showrooms, and it is home to Sicily's regional ceramics museum.... » more

Ancient echoes in Enna - There isn't all that much to see here, perhaps half a day's diversions recommended mainly to mythology buffs—Enna is one of Sicily's most ancient centers, inhabited long before the 15th-century BC Sicani established this thriving city that worshipped a harvest goddess the Greeks would call Demeter and her daughter Kore (a.k.a. Persephone). It is, however, traditionally held to be the dead-center of Sicily, and—as the biggest town for miles around—a place to change buses to get to Piazza Armerina... » more

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