Art of Ceramics and Art of Mosaics
Caltagirone, Capital of Sicilian Ceramics
Caltagirone is a town in the province of Catania located on the Erei mounts at 600 mt (1970 ft) of elevation between the plain of Catania and
the plain of Gela. The name of Arabic origin describes the nature of the town: Qal'at al-Ghiran (fortress of the caves) or
Qal'at al-Garun (fortress of the jars) indicating the high position on the hill. UNESCO heritage site since 2002 together with 'Val di Noto'
Caltagirone is renowned for the production of ceramics, activity still present in the history of the town from the early Siculo-Greek
period until nowaday. Artistic ceramic shops and artisan laboratory are present in many streets of the attractive city center; some of
them produce unique pieces on demand. Museum of Ceramics, museum of Nativity, museum of Sicilian Puppets, Art Institute for
the Ceramics and some ceramic factories highlight the main economic activity of this town. Together with the pottery Caltagirone is very
interesting to visit for the historical heritage, the architecture and the relaxing atmosphere in the charming streets, stairs and alleys
of the city center: Public Garden, Church San Francesco, Bridge San Francesco, Borbonic Prison, Cathedral San Giuliano, Stairway and Church Santa Maria del
Monte, Gallery Don Luigi Sturzo... Typical food and fast food specialities to enjoy a (quick) lunch without wasting the time during the
visit of this charming town in the middle of the Sicilian countryside.
Villa Romana del Casale with the Roman Mosaics of III Century a.D.
UNESCO heritage site since 1997, Villa Romana del Casale is an ancient Roman villa of III-IV century a.D. with 60 home environments among living rooms, event halls, baths, termae, gym... for a total surface of 3500 sq mt (37700 sq ft) covered with mosaics. This is Villa Romana del Casale by numbers: the most important historical remain of Roman civilization in Sicily and Italy. Located in the valley of Gela river near Piazza Armerina, interesting historical town in the middle of Sicily, the villa is a real amazing evidence of the high level of Roman Empire civilization. All the rooms are floored with mosaics and each one is a real protrait, a snapshot of the society, with different scenes of life. The villa was property of a very rich Roman landowner or, perhaps, the Emperor Maximianus Herculius himself, or his son Massenzio. The mosaics show the typical skill and the style of North Africa (Algeria) artists, and the colored stones used for the tiles come from the same area. Layout and architecture are complex, as visible from the walls remains, and the villa was equipped with all the luxury comforts and the facilities to ensure the highest level of life, including the termae fed by the water coming from the near river Gela. After the fall of the Roman Empire the villa was inhabitated by Byzantines, Arabs, Normans... until it was covered by the mud of a landslide from the near Mangione mount. In 1881 started the first excavations that lead to the discovery of the 'triclinium' and from 1950 another campaign with scientific approach which allowed the discovery all the villa. Visiting the Roman Villa is an extraordinary unique experience for the eyesight and the mind: a dive into the past with images of 1700 years ago.
Caltagirone and Piazza Armerina - full day excursion
- Church San Francesco
- Bridge San Francesco
- Borbonic Prison
- Cathedral San Giuliano
- Gallery Don Luigi Sturzo
- Stairway and Church Santa Maria del Monte
- Walking tour and visit to ceramic shops
Villa Romana del Casale
- Museum of Roman Mosaics
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