A Travellerspoint blog

Picture the Past

sunny 23 °C

Look around you; look out of the window; look down the street. Then wonder just how much of what you see will still be around more than a thousand years hence, or even five hundred years, or just a hundred. Pause for thought… then look at this villa's mosaic floor in the mountains of central Sicily which is more than one thousand seven hundred years old…
Yes – these young Roman girls playing ball are wearing bikinis…
…and these two female athletes are being awarded prizes.

The luxurious Villa Romano Casale was built at the beginning of the 4th century AD for the family of an aristocratic Roman landowner. The villa had numerous centrally heated state rooms, guest suites and private chambers, in addition to thermal baths, a toilet complex and its own basilica. Every room and even the surrounding courtyards are paved with the finest Roman mosaics ever discovered. This is the somewhat suggestive scene on the floor of the master bedchamber…
While this is one of a group of whimsical chariots racing around an amphitheatre in another room…
And this ancient stallion might just still bite
Room after room; mosaic after mosaic… the quality and detail of the artwork is simply stunning. And where walls have survived they are covered with equally elaborate frescoes…
However the villa’s finest feature is a wide hallway running the length of the building with a mosaic floor depicting the capture of numerous exotic beasts including rhinos, tigers and elephants. It is believed that the artists came from the Nile Delta in Egypt…
The entire mosaic is far too large for one photo and has to be seen to be appreciated, but here is another snapshot…
The incredibly detailed mosaics of the Roman villa near Piazza Armeria in Sicily are not reproductions nor have they been enhanced in any way. They have survived so perfectly due to the hand of nature: when the villa was nine hundred years old a massive landslide carried away the walls and engulfed the rest in deep mud. These mosaics lay undisturbed for the next seven hundred years until they were excavated in 1929,

Posted by Hawkson 09:47 Archived in Italy

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Rare chance to be first to comment. The others must be stunned into silence by the extraordinary beauty of the mosaics. Great photos. I often wonder at how much more realistically the animals and birds are rendered than people in mosaics of that time. The giant geese pulling the chariot might be a counter argument though! What a fabulous site the whole villa is
though. Another spot for my travel wish list.

by Tom

Exquisite!! What a wonderful opportunity to see such ancient art, my friends.
Look forward to your return in the not too distant future!

by Joyce

Truly one of your most spectacular posts.

by R and B

I love the history lessons in the art and architecture.

by The Vickerage

can you imagine living with such beautiful mosaics on a daily basis. I would be on my hands and knees lost in the stories being portrayed. Thank you, too beautiful for words.

by Sue Fitzwilson

These are among the most gorgeous mosaics I've seen...and even a risque one to add some spice to it all!
hugs, Sharron

by Sharron Bertchilde

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