Bikinis in the 3rd century. This we have to see!
Today we drive inland to see the Roman mosaics at Villa Romana del Casale just outside Piazza Armerina. From Modica it is about ninety minutes through orange and olive groves and open fields dotted with dry stone walls.
At Villa del Casale, tour buses congregate and we run the gauntlet of side show alley with it’s souvenir stalls, though we do stop to try the oranges being sold from the back of a van.
There is a lot of restoration taking place and unfortunately a large number of rooms are closed. We are amazed by the size of the site and the near perfect condition of the mosaics.
Mosaics cover the floor of every room of the late 3rd century villa.They have been covered by mud as a result of a flood in the 12th century and not discovered until the 19th century. The major discoveries were made between 1950 and 1960.
The dining room mosaics feature mythological creatures whilst those in the long passage way show hunting scenes.
The ‘ Hall of the Female Gymnasts in Bikinis’ is an amazing scene with ten gymnasts in different poses.
On the way home we stop at Caltagirone, the ceramic centre of Sicily.
Il Locandiere at Via Luigi Sturzo, 55 is mentioned in Italy’s Slow Food guide, Osterie d’Italia, as the place to go and it is perfect for lunch. Specializing in fish, the mussels are stunning. Why do they taste so sweet compared to those in Australia?
If you are there on a Monday when Il Locandiere is closed, try La Piazzette, just round the corner in Via Vespri 20.
We explore the town.
The stairway leading to Santa Maria del Monte has it’s 142 steps covered in majolica tiles.