Piazza Armerina, Province of Enna, Sicilia
The town, famous for its mosaics and the historical re-enactement called Palio dei Normanni, rises in the Monti Erei, on three hills surrounded by thick eucalyptus and pine woods. Thanks to its central position in the vicinity to the A19, the abundance of hotels and Bed and Breakfasts, its exceptional climate, mild in winter and cool in the summer, it is an ideal starting point for itineraries throughout Sicily. It is an art town, rich of churches and palaces built in a very hard stone. The Villa Romana with the precious, unique mosaics, and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Altitude: 720 m a.s.l
- Population: about 21,000 inhabitants
- Zip/postal code: 94015
- Dialing Area Code: +39 0935
- Patron Saint: Santa Maria delle Vittorie
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Provinces of Sicily
- 12, 13 and 14 August, the Palio dei Normanni, a historical reenactment within an atmosphere of medieval ladies and knights, where the four ancient quarters, Monte, Castellina, Canali and Casalotto fight in a quintana joust to win the "Vessillo della Madonna delle Vittorie". The Palio dei Normanni is among the most ancient reenactments in Italy, being re-established in its present form in 1952, but existing in past centuries as "La Cavalcata", a religious event in honor of the Virgin Mary, patron of the town, and going back to the war of Roger of Altavilla against the Arabs in Sicily.
What to see
- The Baroque duomo with a Gothic bell tower, preserving in the chapel to the left of the presbytery a 1485 Crucifixion on painted wood, of the unknown "Maestro della Croce di Piazza Armerina". On the main altar is the container in wrought silver preserving the image of the Madonna delle Vittorie, donated according to the tradition by Pope Nicolò II to count Roger of Altavilla, who used it as his battle standard. Other works of art in the Cathedral are the paintings "Martirio di Sant'Agata" by Jacopo Ligozzi (1600) and an Assumption by Filippo Paladino (1612)
- A little outside the town, the 12th-century Church of Sant'Andrea.
- In the hamlet called Casale the Roman Villa Imperiale or Villa del Casale, of the 3rd century AD, with its extraordinary, world-famous mosaic floors, probably the work of African craftsmen. The Villa was discovered in the late 19th century and completely excavated in the mid-20th, and covers 3,500 square meters. It is unique for its mosaics, made with extremely small pieces and in a great variety of colors. The UNESCO inscription reads: "The Villa del Casale at Piazza Armerina is the supreme example of a luxury Roman villa, which graphically illustrates the predominant social and economic structure of its age. The mosaics that decorate it are exceptional for their artistic quality and invention as well as their extent".