The accomplishments of the ancient Greeks and Romans continue to fill one with wonder and awe.
In Sicily, there's even evidence that they were remarkably modern in the world of fashion. A mosaic at the Villa Romana del Casale shows girls playing sports in bikinis. Start the video on the right at 14:38 and see for yourself.
The video comes from a well-known TV show on RAI, called "Passaggio a Nord Ovest" (Northwest Passage). Its host, Alberto Angela, talks about the bikini girls as well as the whole Villa Romana del Casale. Or one should maybe say complex since it is over 10,000 square meters (!) in area with corridors, spas, guest rooms, dining rooms, and private rooms belonging to the owner.
On the floor of one of the corridors is a mosaic 60 meters long! Alberto Angela discusses it at 8:20. The story that the mosaic tells is not so beautiful from today's perspective. It involves the capture of wild animals from all over the world, which if they survived the journey, ended up in the Colosseum.
Although some of the artwork represents different things to us today, from an artistic and historical point of view, the Villa Romana del Casale is a unique window into antiquity. This is why the experts at UNESCO declared the Villa Romana del Casale a World Heritage Site in 1997.
Alberto Angela, of course, saves the best for last. A mosaic from the owner's private rooms: 22:25.
Oh, yeah – one more thing. Not to create a false impression: Albert Angela naturally had special permission to walk around right next to the mosaics. For the rest of us normal folk enjoying our holidays in Sicily, this is strictly forbidden.
The Villa Romana del Casale is one of Sicily's most important ancient sites. Unusually, it is not located on the coast, but more in the heart of things – and today, holidaygoers in Sicily can find is easily just 20 km from the A19 motorway.
If you are visiting over the holidays and coming from Palermo, use the Caltanisetta exit and follow the green line at the top of the map. Coming from Catania use the Dittaino exit and follow the blue line.
At a glance the green and blue lines seem like "straight shots". In fact, they combine different roads, so you have to pay attention. They aren't complicated, but sometimes you will find yourself using your gut feeling to navigate. We recommend that you familiarize yourself with your route as much as possible before you go. You can even use Google Street View to practice!