Situated in Southern Sicily,
between Enna and Caltagirone, Piazza Armerina, is a doorway
to the minds of fans of archaeology, with its beautiful frescoes
in Villa del Casale, only a few kilometres from here, nominated
as a patrimony of humanity by UNESCO in 1996.
The Villa was positioned along the stretch between Catania
and Agrigento and enjoyed its maximum splendour around the
4th and V Centuries AD, just before the demise of the Goths
and the Vandali, which probably damaged it, though leaving
enough standing that it remained active also during the successive
Byzantine, Arabic and Norman periods.
Buried by a flood, it had to await the first digs (‘800s)
to partially return visible, but deeper and more detailed
studies of premises and frescoes must be attributed to Gino
Vinicio Gentili (1950).
Piazza Armerina belongs to the group known as “Common
Lombards” of Sicily, where a Gallo-Siculo dialect is
spoken, much different from the Sicilian dialect and with
a closer similarity to the dialect which is spoken by the
Piedmontese of Monferrato.
History dates back to the period when the Normans were in
power under Guglielmo I (William I), known as the Malo. Due
to a strong aversion to its internal politics, which caused
the bloody revolt (Bonello) Northern Italian dignitaries,
namely the Lombards and Piedmontese, were called to govern
the rebellious cities.
The habitat developed during the Norman era and was protected
firstly by erecting town-walls, and subsequently due to enlargement
of its territory, a second one constructed in 1397.
Piazza Armerian offers remarkable cues for cultural visits
beginning with its Duomo (1604), of imposing size and seat
of the Diocesan Museum and the Aragonese Castle (14th Century)
with square turrets, constructed on the wishes of King Martino
A must visit, just outside the centre, is the Church of Saint
Andrea, a valuable example of Norman religious art (1096),
which also preserves frescoes representing the Life of Christ
Every year in the City, from the 12th to 14th August, there’s
a Norman “Palio”, a three day festival of horse
races and horse games in Medieval costume.