Sicily was famed in antiquity for its agricultural prosperity. An eloquent witness of its late Roman wealth is provided by the great villa near Piazza Armerina, a UNESCO World Heritage site, but the villa, built c.AD 320/330, is not unique in Sicily. Tucked away in the south-east corner of the island in the province of Syracuse, 5km south of the wonderful baroque town of Noto, is another rich Roman villa. It is not as large, but it was also constructed in the 4th century and also boasts fine mosaics. The site is little known, however, and barely gets any visitors at all.
Oliver Gilkes explores a recently refurbished Sicilian museum. Sicily plays host to an unprecedented variety of archaeological sites and monuments, set in an extraordinary medley of landscapes. Combine this with Sicilian panache at cookery (very different from mainland Italy) and its wines, and a visit is a must for enthusiasts of Mediterranean archaeology. Superb museums […]
Few villas have been excavated in Sicily, but recent work at Gerace has revealed the name of the landowner from c.AD 350 to 400, one Philippianus. How much can archaeology tell us about him?
Richard Hodges tours the island’s Greek temples. Sicily in February. Cheating winter with the smell of new grass and the first flowers and blossom, I promised two friends that in three days we would chase down the ancient Greeks and their Mediterranean setting. To get into the mood, I watched Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard. Now […]
Justin Leidwanger and Sebastiano Tusa dive into a 6th-century puzzle off the coast of Sicily. In 1959, a local fisherman, searching for cuttlefish in the shallow waters off the coast of south-east Sicily, spotted several carved stone blocks nestled among the rocks, reef, and sand about a kilometre from the coastal port of Marzamemi. […]
In the early morning, when the light is right, one can see Sicily from Gozo. Though Malta, Gozo, and Sicily share strong cultural connections, each has its own unique character. Sharon Sharpe concludes our Mediterranean jaunt with a tour of Persephone’s island. We fly into Catania, in the shadow of Mount Etna, on the east coast of […]
Sicily, one of the world’s great crossroads of culture, is the subject of the British Museum’s latest must-see exhibition, Sicily: Culture and Conquest. Curators Dirk Booms and Peter Higgs take us behind the scenes, telling the story using five of their favourite objects from the displays. Sicily sits in the centre of the Mediterranean, its […]
Richard Hodges explores the Roman villa at Piazza Armerina, home to the beautiful ‘bikini girl’ mosaics.
Temple trivia from around the world.
The Temple of Hera at Selinunte is testament to the grandeur of this great Classical settlement. But it is just one of many on this sanctuary site. Now, Clemente Marconi and his team have uncovered one of the finest examples of Greek cult architecture and, next to it, one of the earliest to be discovered so far West – dedicated, they believe, to Hera’s sister Demeter.
Sicily was best known during the Roman Republic as the breadbasket of Rome. Although she never reached such dizzy heights again (Africa and Egypt seized the role of Rome’s main grain suppliers), the province remained quietly prosperous throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. The dazzling late Roman villa near Piazza Armerina, with its vast array […]