Date: 1st August 2018
Travelled: 132 kilometres from Agrigento to Piazza Armerina, both in Sicily
Visited: Villa Romano del Casale, €10pp + €3 parking.
Stayed: Area Agriturismo, Piazza Amerina. €15 all the usual. N37.34021 E14.38851
It’s always a bit more time consuming to pack up after a couple of days in situ. Chairs, tables etc, then the cloths line and awning not to mention the scooter. By the time the Hymer’s ready to roll, I am so hot and sweaty, I have my second shower of the day and its only 8.30 in the morning. So we drive around Agrigento and turn for the SS640.
There is no breeze this morning, the sea is dead flat and you can almost see the humidity. The best thing about moving on is we get a breeze as we travel. We don’t normally travel with the Hymer’s cab air-conditioning running, but its so humid here. Our first afternoon in Sicily as we departed Palermo we turned on the A/C and found it was obviously not working properly.
We stop for fuel at Caltanissetta, I ask the attendant about air-conditioning repairs. Lots of waiving hands, gesturing left and right he tries his best. 10 minutes later the bonnet is up and the young mechanic connects our air-condioning system up to a very fancy machine. It runs through all the tests, then our system is re-gassed and we are on our way, less €80. Going on to the Lidl still in Caltanissetta we do a stock up before continuing on to Piazza Armerina.
The ruins of Villa Romano del Casale are 5 klms this side of Armerina, so we turn for there first.
We are getting a little bit ruined out, so we are hoping for something a little different today.
The villa was thought to be the hunting lodge of Emperor Marcus Aurelius Maximanus (think Gladiator). Circa 3rd century.
The complex was thought destroyed after a flood during the 12th century, it remained buried in mud for 700 years, being re-discovered in the 1950’s. A bit like myself.
It many ways, more like a palace than a hunting lodge. It just goes on and on.
Apparently there are 3500 m² of mosaic flooring.
This is ‘the room of the ten girls in bikinis’, quite famous amongst us archeological types. Who would have thought that this famous mosaic has been laid over an equaly wonderful geometric mosaic. One presumes Marcus liked the ladies.
Your author and Pam’s driver leans against a blue limestone column, part of the original entrance colonnade.
The wonderful ‘Corridor of the Great Hunt’ is the final prize on this visit.
Another part of the great hunt mosaic, it about 30 metres long.
Our couple of hours at Villa Romana del Casale has been a real treat. It’s one thing to look at temple that has stood in the weather, surviving wars and earthquakes for 2500 years, but our tour of the Villa is about observing the skill of the artist and tradesman who created an image of life some 18 centuries ago. At least as an emporer wanted it to be depicted.
We grudgingly pay the parking fee and leave the wonderful mosaic’s of the Villa Romana del Casale behind. Climbing the hill toward Piazza Armerina, a storm is brewing.
Piazza Armerina looks very pretty, but at 2pm its more like a ghost town. Everything is closed for the afternoon siesta. The storm is building quickly as you can see.
With the storm threatening we decide to continue on to our planned sosta on the other side of town. Thinking we will come back around 6pm for a drink. Interesting road isn’t it.
Now the road starts to get narrower and steeper. Even Captain Risky is hoping nothing is coming the other way by this stage.
The road down the hill is just as bad. By the time we arrive at the sosta, the storm hits and we get a good dose of thunder, lighting and heavy rain for 90 minutes. The sosta is in a beautiful spot, so we apply some descretion and leave the scooter on the rack and have the evening in.