Central Sicily

The main part of the villa is centred on the peristyle, a vast covered courtyard lined with amusing animal heads. This is where guests would have been received before being taken through to the basilica (throne room).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Central Sicily attractions

1. Villa Romana del Casale

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Villa Romana del Casale is sumptuous, even by decadent Roman standards, and is thought to have been the country retreat of Marcus Aurelius Maximianus,…

2. Ambulacro della Grande Caccia

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This 64m-long corridor is emblazoned with dramatic hunting scenes of tigers, leopards, elephants, antelopes, ostriches and a rhino – animals that the…

3. Little Hunt

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Of the rooms on the northern side of the peristyle, the most interesting is a dining room featuring a hunting mosaic called the Little Hunt – 'little'…

4. Sala delle Dieci Ragazze

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Just off the southern end of the Ambulacro della Grande Caccia, in the Sala delle Dieci Ragazze, is the villa's most famous mosaic. It depicts nine …

5. Palaestra

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The palaestra wows with a splendid, sweeping mosaic depicting a chariot race at the Circus Maximus in Rome (the room is also known as the Salone del Circo…

6. Atrium

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This elegant space functioned as the Roman villa's forecourt.

7. Frigidarium

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The radiating apses in the the octagonal frigidarium contained bracing plunge pools.