The context - the territory

The Latifundium

Located in a lush hilly area thanks to the presence of the Gela river, the Villa Romana del Casale forms the residential part of a large latifundium, a group of land estates, the massae, which were not necessarily neighbouring, that the late antiquity aristocrats owned in different regions of the Empire. In Sicily in particular, the 4th century AD marked a resumption of agricultural activity, linked to the island’s new role of supplying grain to the city of Rome, after Egyptian grain was transferred to the new capital, Constantinople. It is believed that the villa was connected to the latifundium of Philosophiana , whose name is shown on an itinerary, about halfway along the route between Catania and Agrigento.
The construction of a large residence like the Casale is due, on the one hand, to the size and importance of the latifundium, of which it formed the administrative and managerial centre.
On the other hand, the residence, due to its architectural and decorative characteristics, had to reflect the prestige and culture of the dominus who, due to his high-ranking position, almost certainly suggested the scenes shown in its floor mosaics.

The Villa del Casale is not the only example in the territory of Enna of a residential structure embellished with mosaics and linked, at the same time, to agricultural production. In fact, it is worth mentioning the  Villa di Gerace in Enna, which is currently being excavated.

An organic microcosm: the structure of the villa

The mosaics of the late antiquity residence

A small room used as a privileged entrance to the baths

The prestige of the dominus is revealed through the wall frescoes

The mansio of Philosophiana. A stopping place

A line of armed men for an important Dominus

The protagonists of the mosaics

Auspicious symbols and perhaps the initials of the commissioner’s name decorate the mosaic of the apsidal room

The senses tell the bi-apsed ambulatory – Corridor of the “Great Hunt”

The senses tell the Bi-Apsed room

The catalogue of animals

A hidden meaning

The possible celebration of a solemn event

Form of greeting or ritual?

A day of hunting at the villa

The public and private rooms of the villa

An individual who has attracted the attention of scholars

Semi-public rooms

The Latifundium

A royal room housed the Dominus during his audiences

The senses tell the monumental entrance

The senses tell the private entrance to the spa

The senses tell the room in the private apartment known as “small hunt”

Is the profile of the dominus hidden among the scenes depicted in the mosaics?

The senses tell the frigidarium

The capture of wild animals for the roman amphitheatre games

High-ranking characters depicted in the mosaics of the apsidal niches of the frigidarium

An official ceremony to welcome the Dominus

A small room represents one of the activities of the thermal bath route

An eloquent symbol: the signum

A dialogue between mythological and realistic scenes

A small room embellished with marble

The senses tell the Sacellum of the Lares

Banquets and panegyrics enlivened the vast hall, against the background of a floor mosaic celebrating the feats of Hercules

Solemn and majestic architecture to welcome a high-ranking commissioner

The senses tell the Quadrangular Peristyle

The main nuclei of the Domus

The senses tell the massage room

The apotheosis of Hercules

The rural sacrifice

A chariot race, set in the circus Maximus of Rome, connects the villa to the city and centre of power

The senses tell the Vestibule

The astral interpretation of the mosaic

A view of the race from the imperial gallery

The golden age: hypotheses about the villa’s period of construction and clues

The senses tell the Basilica

Worship of the Lares

The late antiquity residence: locus amoenus and centre of administrative activities in the heart of Sicily

The senses tell the Tri-Apsed Triclinium

Outdoor breakfast

The marble from the regions of the empire to decorate the basilica

The protagonists of the mosaic and the military themed frescoes

A large colonnaded portico, a place of connection between the rooms

The paths of virus, a reflection of the Dominus

The realistic depiction of a spa procession with a high-ranking female figure