If you like to stand in awe of beautiful mosaic tile work, you can not miss the Villa Romana del Casale. This grand palace of the late imperial age is considered to be an important example of Villa architecture that has been included in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.
One of the many examples of the splendid mosaics within the palace
The villa has statues and flooring that tell a story or two.
It appears as if the costumes for beach volleyball's origin goes back to ancient times as seen in the photo of a cubicle also known as the "Sala della Dieci Ragazze – the Room of the Ten Girls" or more commonly as the "Room with the Girls in Bikini".
While most of the elaborate mosaic tile work embellishes the interior of the building, the exterior walkways are also beautiful.
After a wonderful visit to the Villa del Casale, we headed to Ragusa where we would stay for a few days and where I felt the effects of ingesting something contaminated. When traveling, even in Europe, it is best to drink bottled or filtered water. This also means to avoid ice cubes, and fresh salads unless you are sure of their source. Despite the inconvenience you will enjoy your trip more.
Like mainland Italy, everything in Sicily seems designed with a purpose. Architectural styles blend nicely and you are immersed in a landscape that seems as if a master artist painted it.
Below is an example of the sculptural elements you might see.
Like their Greek cousins, the Sicilians love cats. They are everywhere and usually have a healthy look. Perhaps they are fed well by the restaurants and their patrons.
At night Ragusa has a special quality
If you read any of my earlier blog posts, you will notice that I like to find and photograph Street Art. Ragusa had some really nice murals like the one below which depicts a mother’s love.
While in Ragusa we took a short road trip to the Riserva Naturale Speciale Biologica "Macchia Foresta Fiume Irminio", Donnalucata, Scicilii, and the towns of Modica, and Noto.
At the Irminio River Nature Preserve we walked around a wetland area, to the beach, saw several species of birds and captured a “Little Egret”.
Donnalucata, a Sicilian fishing village, which most in the US northeast would call a very small town, has historical significance. It is where the Arabs were defeated by the Normans. And like most of Sicily, it has elements of the Arab, Greek, and Norman cultures.
Unfortunately for two young lovers, the Sicilians did not always take kindly to this cultural mix as evidenced by the proliferation of flower pots that look like heads. There are a few stories about these pots and one of the most common is about forbidden love. When the love affair between a noble Sicilian girl and a young Arabic man was discovered, they were both beheaded and their heads were made into flower pots. There is another interpretation on the island however. In that one, a scorned wife dispatched her husband and planted him in the garden.
The architecture of Sicily, having been conquered by the Spanish, the Normans and the Arabs has been enriched by each of these cultures. In the province of Ragusa there are rich examples of Baroque, coined Sicilian Baroque from the late 1690’s. In some of the towns you will be hard-pressed to find a building that is not Baroque.
After our stop in Donnalucata we headed to Scicli where we captured the image of the church below.
We heard that the first chocolate was from Modico, one of the towns in the Ragusa province. This town also had splendid examples of Baroque Architecture. What better reason could there be, chocolate and beautiful buildings, a feast for the eyes and the taste buds.
Not only is Modico considered by some as the birthplace of chocolate as we know it but it is a place where you can see splendid examples of Baroque architecture.
Our last stop of the day before returning to the town of Ragusa was Noto. While Noto is actually in the province of Syracuse, we decided to visit it anyway as it was close and is know for its Baroque architecture.
To see more photographs of Sicily, please visit:
To continue reading about our recent trip to Sicily by way of Rome please look for our next segment - Syracuse | Siracusa
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