Piazza Armerina, situated deep in the hinterland of Sicily, is one of the islands’ most frequented tourist spots. It has a number of interesting districts, such as Castellina near the cathedral. The narrow alleys and medieval streets behind are known as Il Monte and feature Baroque and Renaissance townhouses and mansions, the churches of San Martino e Crocifisso and an Aragonese castle of the 14th century. The district Canali in the lower part of the town shows an ancient water supply that gushes from four stone mouths. A look around this fanciful town is rewarding, it has a provincial warmth – a bit like Enna. Piazza Armerina still is tied with its Norman saviours through its language, a Gallic-Italian mix. The town is an excellent base for visiting other parts of the province of Enna and many small towns off the tourist trail.
But the great draw lies just some four kilometres down the road – the Roman “Villa del Casale”.
Things to do and see in Piazza Armerina
Villa Romana del Casale
Built in the middle of the fourth century AD by a Roman Patrician, probably a member of the senatorial class if not the imperial family itself, the Villa Romana del Casale contains the largest, richest and most complex Roman mosaics in the world. It is one of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy since 1997. The mosaics spread over 3,500 sqm show mythological scenes and portrayals of daily life. Here you can admire the first bikini-girls in Sicily.The mosaics are similar to those in the Tunis Bardo Museum in Tunisia, so they were probably made by North African artisans. One of the floors features a mosaic of 60 metres length!
Duomo di Piazza Armerina
It is worth the climb up from Piazza Garibaldi to the rather majestic 17th century Piazza del Duomo with its imposing 18th century cathedral and the good views over the town.
Located near Piazza Garibaldi the archaeological museum features finds from the Villa Romana del Casale.
Oldest street of the town – bordered with Baroque palazzos.
Chiesa di San Martino
One of the oldest churches of Piazza Armerina, built in the year 1163.
Events in Piazza Armerina
The colourful Palio dei Normanni festival is held every year from 12th to 14th August and is a must if you're anywhere in the vicinity. It is is one of Sicily’s oldest events with Medieval festivals, music and dancing. Find more festivals in Sicily here
Accommodation in Piazza Armerina
There are quite a few Bed & Breakfasts and Agriturismos in the town’s surroundings and some hotels. If you are a design fan try to get a room at the small Suite D’Autore Art Design Gallery Hotel at Piazza Duomo. See more at Accommodation
Restaurants and Bars in Piazza Armerina
Piazza Armerina has a range of restaurants, bars and cafes. In summer you must try the local granite alla fragola con panna (strawberries and cream). Just delicious! A good place to sample it is in Café Sport in Piazza Garibaldi. Another good café is Bar Duomo in the piazza behind the church. Or you take your food and drinks to the benches by the Belvedere and enjoy your little picknick while having a great view.
My Destination Sicily tip: Ristorante Al Fogher
You should reward yourself after your cultural efforts with a lunch at one of the best restaurants in Sicily: Al Fogher. In a region with plenty good, but basic places to eat, Al Fogher is a “culinary light” that shines through and sparkles over the islands’ hinterland. Creativity meets traditional ingredients – the yummy results are for example fillet of baby pig with a sauce made from green olives, pistachio nuts and cured tuna roe, or tuna tartar with orange essences (one of the Chef’s highlights). The cellar offers about 500 labels, the water list features a dozen kinds of mineral water.
Find more places to eat and drink at our Restaurants page
How to get to Piazza Armerina
By bus and train
The nearest train stations are in Enna, Caltanissetta and Caltagirone – from here local bus connections to Piazza Armerina. CSA Tours buses are running from May until September between Piazza Senatore Marescalchi to the Villa Romana del Casale.