Ancient Roman Villa Reopens in Sicily

Italy Magazine Staff | Thu, 07/07/2022 - 10:13
Sicily coast

Not far from the stunning Scala dei Turchi beach and Valley of the Temples in Sicily, a magnificent ancient Roman villa has reopened after months of restoration. 

Funded by the Valle dei Templi Archaeological Park, the restoration has brought back to light the splendor of Villa Romana di Realmonte, a wealthy residence overlooking the sea and richly decorated. Accompanied by local archaeologist guides, visitors will be able to admire the magnificent mosaic floors, colonnaded courtyards and thermal baths.

Villa Romana di Realmonte dates from the imperial age, in the first half of the 2nd century AD, and was built a few kilometers west of the commercial hub of the ancient Agrigentum, in the bay between Punta Piccola and Punta Grande, at the mouth of the Cottone river. It is thought to have belonged to Publius Annius, a member of the noble family of the Annii, involved in the exploitation of the sulfur mines in the Agrigento area. 

The villa was discovered by chance in December 1907, during the construction of the railway line connecting Porto Empedocle to Siculiana.

The villa, overlooking the sea, is structured in two main sectors: a residential area, with a peristyle-garden, bedrooms, living and dining room, all with remains of impressive mosaics; and the spa area, which includes two large changing rooms, one of which with walls covered in marble and a mosaic floor with pink and black tiles and the depiction of Scilla, a female sea monster holding a ship’s wheel; the spa also features a calidarium, small heated room, and a frigidarium, with walls covered in marble and a mosaic floor, which led to a large circular basin.

For more information, visit the CoopCulture website, which runs guided tours every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in July.