Piazza Armerina ( Villa Romana del Casale )

Close to the town of Piazza Armerina is located the Villa Romana del Casale
This incredible Villa contains the most incredible collection of Roman mosaics in the world
It is thought that this villa and the mosaics date from around 200-400 AD

These next two pictures give a small sampling of the incredible size of the mosaics
The mosaics cover many topics from geometric patterns, to animals, mythology, hunting and daily life

This hallway is covered with mosaics of different animal heads
These two pictures are a small sampling of the huge collection found here

This picture is a closer view and continuation of the animal head mosaic from above

A lion head, after so many years many of the mosaics are faded from their original glory

This picture shows a deer head newly cleaned and restored
Perhaps a small glimpse of how incredible the Villa must have been in it's heyday

This scenes depicts the killing of the snake footed Giants who rebelled against Zeus
Here the Giants are dying having been struck by the arrows of Hercules

A close up of the Giant bleeding and dying

This room is called the Triapsidal Triclinium and depicts scenes from the myths of Hercules

These next scenes are from the Ambulatory of the Big Game Hunt
Depicting scenes from hunting large animals

These scene shows that hunting large game could be a dangerous business
There was a subspecies of Lions known as the European Lion
that existed in southern Europe until the end of the first century AD
The rise of the Roman Empire saw the extinction of the European Lion

A soldier with a swastika on his tunic
It is thought that the swastika here represents the rotation of the Seasons

Here we see the loading of a horse onto a ship

Not totally sure what type of animal this is, but it seems to be partially under water

This scene is a continuation to the right of the scene above
In the left part of the picture we see the horse which is loading on the ship above
In the center is a tiger from India with what appears to be a tiger cub
To the right of the tiger is a fanstastical Gryphon which has been baited by a child in a box !

According to the caption the tiger has a glass ball in it's possession here
What looks like a baby tiger is actually the reflection in the glass ball

A close up of the hunter from the scene above about to slay the Gryphon

Many of the mosaics were geometric patterns such as these interwoven loops

These next two scenes depict specific Charioteers from sporting competitions
This Charioteer is a Quadriga of the Prasina faction

This Charioteer is a Quadriga of the Veneta faction
No word on who won the most

The myth of Lycurgus, King of Thrace who was driven mad by the god Dionysus
As with many of the old myths, there are many different versions
In the center is Dionysus's sacred Panther. Lycurgus is to the right, his legs turning into vines.
Dionysus is above the Panter with his crew persecuting poor Lycurgus

The famous Room with Girls in Bikini. The winner has a palm leaf and rose crown
This room is very famous due to the Bikinis :)
One of the incredible things about this room is that there
is another mosaic underneath as can be seen in the top left corner
Either the owner was very rich or mosaics were not that expensive !

The Room with the Fishing Cupids

A close up of the top left hand corner boat holding the net

These next few pictures are from the Room of the Small Game Hunt
Here we can see the complete mosaic depicting scenes of hunting mostly smaller animals
In the bottom left corner we see deer being herded into a net
a very interesting technique but not such a small animal

Here is a wild boar being carried by two men
The dog in the picture is a testament to that greatest of relationships, dogs and humans

Dogs hunting a fox !

Dogs and hunter bringing down a wild boar while has apparently injured the first guy
These mosaics clearly show the superiority of Dogs over Cats as Mans best friend