Built in the middle of the 4th Century AD as a hunting lodge/summer palace for a Roman governor, the Villa Romana del Casale is home to some of the best preserved and extensive examples of Roman mosaics. Almost the entire villa is paved with 40 separate mosaics likely produced by North African artisans, making up 3,500 square meters of mosaics. The mosaics consist of numerous subjects, ranging from geometric designs and portrayals of daily life to dramatic mythological scenes.
Almost completely covered by a landslide in the 12th Century, the Villa was only rediscovered much later and was excavated in the 20th century. With over 50 rooms in total, the Piazza Armerina provides a glimpse into the sophisticated lifestyle of ancient Romans. It was likely owned by a large family of affluent Roman aristocrats whose wealth surpassed that of the ordinary rural upper classes.
The mosaic in the photo is located in the arcade and features a series of animal heads framed by laurel crowns. It is presumed that these animals would’ve been brought to the estate for the Roman governor to hunt.