3/16/18: We left the coast of Sicily and traveled inland to Piazza Armerina for the morning. Located here is Villa Romana del Casale, a 4th century CE house whose floors are covered in elaborate mosaics. The owner of the villa clearly had a ton of money, probably from the island’s agricultural abundance. He commissioned North African and Italian artists to create the mosaics, which depicted everything from mythology to animal life to enormous hunts. One of my favorite rooms shows children racing around a circus on enormous birds. The race course mimics the Circus Maximus in Rome, with an obelisk in the middle of the spina and metae at either end. I find the giant birds (flamingos, geese, and pheasants) very comical.
After Piazza Armerina, we stopped in Ragusa and Noto on our journey back to the coast. These towns feature many Baroque elements. I especially liked the color of the buildings in Noto—the local stone is slightly more orange/yellow.