Piazza Armerina, (Enna)
Piazza Armerina (Gallo-Italic of Sicily: Ciazza; Sicilian: Chiazza) is an Italian comune in the province of Enna of the autonomous island region of Sicily.HistoryThe city of Piazza (as it was called before 1862) originated during the Norman domination in Sicily (11th century), when Lombards settled the central and eastern part of Sicily about 900 years ago, but the area was inhabited since prehistoric times. The city was flourishing also during Roman times, as shown by the notable mosaics at the patrician Villa Romana del Casale.Main sightsThe town is famous chiefly for its Roman mosaics in the Villa Romana del Casale, about 3 kilometres (2 miles) to the southwest. It has a range of significant architecture dating from medieval through the 18th century. The discovery and excavation of the well-preserved, highly refined mosaics has helped attract tourists.The medieval history of the city is manifest in some of its houses, which show Norman or Gothic architecture. The main landmarks include a range of architectural styles:The massive Baroque Cathedral (17th and 18th centuries), built on the 15th-century foundations of a former church, from which the bell tower was taken and reused. Also original to the 15th-century church are the Catalan-Gothic style windows on the left side. The dome dates from 1768. The façade has a notable portal with spiral columns by Leonardo De Luca. The interior, with a single large nave, houses the Madonna della Vittoria (Madonna of the Victory). The Byzantine icon is traditionally associated with the banner donated by the Pope to Roger I of Sicily during the Council of Melfi. The cathedral has an unusual two-sided crucifix by an unknown artist. The Diocesan Museum holds reliquiaries, articles of silverware, monstrances and other religious art works.The nearby Palazzo Trigona, house of the wealthy family who commissioned the church.The Church of Fundrò, known also as St. Roch, with a carved tufa portal.The nearby Palazzo di Città (1613), characterized by a fresco ceiling by Salvatore Martorana.The massive Aragonese Castle (1392–96). It is square in shape, with square towers.The church of San Giovanni Evangelista (14th century), with an interior covered with frescos by Guglielmo Borremans and assistants.The baroque church of Sant'Anna (18th century), with its original sinuous façade inspired by the buildings of Borromini.The church of St. Martin of Tours (1163).The church of Santa Maria di Gesù (16th century), now abandoned.The Garibaldi Theatre.Outside the city is the ancient church of the Priorato di Sant'Andrea (1096), founded by Count Simon of Butera, a nephew of Roger I of Sicily. It has important medieval frescoes.CulturePiazza Armerina holds an annual Palio dei Normanni, a re-enactment in costume of the entrance of the Norman Count Roger I to the city. It takes place on 12–14 August.LanguagePiazza Armerina is one of the so-called "Lombardic" communes of Sicily, as its dialect differs notably from that of the neighbouring region. This is due to the destruction of the old Piazza by king William I of Sicily, and the subsequent repopulation by William II (according to other scholars, during the slightly later age of Frederick II) with colonists coming from "Lombard" regions of northern Italy, especially from Monferrato and Piacenza.ReferencesSourcesSicily and Its Islands, Ugo La Rosa, Ed., 1993.External linksOfficial websiteVilla Romana del Casale Website (Italian)Piazza Armerina, city of MosaicsReferences This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.