Piazza Armerina: what to see and where to eat

Who I am
Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Located exactly in the center of Sicily, 30 minutes from Enna, Piazza Armerina is now part of the tourist area of ​​Caltagirone together with Aidone with the site of Morgantina. The origins of the city are very ancient: the area was already inhabited by the Greeks, perhaps coming from Gela. Then the Romans arrived, who left us the splendid Villa Romana del Casale, one of the most famous and admired Roman buildings in the world with its mosaics.

Piazza Armerina has one of the largest and richest historical centers in Sicily, but unfortunately it often takes a back seat compared to larger and more famous cities. Suffice it to say that Charles V in 1512 decorated it with the title of "Urbs Opulentissima.
Here is an itinerary of the 10 things to visit in Piazza Armerina in a weekend.


  1. 10 Things to visit in Piazza Armerina in a weekend
  2. Piazza Armerina in 1 day: recommended itinerary
  3. Where to Eat
  4. Plan your visit to Piazza Armerina: info and useful tips
  5. Curiosity: the Norman Palio
  6. User questions and comments

10 Things to visit in Piazza Armerina in a weekend

1 - Cathedral of the Most Holy Mary of Victories

la Cathedral of Piazza Armerina is a colossal building that stands on the highest point of the city, in the heart of the Monte district. It took more than a century to build it (from 1604 to 1719). Dedicated to Maria Santissima delle Vittorie, the Cathedral is characterized by an architecture that is a set of styles ranging from Gothic to Baroque, as well as a bell tower 40 meters high in Gothic-Catalan style which dates back to the previous church that stood at this point.

The exterior was made of sandstone, which with its characteristic yellow color allows its giant teal dome (the highest in Sicily with its 76 meters high) to stand out even more, even at km away. Inside you will see a wooden cross, painted on both sides that depicts the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, a baptistery made by Antonello Gagini and the high altar, in silver, which contains the icon of the Madonna delle Vittorie, which is carried in procession every 15th August.

  • Cathedral square. By car from Piazza Garibaldi take Via Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour to Piazza Cattedrale. Walk the same route - Get directions
  • Info: free / open in relation to the times of mass

2 - Palazzo Trigona

Trigona della Floresta Palace it is within walking distance of the city's cathedral. The desire to build this palace was expressed by Matteo and Ottavio Trigona in 1690 under the reign of King Martin I. There is no certain information about who carried out the initial project, but certainly the architect Orazio Torriani, who also took care of the cathedral nearby, actively participated in choosing some aspects of the building.
Its three floors hide a large internal courtyard, while on the central balcony you can see the Trigona family crest. After years of work, today the Trigona palace is ready for host the Archaeological Museum of the city.

  • Cathedral square. By car from Piazza Garibaldi take Via Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour to Piazza Cattedrale. Walk the same route - Get directions
  • Info: 0935 687667

3 - Aragonese Castle

The Aragonese Castle is located on the southern slope of Mount Mira. Built in the th century under the reign of King Martin I the Younger, it has an imposing structure, characterized by mighty walls and four corner towers. If you can't find the entrance don't worry, the court and the main entrance are in fact on the opposite side to that of the square, heading south.

Over the centuries this building, which initially had a defensive purpose, passed through different hands until it became a prison in 1812, as the iron windows still testify today. Remained in the hands of a private citizen for years and in a state of almost abandonment, now the Castle has been purchased to be restored. However, it is a building much loved by the inhabitants of the city, who own here they stage various historical representations and neighborhood parties, especially in the summer months.

  • Carcere floor 11. By car from Piazza Garibaldi take Via Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour up to the Cathedral and continue on via Floresta. On foot from Piazza Garibaldi take via Vittorio Emanuele - Get directions
  • Info: Currently open only from the outside unless there are presentations in progress

4 - Church of San Rocco

The Church of San Rocco is also known by the inhabitants of Piazza Armerina with the name of "Fundrò". This nickname dates back to the very origins of the church: Fundrò was a rural village that stood about ten kilometers from the city, where there was a church and a convent with Benedictine monks. After the destruction of the village, which took place at the end of the th century, the monks took refuge in Piazza Armerina and here the church of San Rocco was entrusted to them. Also the work of the Benedictines is also the convent which still today is adjacent to the church, and which houses the Municipality of the city.

Outside the church you can admire its yellow tuff facade, while inside there are seventeenth-century paintings and a marble Madonna, which comes from the ancient Abbey of Fundrò. When you visit it, look at the facade: near the portal you will see a sundial, which still indicates the time to those who are in the square. Curious note: the church has a sort of "twin" in the square: the city palace which is located on the other side of the sidewalk. At first glance the two buildings are very similar.

  • Giuseppe Garibaldi square. By car from piazza Generale Cascino take via Monsignor Sturzo and turn onto via Roma. Follow it up to piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi - Get directions
  • Info: free, according to the times of mass

5 - Church of San Pietro

The Church of San Pietro is certainly one of the most important religious buildings in the city. The complex, which includes the church and a convent, it was built around the middle of 1500 to honor a miraculous image of the Madonna located in a small church that stood right there. The exterior of this church, called the "Pantheon of Piazza Armerina", is quite bare, while its interior, with a single nave, is full of masterpieces. Starting from decorated coffered ceiling which creates a very special optical effect, up to the gigantic canvas on your left, perhaps work of Caravaggio or his school.
In the apse area you can then see the famous miraculous icon of the Madonna and, on the opposite side, what was the ancient apse of the church that stood there before the construction of the church of San Pietro.
Once you have visited the interior of this church, you can then access the sixteenth-century cloister of the convent. In this courtyard you won't even feel like you're in the city.

  • Viale Generale Ciancio 2. By car from piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi take via Umberto I to piazza Generale Cascino. Proceed on Viale Generale Ciancio to your destination - Get directions
  • Info: free. It can be visited according to the times of mass

6 - Garibaldi Theater

Il Municipal Theatre it faces the Church of Santo Stefano. Dating back to the 320th century, this theater which includes total seats, divided between stalls, three tiers of boxes and a gallery, is one of the oldest municipal theaters in all of Sicily. Today cultural events and film screenings are organized here, but this does not detract from the beauty of this building.
The ceiling of the Theater, on the occasion of the construction of the entrance during the early twentieth century, was completely frescoed by Giuseppe Paladino. The façade, on the other hand, is decorated with bas-reliefs depicting the faces of Alfieri, Bellini, Goldoni and Verdi.

  • Piazza Umberto I. By car from piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi take via Umberto I to piazza Umberto I, near the church of Santo Stefano - Get directions
  • Info: free. It can be visited in relation to the times of the shows

7 - Commandery of the Knights of Malta

The Commenda dei Cavalieri di Malta is very close to the Garibaldi Theater. Built in the th century, it was originally intended to serve as a "hospital" for the crusaders who traveled from Sicily to Jerusalem. This building at the time was located outside the city walls, while today it is located a stone's throw from the Municipal Theater and the "modern" city center. Inside there is not much to see: the church is decidedly bare, but it certainly represents one of the most fascinating places in the city.

  • Piazza Umberto I. By car from piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi take via Umberto I to piazza Umberto I, near the church of Santo Stefano - Get directions
  • Info: free, in relation to the times of mass.

8 - Fountain of the Canals

It is the most important fountain with drinking trough in the whole city and it is also the most popular. Located in the heart of the Canali district and built in the th century, the fountain of the Canals includes four masks from which spring water comes out at any time of the day, a drinking trough and also a wash house with more than 20 "stations".
To date it is not known who the four masks should represent: some say that they should be the four brothers of the Dello Spedale, in charge of sculpting them. According to others, they would represent four important men of the Risorgimento: Mazzini, Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, Vittorio Emanuele II and Giuseppe Garibaldi. This second option, given the period in which the fountain was built, seems to be more plausible. Also to think that even today citizens go to get water from Vittorio Emanuele II is quite funny.

  • Via Sapphire. From piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi take Umberto I to piazza Generale Cascino. Head onto Via Monsignor Sturzo and turn onto Via Principato. Proceed on Via Giacomo Matteotti up to largo Conceria - Get directions
  • Info: free, always open

9 - Villa Romana del Casale

The Villa Romana del Casale is undoubtedly the main attraction of the city and one of the most important places in all of Sicily.
Formed by 60 rooms and 3.500 square meters of floors entirely made with the mosaic technique, this Villa since 1997 has been listed by Unesco as a World Heritage Site. It is in this villa that the famous mosaics are found of the "girls in bikini", in addition to the scenes of the "great hunt" and the "erotic scene".

Its discovery took place in 1950 and since that moment work has continued to bring to light its entire surface, although lately the remains of an adjacent medieval village have also been found.
The Villa Romana del Casale probably dates back to the th century but the owner's name is unknown. Given the presence of numerous mosaics depicting animals and hunting scenes, it has been hypothesized that it could be the property of one of the many exotic animal merchants in Rome.

The Villa is formed by four different nuclei: a monumental entrance, the real villa, with its rooms full of mosaics and the peristyle, a trichora and also a spa complex. If you have the opportunity, visit it also in the evening, when the Villa is home to musical and artistic events.

  • SP15 towards "mosaics" and "Villa Romana del Casale" - Get directions
  • Info: admission € 10,00 / open every day from 9:00 to 18:00

10 - Villa of Wonders

In this villa, not far from the Villa Romana del Casale, there is one of the most important "private" museums in the area. The collection of the Cammarata family is collected in this splendid th century villa.
Born from the idea of ​​Enzo Cammarata, in this museum you will be able to see historical artifacts of all kinds: period vases, ceramics, inlaid furniture, paintings, sculptures (including one perhaps made by Michelangelo), marbles and everything that could ever go through your head.

  • SP15 towards "mosaics" and "Villa Romana del Casale". Arrived at the crossroads for the Villa proceed to the right and follow the signs for "Villa of wonders" - Get directions
  • Info: admission € 4,00 / open Mon-Sun 9:00 - 19:00

Piazza Armerina in 1 day: recommended itinerary

If you want to visit Piazza Armerina in one day you have to take into account some fundamental things, which mainly concern transport in the city and the location of the places of greatest interest. Absolute priority in the historic center.
We also suggest a full day visit with a local guide, who will guide you among the best attractions highlighting the history and peculiarities of the country (from € 90,00 - book online)

In the morning we visit the historic center.
It starts from Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, the old heart of the city from which the four districts originate; breakfast at the Caffè del Centro and visit to the church of San Rocco and then go up to the Cathedral and admire (from outside) Palazzo Trigona and the Aragonese Castle.

The afternoon is dedicated to the Villa Romana del Casale.
You go back to Piazza Garibaldi and, after having lunch at Totò's, take via Roma to "go down" to the Canals.
After seeing the fountain with the four masks you can go to the Villa Romana del Casale.

In the evening, walk in piazza Cascino.
Give yourself a walk to the "Cascino", the main square of the city where there is a monument dedicated to General Cascino. Here there are shops, restaurants of all kinds.
If you want to try something "typical" try the arancine and the rustic specialties of the Red Dragon, one of the best known places in the city, strictly to eat while walking. If, on the other hand, you have some time available, arrive in the Santa Croce area, and dine at Da Elide (the pizzas are highly recommended). With a full stomach you can then go to "al Cascino" and take a nice walk to end your day in Piazza Armerina.

One day itinerary at a glance

  1. Breakfast at the Caffè del Centro
  2. Church of San Rocco
  3. Cathedral
  4. Fountain of the Canals
  5. Villa Romana del Casale
  6. Lunch at Elide's
  7. Church of St. Peter
  8. Dinner at Toto '
  9. Monument to General Cascino

Where to Eat

Piazza Armerina offers small joys to lovers of good food with real delicacies, ranging from breakfast to dinner, without forgetting snacks for the sudden hunger that could catch you during your stay.

  • Breakfast: Café in the Center, Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi. Tel: 0935 686577 - Get directions
  • Lunch: From Elide, Via Leonardo da Vinci. Tel: 0935 682610 - Get directions
  • Price: From Totò, Via Mazzini, 29. Tel: 0935680153 - Get directions

Plan your visit to Piazza Armerina: info and useful tips

  • Getting around: to move between the various attractions proposed you can go either on foot or by car, since the places we are going to discover are quite close to each other. There are public transports but they are very few, better to go on foot and use your own vehicle for longer journeys
  • Where to park: if you do not know where to park, the city is also well equipped with free parking areas, where you can leave your means of transport without problems.
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 42,00 per room -
  • What to see in the surroundings: Enna (33 km), Caltagirone (26 km), Aidone (12 km), Pergusa (26 km), Caltanissetta (41 km)

Curiosity: the Norman Palio

The Palio dei Normanni is held every 13 and 14 August in the city. During this historical (and sporting) event, which traces the moment of the Norman domination in Sicily with Count Ruggero, the four districts of the city challenge each other to decree the winner who will have the honor to keep the banner of Holy Mary of Victories, patroness of the city. In case you happen to be in Piazza Armerina make sure to go to the Piano di Sant'Ippolito to see the carousel, it will be a spectacular thing.

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