Villa del Tellaro, between Africa and the “Iliad”
Villa del Tellaro – in Noto, in the province of Syracuse – is a gem of ancient art that was unearthed in 1971 in an amazing turn of events. The Guardia di Finanza had put an 18th-century manor farm under protection after suspect individuals had been seen around it: the men turned out to be “poachers”, who were working around a rich country residence from the age of the Roman Empire, which had been hidden for centuries under an old, abandoned rural building.
After years of delicate and complex work by the Superintendence for the Cultural Heritage of Syracuse, splendid mosaics emerged from the Roman villa – a 6,000-square-meter structure from the 4th century, once owned by a family of landowners: “scenes about myths, hunting and dances, created with millions of limestone and cotto tiles in the most intense, natural colors. Stories full of animals, flowers and faces so lively they seem to jump out of the picture”, in the words of Giuseppe Voza, superintendent at the time.
The wonderful decorations illustrated hunting scenes in Africa, as well as episodes from the “Iliad” such as the weighing of Hector’s body: a mosaic cycle that is just as beautiful and historic as the coeval works in Piazza Armerina.
Enjoy our gallery of images from this extraordinary discovery.