Ancient Rome’s bikinis, in Piazza Armerina

Some say that the Late-Empire mosaics in Villa del Casale – in Piazza Armerina, Sicily – prove that the Romans invented the bikini. The tesserae indeed portray girls in athletics competitions, wearing two-piece suits.

The luxurious, 4th-century Villa del Casale, which extends over approximately 3,500 square meters and was discovered in 1950, is a treasure chest of mosaic art including realistic, mythological, and “genre” scenes – that experts strive to tie into a single, overarching project.

Archaeologist Andrea Carandini has commented, “the overall interpretation of the mosaic complex revolves around the victory of men over passions and brute force, thanks to music (Orpheus versus earthly beasts, Arion over the marine ones), shrewdness (Ulysses and Polyphemus, Eros and Pan), and strength (hunters and they prays, Jove and other giants, Bacchus and Lycurgus, Hercules and the Bistones, etc.). Thus, both athletics competitions and Hercules’s labors […] ultimately hint to the supremacy of ‘virtus’ and ‘felicitas’ over chaos and evil powers” (“Filosofiana. La Villa di Piazza Armerina”, Flaccovio, Palermo 1982).

Obviously, Roman artists had in mind much more than girls in bikinis.

Piazza Armerina, Villa Romana del Casale, mosaici - mosaicsPiazza Armerina, Villa Romana del Casale, mosaici - mosaicsPiazza Armerina, Villa Romana del Casale, mosaici - mosaicsPiazza Armerina, Villa Romana del Casale, mosaici - mosaicsPiazza Armerina, Villa Romana del Casale, mosaici - mosaicsPiazza Armerina, Villa Romana del Casale, mosaici - mosaicsPiazza Armerina, Villa Romana del Casale, mosaici - mosaicsPiazza Armerina, Villa Romana del Casale, mosaici - mosaicsPiazza Armerina, Villa Romana del Casale, mosaici - mosaicsPiazza Armerina, Villa Romana del Casale, mosaici - mosaicsPiazza Armerina, Villa Romana del Casale, mosaici - mosaics

Ancient Rome’s bikinis, in Piazza Armerina

Piazza Armerina (En)
Contrada Casale
+39 0935 687667
+39 0935 687362

WEEKLY POSTCARD

Most Read

Rococo luxury at the Palazzina di Caccia of Stupinigi

The Palazzina di Caccia of Stupinigi, near Turin, was designed by Filippo Juvarra and built in 1729; between the 18th and 19th...

Pietro Piffetti: the king of fine cabinetry

by Barbara Palladino His creations sum up every magnificence of 18th-century Baroque style: Pietro Piffetti was one of the most famous and...

Gabinetto del Segreto Maneggio degli Affari di Stato: a triumph of decorative art

by Barbara Palladino Inside Turin’s Royal Palace is one of the gems of 18th-century Baroque art: the Gabinetto del Segreto Maneggio degli...

Antonio Stradivari: the legend and myth of perfect sound

by Barbara Palladino The Stradivarius violin is renowned as the perfect musical instrument. Playing one is a dream come true for any...