84km (52 miles) SW of Catania, 181km (112 miles) SW of Messina, 164km (102 miles) SE of Palermo, 103km (64 miles) NW of Ragusa, 134km (83 miles) NW of Syracuse.

Piazza Armerina is where you can see the most magnificent mosaics in all of western Europe. Art lovers journey from all over the world to visit the ruins of an extraordinary Roman villa, the Villa Romana del Casale, which houses mosaics that are admired for their preservation and masterful craftsmanship. A visit to the villa makes a trip to Piazza Armerina worthwhile, but the town itself merits a visit for at least an hour, although most tour buses rush through here delivering their passengers directly to the villa at Casale on the outskirts of Piazza Armerina.

A stroll through the historic center takes in pretty squares, streets graced with imposing but decaying palazzi with ornate facades and billowing baroque balconies, and numerous churches in a range of architectural styles. The grandest church is the Duomo, and its shiny blue cupola dominates the skyline. The town is actually two-in-one: The original "Piazza," a village that dates from the heyday of the Saracens in the 10th century; and a 15th-century medieval "overflow" town that extends to the southeast.

The best time to visit Piazza Armerina is during the Palio dei Normanni (Norman Palio). Held every year from August 12 to 14, the Palio celebrates the arrival of Norman Count Roger in the town in 1061 during his campaign to liberate Sicily from the Saracens, and locals dress up in costume as nobles and soldiers to join in the event that culminates in the Saracen Joust, which involves four teams of modern-day "knights" on horseback.