) is an Italian comune
in the province of Enna
of the autonomous island region of Sicily
The city of Piazza
(as it was called before 1862) began during the Norman
domination in Sicily (11th century), but the area was inhabited since prehistorical times. The city was flourishing also during Roman
times, as showed by the notable examples of the patrician Villa Romana del Casale
The town is mainly famous for its Roman mosaics in the Villa Romana del Casale
The medieval appearance of the city is manifest in some of its houses, which show Norman or Gothic architecture. The main landmarks include:
- The massive Baroque 17th-18th century Cathedral was built on the 15th century foundations of a pre-existing church, to which the current bell tower belongs . Also original 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), a Byzantine icon traditionally associated to the banner donated by the Pope to Roger I of Sicily during the council of Melfi, as well an unusual two-sided Crucifix by unknown. The Diocesan Museum has reliquiaries, articles of silverware, monstrances and other art works. Nearby is the Palazzo Trigona, from the name of the family who commissioned the church.
- The Church of Fundrò known also as St. Roch, with a carved tufa portal, and the nearby Palazzo di Città, characterized by a fresco ceiling by Salvatore Martorana.(1613)
- The massive Aragonese Castle (1392-96). It is square in shape, with square towers.
- The church of San Giovanni Evangelista (14th century) has an entirely frescoed interior by Guglielmo Borremans and assistants.
- The baroque church of S. Anna (18th century) with its original sinuos facade inspired to the buildings of Borromini.
- The church of St. Martin of Tours (founded in 1163)
- The church of Santa Maria di Gesù (16th century), currently abandoned.
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 and with important medieval frescoes.
Piazza Armerina is the seat of the most famous Palio dei Normanni
, a re-enactment in costume of the entrance of Count Roger I in the city. It takes place on 14-August 15
Piazza Armerina is known for its politically conscious youths and students. The two main political orientations in Piazza Armerina are either "Fascism" or "Communism", with Anarchism being a minor movement that uses vandalism and graffiti as propaganda. Piazza Armerina was a predominantly "right-wing" comune, however, over the years Piazza Armerina has been swinging to the left upon hearing that right-wingers were taking money away from the comune. The current mayor Carmelo Nigrelli is seen as a "left-wing" figure who was putting his own wages into the community for the betterment of the people. Communist and Socialist ideas are no longer treated as a threat, but are becoming more mainstream as workers, peasants and students are becoming more class-conscious. "Class" plays an important role in elections. Fascist elements are rapidly disintegrating and losing popular support. Social-Democracy and Socialism set to be on the political agenda for the people of Piazza Armerina.
Piazza 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