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mheu, Historical Museum of the Urban Environment

Young women in bikinis (detail)


Young women in bikinis (detail) - anonymous

3rd century
Villa Casale, Piazza Armerina, Sicily, Italy
© Charles Jousselin

View this work in the exhibition Bathing

The work

This mosaic representing sportswomen in bikinis is taken from the floor of a bedroom in the Villa Casale, near the town of Piazza Armerina in the center of Sicily. A huge, late 3rd century villa at the center of a large agricultural estate (latifundia), the Villa Casale is a typical example of the way the countryside was developed at the end of the Roman Empire.

The mosaics decorating the villa are exceptional on several counts: quantity (3,500 square meters), diversity of subject and creativity in their portrayal (hunting scenes, chariot races, love scenes, etc.) and the quality of their preservation.

The complete mosaic shows ten or so girls either engaged in some sporting activity (running, ball games, weightlifting), or being handed prizes for their achievements.

The Villa Casale became a Unesco World Heritage site in 1997.