Visits to the eastern end of the island were centred in Giardini Naxos, and in spite of visiting many of the archaeological sites in this part of the island there was no evidence of cipollino. Lazzarini refers to it being present in the fons scenae of the Roman theatre in Taormina and in Catania. There was none found in Syracuse, nor at Agrigento. The Villa Romana del Cassale, famous for its striking mosaics, has some marble columns in the courtyard but none is of cipollino. It is situated some 30-40 kilometres inland and dates from the 4th century AD so that the lack of cipollino is not surprising, although much marble, as we know, was taken from its original location, and reused some distance away. The villa was covered by mud for centuries and only exposed since the 1950s.

I am indebted to my old friend, the late Elaine Dare, for some information on the cathedral of Cefalu and a photograph of part of a fine cipollino column. It is the first on the left by the door and measures between 7 /23.64 Rf and 8 m. 27 Rf, including the capital but without the bases (Plate 2.113) The cathedral dates from the 12th century and was built by Roger II in 1131, one of Sicily’s most influential rulers.53 The Blue Guide to Sicily also refers to cipollino in Monreale Cathedral, just outside Palermo.

53 Andrews, Robert, Brown, Jules, Rough guide to Sicily, Rough Guides, New York, London, Delhi, p.146.

Maps and Plates

Plate 2.113.jpg

Plate 2.113 Cipollino column at Cathedral of Cefalu, Sicily.