Enna is something not to be missed in the heart of Sicily, Italy

Enna is something not to be missed in the heart of Sicily, Italy

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Mount Enna – a town in the middle of Sicily

Enna is a mountain town located in the heart of Sicily at the crossroads of all roads. Enna has a long history, people have lived here since the Neolithic. The city itself was founded by the Sicans, the original inhabitants of Sicily, in the 11th century BC. Later they were supplanted by the Siculians, another ancient people of Sicily. In the V century the Greeks occupied the city.

However, even under the Sicans, Enna became the center of worship of Demeter, the goddess of fertility and agriculture. It was believed that it was here that Hades kidnapped Persephone, Demeter’s daughter, and carried her off to his underworld kingdom, making her his wife.

In the 3rd century BC, the city became a center of struggle between Rome and Carthage, Enna passed from hand to hand, but even before the city was finally secured by Rome, it was no longer of any key importance. After the division of the Roman Empire, Enna, along with Sicily, became part of the Western Empire, and then passed to Byzantium, which made of the city a powerful and impregnable fortress. In 859, however, the Arabs occupied the city after the siege, calling Enna “the Fortress of John”. Although the Arabs were expelled from the peninsula by the Normans, but the name remained for the city until 1927, when Mussolini ordered to return the historic name of the city.

The road that leads to the city “cuts” the mountain on which Enna stands into two parts – the western and the eastern. The western part is the new town, and among its attractions are the only surviving gates of the medieval city, as well as the tower of Frederick. The two-story tower is all that remains of the summer residence of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. The Arabs destroyed the rest of the castle.

View of the western part of the city

The western part of the city with Frederick’s Tower on the horizon

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Frederick’s Tower

The eastern part of town contains all the other attractions, including the cathedral, several churches, and Lombard Castle. Also, the houses in this part of town are clearly older than those in the West.

The temples in Enns are surprisingly quaint and monotonous. They are all rectangular in plan and look like towers from the front.

Piazza Napoleone Colagianni

S. Chiara Church

Church of San Francesco di Paolo

Church of San Giuseppe near the City Hall

The Cathedral of Enna was built in the fourteenth century by Queen Eleonora. But afterwards it was seriously changed several times. Therefore, the interior decoration of the church is dominated by the Baroque.

The Cathedral of Enna

It’s interesting how one can climb these stairs

The square in front of the cathedral with the monuments to Giuseppe Mazzini and another church

Apparently I’m late, but in the mornings there is a small local market in the street “Market St. Antonio”

Moreover a small truck with fruits and vegetables drives around the city, and the driver on the loudspeaker calls people to buy from him.

On the square in front of the castle is the only large supermarket in this part of town

Since Enna is on a mountain, many of its fringes offer beautiful views of the valley and of the city itself

View of Etna, the sanctuary of Demeter and Lombard Castle

A view of nearby Kalashibeta. The house with the red roof below is the Enna train station, so getting here by train is not an option

Nino Savarese square in front of the castle

Lombard Castle is so named because of the garrison from this province. When the Normans conquered Enna, they settled the town and the surrounding area with soldiers from the northern Italian provinces, and specifically in the castle they put the garrison of Lombardy. The castle itself was built in 1076, but has much older roots. Originally, back in the first millennium BC, the Sicans built a fortification here on the site of Demeter’s sanctuary. Later it was taken by the Romans with difficulty, as the fortress was 960 meters above sea level, and in order to attack its defenders, the Romans had to wade through the sewer tunnels. It was subsequently used by everyone else, but was given its present appearance by the Normans, and two centuries later there were 20 towers and the fortress was garrisoned by the Calabrian inhabitants. In the XX century, the ruins of the fortress were used as a theater.

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Monument to the slaves who rebelled in Sicily during the Roman Empire, then the authorities failed to suppress the uprising for several years

Entrance to the castle is free, although you will be followed by a local guide, who will forcibly tell you the primitive details of the history of the structure. Inside, however, there is not much to see. The only interesting thing is the only surviving tower of Pisa, which you can climb.

Rivellino is a narrow passage between the towers and the walls before entering the fortress itself. It appeared in the XIII century.

Immediately after the entrance you enter a large courtyard named after St. Nicholas (Nicholas the Wonderworker), one of the patrons of the city, whose church was located in this courtyard. There is also a quarter in the courtyard where the Spanish military later lived. Archaeological excavations in this courtyard also uncovered hewn stones from the V century BC – that is, part of the pre-Roman fortifications, as well as a necropolis of early Christians. There was also a well in this courtyard.

At the far wall was a church in honor of St. Nicholas.

A small gate in the center of the courtyard gave access to the other two parts of the fortress-the Magdalene courtyard and the St. Martin’s courtyard

On the left is St. Martin’s courtyard, essentially a donjon.

The Tower of Pisa

Palatium – a covered passage along the wall

After a short and not very cumbersome ascent to the tower, which was also the tallest in the castle, you can see an impressive panorama of local beauty

The valley between Enna and Calachibetta

View of Enna

View of Demeter’s sanctuary and volcano Etna

This is the best view of Etna I’ve seen in Sicily

You can also see the third courtyard from the tower, named after Mary Magdalene, whose church was located here. However, the church itself (the foundation) was never found. It is known that this courtyard was built by the Swabians and was used for habitation of the garrison, but did not contain any buildings. The only thing is that water tanks were found in the center of the courtyard. Now there is a forest growing in this courtyard.

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Magdalene’s Courtyard and the complex of gates in the Harem Tower

The courtyard of St. Nicholas with the foundation of the church in honor of the saint in the foreground

Etna and the wall separating the Magdalene courtyard and St. Martin’s courtyard

Behind the castle there is a rock, the shape of which is felt to have been given by man – it is the sanctuary of Demeter. It is not quite clear whether this is the most ancient sanctuary or whether there was some other sanctuary under the castle.

Now the sanctuary looks more like an observation deck

View of the fortress

It is possible to walk around all this wealth (without the western part of the city) in one hour, in two hours you will do it very leisurely.

From Enna it is not far from any point in Sicily, but the closest are the beautiful town of Cefalù on the north coast of the island, the valley of the temples in Agrigento, the Roman villa with mosaics in Piazza Armerina, Catania and the ancient city of Margantina. In addition, the guidebook states that somewhere down in the valley in a place called Cozzo Matrice there is an ancient fortified village that is 10,000 years old.

Enna is something not to be missed in the heart of Sicily, Italy

Enna, located in the heart of Sicily, is the highest capital of Italy, and although it is over 900 meters above sea level, it has a population of 30,000. Let’s find out together what to see in Enna.

Enna: what not to miss in the heart of Sicily

Enna - this is what you can't miss in the heart of Sicily, Italy - Photo 2

Enna is something not to be missed in the heart of Sicily, Italy

Enna is known as “the belvedere of Sicily” and also “the belvedere of Sicily” because of the terraces, from which you can admire the Sicilian countryside. The Romans already called it Urbex Inexpugnabilis because of its geographical location.

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From ancient history, walking through the center you will notice the transition of different peoples, from the ancient Greeks to the Aragonese . Today Enna is a city full of sights with castles, monuments, churches and exquisite palaces surrounded by the magnificent Lake Pergusa . So, here’s what not to miss during your stay in Enna!

Lombardy Castle

Enna - this is what you can't miss in the heart of Sicily, Italy - Photo 3

Lombardy Castle

The Castello di Lombardia, symbol of Enna, which you can visit for a ticket price of 4€, is an imposing fortress overlooking the highest point of the city, 970 meters . The Sicans built the first castle to defend themselves against the attacks of the Sicilians (the two indigenous tribes of the island).

Next to the castle stood the fortress of Ceres, built by the Sicans, a temple where the cult of the homonymous goddess of the fertility of the fields was practiced. The castle, used as a fortress by the Romans and Arabs alike, underwent a major renovation during the reign of Roger II in 1130 and was named “di Lombardy” because of the presence of the Lombard colony.

Another reconstruction is due to Federico II of Swabia, 20 towers were built and six have been saved, like the Tower of Pisa, from where you can admire the panorama. Today it is used as the site of “Federico’s Week”, an event in which markets are held and games with a medieval theme are played.

Tower of Federico II

Enna - this is what you can't miss in the heart of Sicily, Italy - Photo 4

Tower of Federico II

It can be visited by paying a ticket of 2 euros. The tower of Federico II is one of the best preserved monuments of the Frederick era in Italy . It was commissioned by Frederick II of Swabia and designed by Riccardo da Lentini , it was also the emperor’s summer residence during his stay in Sicily.

Height 27 meters , octagonal plan, view of the hill 950 meters high . This point was chosen because it offers a good view of the entire area. The tower has two rooms, one on the first floor and one on the second floor with vaulted ceilings, connected to each other by a spiral staircase carved into the walls. The tree-lined space around it is now used as a public garden.

The Dome

Enna - this is what you can't miss in the heart of Sicily, Italy - Photo 5

Dome

Dedicated to Maria Santissima della Visitazione, the Dome of Enna was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. It was built from 1307 to 1311, with a majestic bell-shaped façade overlooking the small square (Piazza Duomo) in the historic center, going up along Via Roma, the most important street of the city, at 500 metres from Castello di Lombardia.

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The interior is divided into three naves, ending in three apses. The center aisle has a wooden coffered ceiling, a scene with an organ and a cornice on which hangs a series of 12 paintings of the Basilian saints of the Enne, by Vincenzo Roggeri. On the sides and on the transept are various polychrome marble chapels.

Sanctuary of the Pappardura

Enna - this is what you can't miss in the heart of Sicily, Italy - Photo 6

Sanctuary of Pappardura

At 25 minutes from Via Roma, the small chapel of the sanctuary of Pappardura is located in an area full of natural caves. Small and elegant, it has a refined rosette window and, although the inside looks somewhat austere, it has a decorative splendor. You can admire the fabulous inlaid wooden ceiling , statues of the twelve apostles and seventeenth-century stucco.

Regional Archaeological Museum

Enna - this is what you can't miss in the heart of Sicily, Italy - Photo 7

Regional Archaeological Museum

Located in the historic center of Enna, inside Palazzo Varisano, open to the public free of charge, you will find the Archaeological Museum. The itinerary of the exhibition begins with the presentation of various human settlements in the hills of Ennese dating back to the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.

In addition, the funerary inscription of the priestess of the goddess Ceres comes from Enna; a series of terracottas depicting Demeter and Coré from private collections. There will also be medieval materials from the castle area.

How to get to Enna?

Enna - here's something not to be missed in the heart of Sicily, Italy - Photo 8

By plane : the nearest airport to Enna is Catania airport, 82 km away. It is connected to Enna by SAIS Autolinee. For the 6€ ticket you get in one hour and 15 minutes to the Enna Autostazione terminus, close to the historic center.

By car: go along the highway A 19, which links the city to Catania, Palermo and Agrigento.

By train: you can reach Enna by train from Palermo even if the travel time is about 2 hours, or from Catania in 1 hour 40, from Caltanissetta in 50 minutes and from Agrigento in 1 hour 45.

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