Enna, Italy: A place rich in history.

Enna, Italy: A place rich in history.

Enna is the most central city of the Sicilian hinterland , a place rich in history and culture, witnessed by several fortifications and monuments, all with their charm and all to discover. There are many beautiful places to visit.

– Castello di Lombardia and Torre Pisana. The Castello di Lombardia is a huge fortress erected on the highest point of the city, which is considered a symbol of Enna. This imposing building was actually built in the Middle Ages as a refuge from invaders, allowing the city to defend itself and escape from the Romans through a long and strong resistance, and today it is one of the largest medieval castles in Italy with its area of 26,000 square meters. It is the most visited historical building in the hinterland of Sicily. Inside, it is very pleasant to visit the Torre Pisana, which offers a beautiful view of the natural landscapes surrounding Enna. It is not in the historic center, but still very close, only a 7-minute walk. A visit to the fortress is absolutely free from 09:00 to 20:30.

Enna, Italy: a place rich in history - Photo 2

Enna, Italy: A place rich in history.

– Rocca di Serere. Together with Castello di Lombardia, Rocca di Serere is also part of the symbols of Enna and plays an important role in protecting the city. In fact, the fortress rises next to the castle on one of the three cliffs that form the hill on which Enna was built, and was also used in the defensive strategy used against the Romans. However, research in 900 revealed much older finds in the same area, dating back to prehistoric times, in fact a visit to the fortress also includes some rock dwellings, the remains of two towers. The fortress is located in close proximity to Castello di Lombardia, so it’s also a short drive to this attraction.

– The Cathedral of Enna. The Cathedral of Enna is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin of the Visitation. It is the mother church of the city, which has also become a national monument and one of the main artistic works of the province, and has been part of UNESCO since 2008. The structure is made in different architectural styles, even if the Baroque prevails, as evidenced by the beautiful side portals. Inside there are valuable works of art, including frescoes by Borremans. Located in the historic center of the city, the cathedral can be reached within a few minutes on foot, it is always open and the visit is free.

Enna, Italy: a place rich in history - Photo 3

Enna, Italy: A place rich in history.

– Regional Archaeological Museum. The Regional Archaeological Museum of Enna was founded by the region of Sicily in the charming palazzo Varisanoll to display the finds discovered during excavations carried out at archaeological sites throughout the province of Enna. The itinerary of the museum consists of a presentation of various human settlements in the Ennese hills with an exhibition of a great variety of objects, including ceramics and metal jewels. It is located in the historic center of the city and can be reached within a few minutes on foot.

Enna, Italy: a place rich in history - Photo 4

Enna, Italy: A place rich in history.

– 3M Museum of Musical Art. The 3M Museum of Musical Art is a multimedia museum that experiments with a new perspective on art, history and tradition by combining evocative soundtracks with images of master Sicilian painters. Thus, the visit includes an incredible experience of musical works, virtual images, thematic exhibitions and multimedia stations. It is centrally located and can be reached on foot from anywhere in the historic center. You can visit it any day for 2,00 euros.

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– Palazzo Pollicarini. Palazzo Pollicarini is one of the oldest historic buildings in Enna, built in the 16th century. The building is in Gothic-Catalan style and for several years was the fortified residence of the Falanga, Petroso and Patelmo families, and is now home to other local families. The building occupies two elegant floors consisting of an elegant entrance door decorated with an imposing frame, a large courtyard with a portico and a monumental staircase leading to the main floor and to the main rooms. The building is located in the historic center near the Cathedral, so it is easily accessible on foot.

Enna, Italy: a place rich in history - Photo 5

Enna, Italy: A place rich in history.

– Ianniscuru Gate. Porta di Ianniscuru is a historical monument of Enna. It is the last of six gates that stood on the slopes of the mountain to protect the city from sieges. Its style is similar to a Roman arch because it is massive and imposing, two to three meters wide and much taller. It is not part of the historic center, but can be reached in 20 minutes on foot or 5-10 minutes by car.

– Friedrich II Tower. Friedrich II Tower is another important architectural symbol of Enns with a special and rare octagonal shape. The structure, like most monuments in Enna, played an important defensive role in the Middle Ages after being designed by Riccardo da Lentini on the orders of Frederick II, who planned to use it as a summer residence during his travels in Sicily. It is relocated from the historic center and can be reached in 25 minutes on foot or 5-10 minutes by car. Visiting it is completely free.

Enna, Italy: a place rich in history - photo 6

Enna, Italy: A place rich in history.

– Pappardura Sanctuary. The sanctuary of Pappardura is located in the southeast of Enna, away from the noise of the city and completely immersed in tranquility. The peculiarity of this sanctuary is that it is located inside a cave, the latter being quite large, which allows you to enjoy a quiet and peaceful place, with simple style and architecture outside and beautiful inside. The sanctuary is a half hour walk from the historic center.

Enna, Italy: a place rich in history - photo 7

Enna, Italy: A place rich in history.

– Byzantine Village. Byzantine Village is a stone settlement a few kilometers from Enna, a symbol and testimony of Byzantine domination of Sicilian territory, followed by the domination of the Arabs. The site consists of a series of rooms dug into the rock, among which stand out the Byzantine churches and village houses, organized according to the daily life of the community that lived there. This settlement is located outside Enna, precisely in Kalashibetta, but it is still not far and can be reached in 20 minutes by car.

– Lake Pergusa. Lake Pergusa is currently the only natural lake left in Sicily, small in size but of great importance from a geological, faunal and cultural point of view. The lake is actually the place where the first Special Nature Reserve of the region of Sicily was founded, while the European Union promoted it as a place of importance to society. There are several hotels and restaurants along the lake’s perimeter, fully immersed in nature and among the various species that live there. The lake is located in Pergusa, a very close part of Enna, but can be reached in just 13 minutes by car.

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Enna, Italy: A place rich in history - Photo 8

Enna, Italy: A place rich in history.

Day trip to Enna

Enna can be visited in one day , but unfortunately, among all that we have just listed, something will have to be abandoned. The Byzantine Village and Lake Pergusa, for example, are located outside the city, which means that you have to get to them by car and devote at least an hour to them, thus losing most of the day. Another attraction to pass up is one of the two museums, as it will take longer to visit both.

In the morning, have a good breakfast at Gelateria Geba and start your tour with the area outside the historic center, then visit the Tower of Frederick II, the Sanctuary of Papardura, and Porta Janniscuru. After these visits, head into the historic center to visit the Enna Cathedral, which will take a little time, but in the meantime there will be time for lunch, so you will be near the central restaurant of Pirrera.

In the afternoon, immediately after lunch, walk to Palazzo Pollicarini, which requires a short visit, then enjoy the experience at the 3M Museum of Musical Art and finally go outside the historic center to visit Castello di Lombardia and Rocca di Serere. When it’s time for lunch, you can stay in the area by choosing Meimuna Restaurant.

Enna, Italy: a place rich in history - photo 9

Day trip to Enna

Unfortunately, Enna doesn’t offer much in the way of evening and nightlife, so if you’re a fan of discos and partying until dawn, you’ll have to move to nearby Caltanissetta and Piazza Amerina. However, Enna has a great offer of pubs and clubs that offer great drinks and evenings with DJs for hours of dancing and live music with bands of different genres. You can visit Sorseggio Music & Drink, which serves great cocktails and limits parties with live music or DJs. It is located on Viale Guglielmo Marconi, 6. Shamrock Irish Paul: An Irish pub with original cocktails, great food and evenings with live rock bands. Located on Piazza Arcangelo Ghisleri, 2. If you want to spend a quiet evening with a glass of good wine, we recommend you to visit the elegant Schiticchio Bar, located on Viale Guglielmo Marconi.

Enna can be reached by car, train, bus and even by plane, as it is well connected to the main cities. By car it is located directly on the A19 highway, 1 hour 20 from Catania, 1 hour 50 from Palermo and 1 hour 10 from Agrigento. By train, on the other hand, it can be reached from Palermo in almost 2 hours, from Catania in 1 hour 40, from Caltanissetta in 50 minutes and from Agrigento in 1 hour 45, using the different solutions that leave every day at different times and then continue from Enna station by special bus to the center. The buses instead only leave from Catania, but there are 7 flights a day that this route reaches the destination in 1 hour 20. Finally, the nearest airports or airport of Catania with direct connections to Enna and Palermo.

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Enna. Sicily

Enna.

The city of Enna can be called unique and unusual for two reasons: firstly, it lies in the geographical center of the island of Sicily, and secondly, the city and the entire province are the highest in Italy. The historic part is located on one of the peaks of a mountain range, which rises to 900-990 meters above sea level. There are few settlements in Italy that lie so high, and such large ones as Enna, whose population is almost 30 thousand people, no longer exist at all. As a rule, in Enna there is not the heat that is common to other parts of Sicily.

The history of Enna goes back centuries, the necropolises found near the city show that this land was inhabited during the Neolithic period. In Greek times there was already a toponym, Henna, with a famous temple dedicated to Ceres (Demeter). In 396 B.C. the city came under Syracuse, and in 212 B.C. it was conquered by the Romans. After that came the Byzantine period and then the Arab period. At this time the city received its Arabic name, which meant as “Fortress of Enna”. Later, Sicily was conquered by the Normans, and the city’s name was changed to Castrogiovanni. The city was called by this name until 1927, when Mussolini returned the historic name Enna. Modern Enna is divided into two parts: the Upper and Lower Enna.

Upper Enna is the ancient center and has a castle, a cathedral and an archaeological museum. The Via Roma runs through the old part of the city, forming beautiful squares, including the belvedere, which offers a beautiful view. Chic panoramas are another feature of Enna, often called the Terrace of Sicily. The city streets offer views on three sides: north, west and south. The northern panorama is the most extensive, on the west you can see the profile of the volcano Etna, which is located 70 km from Enna. There are several points where you can admire the surroundings.

Panoramic view.

Panoramic view. Enna

Along the Via Roma there are stores, boutiques, churches and major monuments. Via Roma begins from Piazza Neglia, where the church of San Tommaso is located, and crosses five squares to end at Lombardy Castle, one of the most important monuments of the city. In total, its length is 1.5 km. In the eighteenth century there were 133 churches in the city, which means that there was one church per hundred inhabitants. Now there are 35 religious buildings, most of them were built in the Spanish and Bourbon periods. In the square in front of the church of St. Tommaso is a marble fountain decorated with bronze figures of armless sirens.

The Church of S. Tommaso.

Church of St. Tommaso.

We walk further along via Roma and notice the modest Church of St. Teresa, with a double staircase. It was built in the seventeenth century and for a long time was abandoned, but at the end of the last century it was restored.

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At the end of the staircase, where the via Roma takes a sharp turn, stands the church of Sant Cataldo. It was built in the middle of the seventeenth century by the architect Andrea Amato. The older part, dating back to the Norman period, has been preserved. Inside, the church has one nave, where the works of local artists are kept, and a small museum with religious objects is arranged.

Church of S. Cataldo.

Church of St. Cataldo.

A few meters down the road, the street widens into Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, where the imposing and grey stone church of St. Francis of Assisi stands out.

Church of St. Francis of Assisi. Enna

Church of St. Francis of Assisi. Enna

We turn left to admire the panorama.

Panorama. Enna

Panorama. Enna

Very close, on the other side of the square is the church of St. Marko, erected in 1492-93 after the expulsion of the Jews from Sicily. There used to be a synagogue and a Jewish ghetto, of which only the name of the area, Judeca, reminds us. The church was rebuilt and restored in the 16th century. The majolica floor is preserved inside, the main altar dates from the XVII century and is elaborately carved in wood and covered with gold.

The next square is Piazza Umberto I, where the town hall is located.

City Hall.

City Hall.

We continue along via Roma until we reach the Church of S. Giuseppe, which was erected in 1539. Little remains of the ancient temple – parts of the facade and the bell tower. This church was attended by the nobility of Enna, united in the Fraternity. In 1820, an orphanage was opened within the walls of the temple.

Church of St. Giuseppe.

Church of St. Giuseppe.

On Piazza Colajanni overlooks the church of St. Chiara, erected in 1614-16 by a nobleman of the town, Francesco Rotundo. Until 1767 the church belonged to the Jesuits, when they were expelled from Sicily, the church was taken over by the Clarisse order. After World War II, the temple became a sanctuary for all the dead citizens of Enna. Inside, it produces a strange feeling – from the walls look hundreds of faces depicted in old photographs, with names, years of life and ranks next to them. The magnificent floor is made in majolica in 1852.

Church of S. Chiara.

Church of St. Chiara.

In the center of the square there is a monument to Napoleone Colaianni, who was a prominent political figure. Opposite the church is the Benedictine monastery, whose gloomy wall stretches along the via Roma. It is one of the oldest buildings in the city. And across the street is Palazzo Pollicarini. By the way, nearby is an excellent enoteca, with a chic selection of local (and not only) wines.

The Monastery.

Monastery.

At the back of the square is Hotel Sicilia, for lunch or dinner you can have a look in the restaurant at the hotel, which is very popular with locals.

Continue along via Roma until you reach the Catedral dei Sicilia, a fine example of Medieval architecture. The church dates from the XIV century, but two centuries later it was completely renovated. It was built on the ruins of the temple of Proserpina, of which the central arch is still standing. During the Arab period, the church inspired the conquerors to build a mosque, which was erected on the site where the Church of St. Michael the Archangel now stands, i.e. opposite.

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The Cathedral. Enna

The Cathedral of Enna

The cathedral has an imposing size, its plan is a Latin cross and steps lead to the main façade. Nearby rises a bell tower with a huge bell. The façade is not typical of that time – a long staircase leads to a portico with three entrances, surrounded by six columns; two more levels of the bell tower, with two windows, richly decorated, are on top. Also notable on the central façade is the Jubilee Door, now bricked up. It is on the right side and is an example of Sicilian Gothic.

The Cathedral.

Cathedral.

Inside, the cathedral is divided into three aisles by rows of black basalt columns, the capitals being shaped like fanciful figures. The wooden ceiling of the cathedral which is richly decorated with carvings is magnificent. In the cathedral there are paintings of different masters, statues and other works of art. Opposite the Cathedral is the Church of St. Michael the Archangel, made in the Spanish-Colonial style. It is now closed for religious services. The Archaeological Museum is nearby and can be visited free of charge.

Continuing along via Roma, the church of St. Francis of Paola is in the square of the same name. The cathedral has a single nave and the floor is of pink Portuguese marble.

Church of St. Francis of Paola.

Church of St. Francis of Paola.

From here the via Roma changes its name to via Lombardia and leads to Lombard Castle .

Lombard castle.

Lombard Castle.

Lombard Castle was built on the site of a temple dedicated to Ceres in the 5th century BCE. In Byzantine times there was a castrum, which under the Normans was modified into a fortress. The name “Lombard Castle” comes from the Lombard foot soldiers who came after Queen Adelaide of Savona, wife of Roger I. The fortress had 20 towers, the best preserved being the Tower of Pisan. The castle offers a panorama from Madonie to Etna, you can see Lake Pergusa and two ponds. In the summertime, concerts and theatrical plays are held within the walls of the castle.

Lombard castle. Enna

Lombard Castle.

Corpus Domini procession in Enna

Corpus Domini procession in Enna

Corpus Domini procession in Enna

Corpus Domini procession in Enna

While in Enna, you should try the local gingerbread Mastazzola, which is made with the addition of boiled wine, honey and spices. In ancient times it was baked for the day of St. Mary, the patron saint of the city, a tradition that has survived to this day.

Mastazzolo

Mastazzolo

Another gastronomic feature is Pagnotta del Dattaino bread, protected by geographical name, as well as Piacentino ennese cheese with saffron, cassatella di Agira pastry, filled with cocoa, crushed almonds and candied lemons.

Map of Enna

Map of Enna – open in full size

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Sicilian Baroque Baroque is one of the most expressive, vivid and distinctive architectural styles that dates back to the Italian Renaissance of the early 17th century, it is characterized by luxurious decor, dynamically flamboyant forms and a habit of breaking the laws of perspective. The Sicilian Baroque is not a style in its own right, but a particular “deviation” from the Baroque. Sicilian Baroque is characterized by bright decorativeness, theatricality and colorfulness, and is a symbol of luxury of the island nobility.

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