Visitors are always stunned by the precious views of the valley, gorgeous palaces, mansions and churches of this big town in the centre of Sicily. Tourism has not changed the traditional way of life and style of the town. The goddess of fertility and agriculture has been considered crucial to the region of Enna for centuries. As the legends go, Persephone was drawn by the flowers to the banks of the lake, Lago di Pergusa. Enna was for a long time an abundant source of grain, wheat, cotton and cane for the different peoples that controlled the town. Wheat is still a strong source of production for the country as a whole.
What to See and Do
Enna is made up of two parts: the upper is the historic part and Enna Bassa is the more modern part of town.
Castello di Lombardia on Piazza Mazzini was constructed by the Saracens and later modified by the Normans. Frederick II of Hohenstaufen had a wall with 20 towers constructed. We can still see 6 out of the 20 towers and the walls.
Within the walls many courtyards can be found, among which the Courtyard of Saint Martin hosts summer theatre performances. Torre Pisano is accessed from this courtyard. From the top the views of Mount Etna and Calascibetta are fantastic, weather permitting as fog is frequent in Enna. The Torre di Federico II, one of those constructed by Frederick,was in the past accessed by passageways. Today however it forms part of the public gardens of Enna.
Enna was an important site for adoration of the goddess of fertility and agriculture. According to legends king Triptolemus was the only man who saw Hades rape Persephone. The goddess passed on all her knowledge of agriculture which helped the region to prosper. It is said that a statue of the king was housed in the temple.There are no fences around the temple which makes it a great picnicking area!
Via Roma is the main road, where the cathedral lies, a beautiful pastiche of styles in which each population which once ruled the town has left its mark. After the fire in the 15th century, the reconstruction was carried out incorporating the baroque style.
The previous Gothic façade was hidden behind the new facade and bell tower. Its baroque interior features grey basalt columns sporting ornate bases. Vestiges from the temple of Demeter were brought to form the base of the pulpit and stoup. To complete this strange combination there are medieval walls, gothic transepts, Renaissance pieces by Filippo Paladino and Guglielmo Borremans and an iron gate from the Castello di Lombardia. Bizarre yet beautiful.
The Museo Alessi lies just off from the cathedral. It is at present closed due to a shortage of funding. It is where the cathedral’s treasury is kept together with the original collection by Giuseppe Alessi. Among its pieces are the golden crown of the Madonna adorned with jewels and enamel, created by Leonardo and Giuseppe Montalbano in the 17th century.
On Piazza Mazzini you will find an interesting collection of regional pieces housed in the Museo Archeologico di Palazzo Varisano.
Catalan Gothic Palazzo Pollicarini on Piazza Colaianni on Via Roma is an interesting building which is now privately own. Its central courtyard is still open so you can have a quick peek.
The viewing point looking onto Calascibetta is at Piazza F Crispi. The square is packed with young people but still pleasant. You´ll also find a reproduction of Giovanni Bernini’s fountain of the rape of Proserpina here, the real one being housed in Galleria Borghese in Rome.
As Enna has been a centre of many different religious cults and paganism, Holy Week gathers all these groups in a procession towards the cathedral.
From April to October the races of Formula 3 are held in the Autodromo di Pergusa.
The celebration of the patron saint of Enna takes place on 2nd July. There are fireworks displays and an effigy of Maria Santissima della Visitazione is carried on a cart named “The Golden Ship” along the streets by farmers.
There is an information booth on Piazza Colaianni and a very resourceful tourist information office on Via Roma.
Where to Eat and Drink
The cuisine in Enna is characterized by meat dishes, some mushroom and grilled vegetables.
La Fontana is set opposite the famed fountain. Head there for good food and a warm atmosphere. In the summer you can enjoy your meals outdoors.
Ristorante Centrale on Piazza VI Dicembre dishes serves all the local specialities.
Holding a Slow Food badge Antica Hostaria on Via Castagna is another excellent restaurant.
For pizza in a lively, young atmosphere check out Pizzeria da Gino (Viale Marconi) or Da Marino (Viale C Savoca).
How to Get to/around/from
BY BUS: to Catania( duration: 1 ½ hours, services: 10 a day from Mon-Sat, only 3 a day on Sun), to Palermo( duration: 1 ¾ hours, services: 6 a day from Mon-Sat, only 1 on Sun), to Agrigento (duration. 1 hour, services:3 a day from Mon-Fri), to Piazza Armerina (duration: 45 minutes, services: 8 a day from Mon-Sat, only 2 on Sun). Local buses operate from the railway station to the town every hour except on Sundays, when they are less frequent. BY TAXI: Just by the bus station on Viale Diaz you will find a taxi rank.
BY TRAIN: to Caltanissetta (duraton: 40 minutes, services: 7 a day), to Catania (services: 7 a day), to Palermo (services: 4 a day). Tickets are available from the platform machine.