Enna is an Italian municipality of 26.755 inhabitants.
It was called Castrogiovanni until 1927, the year in which it resumed the ancient name of Enna. It is known for being the highest provincial capital in Italy, due to the altitude of the inhabited center which stands at 931 m at the Town Hall, and it reaches 992 m at the Castello di Lombardia.
The city was called Urbs Inexpugnabilis by the Romans for its impregnability, Navel of Sicily for its geographical centrality with respect to the island, and Belvedere of Sicily for the panoramic views that can be had from here in the various directions. Let’s discover the gems of this lovely city!
Torre di Federico
The octagonal tower was built on the probable remains of the Greek theatre. Its octagonal shape, which follows the oriental model of the sacred Temple of Jerusalem, suggests that it was used for the compass rose. In any case, it was a defence tower to control that side of the city of Enna which was exposed to possible attacks by enemies. The tower stands on top of a tree-lined hill. From its top, the gaze sweeps over the entire upper city and the valleys below, up to Etna.
It was designed at the court of Emperor Frederick II of Swabia, according to tradition, by Riccardo da Lentini and was also used as a summer residence of the Swabian emperor, during his stays in Sicily. Its origins date back to the mid-thirteenth century (at the age of Manfredi), which confirms the thesis that the Swabian Federico wanted it rather than the Aragonese namesake. Another argument in support of the Swabian origin of the monument is the unmistakable geometric layout that also characterizes other fortifications built by Frederick II of Swabia. The tower is 27 meters high with an octagonal plan.
From the top of the top of the tower, the visitor’s gaze can sweep in all directions of the city with a view of the “Torre delle Aquile”, the “Castello di Lombardia”, the “Duomo” and, in the background, up to Mount Etna.
The wooded area around it is used as a municipal public garden.
Castello di Lombardia
Castello di Lombardia, in size, can be considered one of the largest manors in Sicily, and was the most important defence point in the city. It is, in fact, in the highest area of the same and is surrounded by a cliff which constitutes its natural defence; it was then isolated from a moat which, by means of a drawbridge, connected it to the lower part of the city, which no longer exists today.
Castello di Lombardia is considered by many experts to be the most impressive and ancient castle of the medieval period existing in Sicily, as well as the largest for its 23,000 square meters of surface, and stands majestically on a scenic landscape, perched as it is in the eastern offshoot of Enna. It was so called, probably, for the presence of Lombard soldiers stationed in defence of the Castle.
It was once the venue, in the summer, for concerts and theatrical performances, at the vast enclosure of San Nicola or degli Armati which could accommodate up to 5.000 people.
Torre Pisana is the main tower among the six survivors of the medieval Castello di Lombardia, in the eastern foothills of Enna, as well as the main tourist attraction of the city.
Torre Pisana was so called because the Normans had entrusted it in custody to a garrison composed of their Pisan allies. During the domination of the Arabs, it was known with the name of Torre delle Aquile because of the birds of prey coming from the nearby Nebrodi Mountains that circled around it. The building stands over 970 m above sea level between the curtains of the imposing Castle of Lombardy.
With a very solid structure in living stone, Torre Pisana is visible from the valleys below for tens of kilometres from all directions and stands out for its Guelph restoration battlements.
The internal staircase, which leans against a wall, is a suggestive succession of tall and powerful stone steps, which lead to the top.
Rocca di Cerere
Rocca di Cerere is one of the most famous and representative places of Enna, it links the city to the ancient cult of Cerere particularly present in the area, since Enna is the place where the abduction of Persephone by the god Hades took place. In addition to being particularly suggestive for the panorama, the place is rich in cave and hypogea environments of various ages.
On the western side of the fortress there are some rock habitats, in the vicinity of which the remains of two towers are preserved, part of the medieval fortification system connected to the castle. On the southern side of the Rocca, there are several hypogea carved into the rock with the remains of a bell-shaped cistern from the Greek age (5th-4th century BC) and, in another, of late-ancient funerary deposits (111th-5th century A.D).
The path to the temple was marked by statues of colossal deities and satellite sanctuaries. Evidence of the grandeur of the place aroused the keen interest of foreign travellers, who between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries confirmed the presence on the Rocca di Cerere of an altar located in the center of the summit, reachable by following a ramp carved into the rock, which no longer exists today.
The fortress of Cerere, together with the Castle of Lombardy and the Tower of Federico, is one of the most representative symbols of the city of Enna.
Duomo has been defined by many as an “extraordinary work”, 700 years of History of Art are represented inside, fragments dating back to remote times are not considered. The Cathedral declared in 1942 “National Monument” and thanks to Unesco “Peace Monument”, is named after Maria SS. of the Visitation.
it is a remarkable example of medieval ecclesiastical architecture built in the fourteenth century and deeply renovated about two centuries later, it has imposing Corinthian colonnades, three naves and three apses.
The facade is majestic, with a bell tower whose bell is of considerable size. Inside, there are precious paintings and chandeliers. Among the works preserved, frescoes by Borremans. The Duomo is the highlight of the Enna Holy Week celebrations.
The Church of SS. Crocefisso di Papadura
The Church of SS. Crocefisso di Papadura has an ancient tradition that has its roots back in 1659 when an image of a crucifix painted on a stone slab was found in a cave.
The Papardura Sanctuary is inserted in the southwest of the Calvario fortress, in an extraordinary scenario overlooking the valley and the ancient public washhouse dating back to the thirteenth century, (the current conformation is however to be attributed to the eighteenth century), fearlessly anchored on the back of a large round bridge specially built, which connects two rocky edges.
Built in around 1660, its structure has a single nave, with a polygonal apse that the legend says, is obtained from an ancient painted cave. Internally decorated with stuccos from the school of Giacomo Serpotta, 1696, partly completed by G.B. Bern in 1699
Inside, its decorative richness is a remarkable expression of the baroque of central Sicily. There are concentrated, an inlaid wooden ceiling, twelve statues of the Apostles, numerous paintings and frescoes by the Flemish painter Borremans, and seventeenth-century stuccos from the school of Giacomo Serpotta.
In August, this place is full of faithful and tourists attracted by the great fair and the mules who, harnessed with ancient harnesses, wander the streets guided by the sound of the bagpipes.
The Belvedere of Enna, historically dedicated to Guglielmo Marconi and then to Francesco Crispi, is a panoramic square in the historic center of Enna.
The large square, built in 1927 and included among the public works that changed, in the fascist era, the face of Enna, just erected as the capital of the homonymous province, overlooks a vast panorama at the foot of the mountain on which the city stands.
The Belvedere is a rectangular square, in the center of which stands the Fountain of the Rat of Proserpina, a highly suggestive marble structure on which the bronze statue representing the rat. Green hedges tighten around which stand tall pine trees.
In addition to the Fountain of the Rat and the remarkable handrail with columns and artistic vases which are also marble, which delimit the Belvedere and Viale Marconi which is an extension of it, the Belvedere of Enna has some examples of ancient architecture, such as the Grande Albergo Belvedere , valuable classical building, with a splendid facade.
From the Belvedere of Enna, known regionally as one of the best meeting and landscape observation points, the view extends from nearby Calascibetta, a medieval town, to the entire northern sector of central Sicily, that is, to the peaks of the Nebrodi, which surround the horizon.