Scenes from Sicily, Quattordici – Enna at Sunset

This is one of my favorite photos from the Sicily trip. In it, you can see the northern section of the central Sicilian town of Enna in the foreground, with rolling hills and a sunset, dreamy and faded in the western sky.

We ended up in Enna by accident. We couldn’t decide where to stay when heading toward Syracusa from the western side of the island, and Enna opened up a possibility because there was a hostel there with an opening and a pretty cheap rate for a quick overnight stay. A week before we were set to arrive, however, the booking agency emailed to let us know the hostel was overbooked, so they moved our reservation to the much fancier Hotel Sicilia Enna and paid the difference.

Thus began a fortuitous evening where we arrived at the Castello di Lombardia just at sunset and were able to enjoy scenes like the photo above, ate dinner in a tiny little traditional restaurant (Grotta Assurra) run by a cute and caring elderly couple (he cooked and she took our order – there were only 5 or so tables in the whole place, and only 2 were occupied), and observed modern teenage life on a Friday evening, when kids come from surrounding towns to hang out in the same square, giggle at one another, and stare at little screens in the dark.

It is worth noting that, historically speaking, Enna could be considered a metaphor for all of Sicily, in that it is old and has been conquered a lot. People have lived on the 2800 foot high, mostly sheer, hill since at least the 14th century BC. Occupying such a prominent position over the surrounding countryside, while only being a day’s journey from each of the 3 major coasts, made Enna a popular target, and it was captured by the Sicani, then the Siculi, then the Greeks, then the Carthaginians, then the Romans, then by the Byzantines, Islamic forces, Normans, and on and on. Many of the captures involved treachery rather than military might, and the town has been known by other names, such a Henna and Castrogiovanni, at least until Mussolini gave it the current name.

More photos of our July 2012 trip to Sicily are available here.