Some curiosities about the highest capital of Italy and of one of the most beautiful castles in its province
Did you know that Enna is the Sicilian city called “the navel of Sicily“, precisely because of its geographical position, exactly in the center of the island?
The highest provincial capital of Italy, for the altitude of its inhabited center, is defined as the belvedere of Sicily for the splendid panorama that can be admired from its heights. In addition, it is home to a very popular university.
Enna was an important stronghold for various populations: Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Sicans, Byzantines, Swabians, and Aragonese. The city is divided into high Enna and low Enna: the upper part was the only area of the city to be inhabited since the first post-war period; full of monuments, large squares, narrow streets and winding streets, beams, bridges and a magnificent viewpoint that intersect each other, between the oldest and the newest part of the city. The lower part, on the other hand, was born from the housing saturation of upper Enna and develops over a valley which over the years has been enriched with new commercial structures and residential neighborhoods.
Today we want to focus on a cave village located in the province of Enna, which we had the pleasure of visiting on one of our tours around Sicily: Sperlinga, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, famous for its caves from which the village takes its name, from the Greek “spelonca” (cave). Once, in fact, the houses were built by digging the sandstone rock, creating real caves, which can still be admired in their characteristic shape. Some of them are still inhabited and create small magic in the village with their front doors and planters in front of the door, enriched with flowers, prickly pear blades, and fruit trees.
But the strong point of this village, and which leaves you breathless by looking upwards, is the majestic Sperlinga Castle, also partly excavated in the sandstone rock, dating back to the pre-Greek Sicilian people, in the BC years. The castle was the seat of several dynasties but what made it famous was the siege of Sicilian vespers in 1282, when French nobles locked themselves inside the castle walls to defend themselves and resisted for over a year without having any contact with the outside. It is said that the French, perched in the castle, produced cheese with the breast milk of women, and then thrown it downstream making the inhabitants understand that they were not facing economic difficulties.
Sperlinga Castle enchants not only for its structure but also for its position and for the splendid scenery that presents itself to the view. From here you can admire a unique panorama, immense valleys of multiple colors, from the intense green of the lush vegetation to the golden yellow of the cultivation of grains, fodder, and cereals, to the black of the sometimes arid land, characteristic of the Sicilian hinterland.
Visiting the Sperlinga castle takes you back in time or perhaps it is better to say that time stops completely, so much so that during our visit we did not notice that the closing time had come and they were closing us in!