If you are in Enna on 2nd July, on the occasion of the Madonna della Visitazione procession, we are sure that you will wake up at 7 am at the sound of the 101 gunfire in honour of the patron saint of the city. The statue of the Madonna, which during the year is kept in its multicoloured marble niche inside the Cathedral, is carried in procession along the town. It is entirely covered with gold and precious stones and is kept inside a large sixteenth century “Vara” (reliquary casket) called Nave d’oro, carried on the shoulders of 118 barefoot confreres, gli ignudi (naked ones).
The procession starts from the cathedral and along the way there is the firing called the sarbiate, a gun salute. Near the hermitage of Montesalvo, the statues of St. Zachary and St. Elizabeth, which will meet the Madonna, come out from the church. Immediately after the entry into the Church of the Madonna, the artistic fireworks start. Here, you’ll see the explosions of joy that characterise all the religious celebrations in Sicily.
3 – Lombardy Castle and the Tower of Federico
The symbol of the town, it is one of the largest medieval castles in Italy. Built on the top of the ruins of the ancient acropolis and the Byzantine, Arabic and Norman fortifications, it is divided into three large courtyards and a ravelin (triangular fortress). These can work as separate castles and are equipped with several towers and structures for the military presence and the residence of the court.
The damaged Swabian palace, the palatium, was not rebuilt, and a portion of it became a tall thirteenth century tower called Pisana Tower. From here, the ancient lookouts could control most of Sicily and, on clear days, they could see the sea. Beneath the Castle, is the statue of Euno, a Syrian slave who, in 132 BC, began the First Servile War..
Castello di Lombardia, Enna – ph. Paolo Barone
The Tower of Federico, surrounded by the homonymous city park, is a castle-like medieval building. It consists of the ruins of a wide walled octagonal area opened up to two arched doors at the centre where there is a tall tower, which is octagonal too. The tower inside has Swabian architectural features that trace the construction back to the Kingdom of Frederick II of Swabia.
Not far, one of the gates of Enna: the Monumental Gate of Janniscuru, a robust walled remnant, placed to interrupt the road entrenchment.
4 – Pergusa Lake
Encircled by verdant hills, it allows the collection of the waters despite not having real tributaries. The salty water is collected in the centre of the basin, and this gives the Pergusa environment a great natural importance. It’s an environment full of biodiversity and cultural and mythological features.
Pergusa Lake, a natural lake in the Sicilian hinterland, is a key area in the migration of many species of birds, because it’s situated along one of the main migratory routes of the Western Palaearctic.
It’s an ideal resting place for thousands of aquatic birds in transit to Africa. Bird watchers can easily spot the teal, the wigeon, the shoveler, the pochard, the coot, the marsh harrier and the ferruginous duck. Among the mammals that stroll around here are porcupines and weasels, reptiles and amphibians such as marsh turtles.