If you find yourself in the province of Enna, plan a day trip to Aidone. It’s absolutely worth it!
Walking through the narrow streets of the old town, among palaces and churches, we arrive at the highest point of the town, where the ruins of a powerful fortress built by the Arabs, outpost and observation point lie. It was fortified and transformed into a castle. Today the remnants of Castellaccio are a shapeless cluster of ruins surrounded by a beautiful panorama of the valley.
Going down Via Roma we meet the Church of San Domenico or San Vincenzo Ferreri, with its characteristic ashlar façade with diamond tip from the fifteenth century, and the Church of S. Anna from the seventeenth century, which preserves the wooden Crucifix attributed to Fra’ Humile da Petralia.
The votive pilgrimage and the Feast of San Filippo Apostolo are famous in Aidone. The night before 1 May, hundreds of people gather to venerate the black saint, San Filippo. The pilgrimage ends in the Church of S. Maria La Cava, in Piazza Cordova, dominated by the Adelasia Tower dating back to the Norman period. If you want to discover the island in an alternative but no less intense way, discover the paths that will allow you to get to know the more spiritual side of Sicily.
Let’s continue our visit to Aidone and go towards the Archaeological Museum located inside the former Capuchin monastery (seventeenth century). The annexed Church of San Francesco is equipped as an auditorium serving the museum. In the museum rooms we find ceramics, horn-shaped shards and stone and bone tools and vases from the Morgeti, the founders of Morgantina, which testify to the Greek presence. In the Serra Orlando room we find busts of Persephone and the ex-votos of the culture that venerated Demeter, Persephone, Aphrodite and Hermes.
The silver from Morgantina, the acroliths and the statue of the Goddess to which an entire room is dedicated are of enormous value.
Sculpted between 425 BC and 400 BC, it underwent various vicissitudes: in the early 1980s it arrived in Switzerland and was subsequently purchased by the J. P. Getty Museum in Malibu. After being long disputed and widely admired, it returned from the Paul Getty Museum to its place of origin.
The statue of the Goddess is 2.24 metres tall, with very harmonious and evident body under the drapery. White marble from the island of Paro was used for the bare parts of the body – the face and arms. The effect whereby the dress looks wet on the torso is clear, highlighting the features of the body and the rich drapery to form large folds. Scholars recognise this statue, which is also known as the Goddess of Morgantina, as a representation of Demeter or Kore.
The splendid Head of Hades or Bluebeard is a polychrome terracotta head from the Hellenistic period, most likely depicting the Greek god of the Underworld Hades and coming from the San Francesco Bisconti district in Morgantina.
The archaeological site of Morgantina is all that has come to the light from the ancient Sicilian and Greek city in the territory of Aidone. The city was unearthed in the autumn of 1955 by an archaeological mission from Princeton University (United States). The excavations allow you to follow the development of the settlement over a period of about a millennium, from prehistoric times to the Roman era.
The area most easily accessible contains from the remains from the mid-fifth century to the end of the first century BCE, the period of the city’s greatest splendour.
The excavations have brought to light the Agora, the Theatre and an entire city with the residential districts, paved road and kilns for the production of ceramics.
In early August “Morgantina rivive“ (Morgantina lives again) takes place as a cultural event created by the ArcheoClub of Aidone. The places of Morgantina, the agora, the houses, the macellum and the boulè come alive by telling the story of life in the polis and the most significant activities. A different specific theme is addressed each year, starting from the distant past and maintaining close links with the present. Local rites and myths are thus remembered, thanks in part to an accompaniment of classical songs.
When sampling local products, do not miss cicerchia, a typical legume used for sweet and savoury dishes.