In the heart of the most rugged and quiet Sicily is Sperlinga. It seduces every visitor with its natural treasures and the authenticity of a simple life. It seems to be a place out of time. It is no coincidence that it is also among the “Borghi più Belli D’Italia”, the Italian award for the most beautiful village in the Country. We are in the province of Enna, and this small historic centre offers a magnificent Medieval Castle, among the most impressive in central Sicily. Before its construction, the Sicilian or the Byzantines built an ancient impregnable fortress (as revealed by the drawbridge). Then, in the year 1000, was built the Castle. From its tower, we can enjoy a stunning view.
At the foot of the manor, the cave village awaits us with its grottos ( about fifty ), staircase and alleys carved into the rock. We are in an open-air ethnographic museum. In one of these caves, we can visit the museum of peasant culture, where we can see tools and everyday objects. The exposition shows an evocative and authentic insight into rural life and local traditions.
Let’s visit the sacred places. The Castle overlooks the 18th century Church of the Madonna della Mercede. Inside it houses a beautiful wooden crucifix. The Mother Church has a single nave dedicated to John the Baptist. Prince Giovanni Natoli commissioned its construction in the 17th century. In the Church of St. Anne ( also called the “Convent of the Augustinians”), we can see a wooden crucifix of the school of Frate Umile from Petralia.
Nearby, an intricate web of artificial caves links together the areas of Contrada Rossa and Peirito. They were probably early Christian places of worship and burial.
To appreciate even more this charming town, do not forget to try the traditional frascatela. It is polenta made from durum wheat flour or chickling vetch, with lard and broccoli. We end our visit tasting the tortone, a cake made from bread dough, fried in oil and covered with sugar and cinnamon. Still talking about sweets, the nocatoli (typical biscuits) and torrone, simple short pastry biscuits with almonds on top, are delicious.
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