Lexicon of Sicily, from Enna to Erice

Sicilian encyclopedia for travel and knowledge

Enna. Occupying a magnificent position on a plateau 948m above sea level, Enna is known as the belvedere of Sicily; it is also the highest provincial capital in Italy.

As the road winds gradually upwards to the town, beautiful views extend over the valley to Calascibetta, the town perched on the concave slopes of the hill opposite. The cult of Demeter – Ceres to the Romans – earth mother and goddess of fertility, was especially important here, possibly because of the extensive cultivation of wheat that continues to characterise this area. Furthermore, according to the Greek myths, it was on the shore of Lake Pergusa, that is not far from here, that Demeter’s daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades, the god of the Underworld; built at the highest point above Enna, in the place known as the belvedere, there used to be a temple dedicated to Demeter.

Erice is a historical city in the mountains close to Trapani in Sicily, Italy.

Erice hosts important scientific meetings, organised by the Italian astrophysicist Antonio Zichichi. In the northeastern portion of the city there are the remains of ancient Elymian and Phoenician walls indicating different stages of settlement and occupation in antiquity. There are two castles that remain in the city; first, Pepoli Castle, which dates from Saracen times, and Venus Castle which dates from the Norman period, on top of the ancient Temple of Venus. The city overlooks the bay of Castellammare del Golfo on Sicily's northern coast, and the views are spectacular. The ancient name of Erice was Eryx.