Enna | Wikipedia audio article


Enna (Italian pronunciation: [ˈɛnna] (listen);
Sicilian: Castrugiuvanni; Ancient Greek: Ἔννα; Latin: Henna, less frequently Haenna), known
until 1926 as Castrogiovanni, is a city and comune located roughly at the center of Sicily,
southern Italy, in the province of Enna, towering above the surrounding countryside. It has earned the nicknames belvedere (panoramic
viewpoint) and ombelico (“navel”) of Sicily. At 931 m (3,054 ft) above sea level, Enna
is the highest Italian provincial capital.==History==
Enna is situated near the center of the island; whence the Roman writer Cicero called it Mediterranea
maxime, reporting that it was within a day’s journey of the nearest point on all the three
coasts. The peculiar situation of Enna is described
by several ancient authors, and is one of the most remarkable in Sicily. The ancient city was placed on the level summit
of a gigantic hill, surrounded on all sides with precipitous cliffs almost wholly inaccessible. The few paths were easily defended, and the
city was abundantly supplied with water which gushes from the face of the rocks on all sides. With a plain or table land of about 5 km in
circumference on the summit, it formed one of the strongest natural fortresses in the
world.===Prehistoric===
Archaeological excavations have revealed artifacts dating from the 14th century BC, proving human
presence in the area since Neolithic times. A settlement from before the 11th century
BC, assigned by some to the Sicanians, has been identified at the top of the hill; later
it was a center of the Sicels. In historical times, Enna became renowned
in Sicily and Italy for the cult of the goddess Demeter (the Roman Ceres). Her grove was known as the umbilicus Siciliae
(“The navel of Sicily”). Ceres’ temple in Henna was a famed site of
worship.The origin of the toponym Henna remains obscure.===Classical period===Dionysius I of Syracuse repeatedly attempted
to take over Enna. At first he encouraged Aeimnestus, a citizen
of Enna, to seize the sovereign power. Afterward Dionysius I turned against him and
assisted the Ennaeans to get rid of their despot. But it was not till a later period that, after
repeated expeditions against the neighbouring Sicilian cities, Dionysius took control of
by betrayal. Agathocles later controlled Enna. When the Agrigentines under Xenodicus began
to proclaim the restoration of the other cities of Sicily to freedom, the Ennaeans were the
first to join their standard, and opened their gates to Xenodicus, 309 BC. Accounts of the First Punic War repeatedly
refer to Enna; it was taken first by the Carthaginians under Hamilcar, and subsequently recaptured
by the Romans, but in both instances by treachery and not by force. In the Second Punic War, while Marcellus was
engaged in the siege of Syracuse (214 BC), Enna became the scene of a fearful massacre. The defection of several Sicilian towns from
Rome had alarmed Pinarius the governor of Enna. In order to forestall any treachery, he used
the Roman garrison to kill the citizens, whom he had gathered in the theater, and killed
them all. The soldiers were allowed to plunder the city. Eighty years later Enna was the center of
the First Servile War in Sicily (134 BC-132 BC), which erupted under the lead of Eunus,
a former slave. His forces took over Enna. It was the last place that held out against
the proconsul Rupilius, and was at length betrayed into his hands. According to Strabo, the city suffered much
damage after the Romans regained control. He believed this was the start of its decline. Cicero referred to it repeatedly in a way
to suggest that it was still a flourishing municipal town: it had a fertile territory,
well-adapted for the growth of cereal grains, and was diligently cultivated till it was
rendered almost desolate by the exactions of Verres. From this time little is known about Enna:
Strabo speaks of it as still inhabited, though by a small population, in his time: and the
name appears in Pliny among the municipal towns of Sicily, as well as in Ptolemy and
the Itineraries. When the Roman Empire was divided in 395AD,
Sicily became part of the Western Roman Empire. The noted senatorial family of the Nicomachi
had estates in Sicily. Around 408 the politician and grammarian Nicomachus
Flavianus worked on an edition of the first 10 books of Livy during a stay on his estate
in Enna. This was recorded in the subscriptions of
the manuscripts of Livy.===Post-Roman===
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Enna flourished throughout the Middle Ages
as an important Byzantine stronghold. In 859, in the course of the Islamic conquest
of Sicily, after several attempts and a long siege, the town was taken by Muslim troops,
who entered one by one through a sewer to breach the town’s defenses. Afterwards, 8,000 residents of the city were
massacred by Muslim forces. The Arabic name for the city, Qaṣr Yānih
(قصر يانه, “Fort of John”), was a combination of qaṣr (a corruption of the Latin castrum,
“fortress”), and a corruption of Henna. The city retained its name in the local dialect
of Sicilian as Castru Janni (Italianized as Castrogiovanni), until Benito Mussolini ordered
renaming in 1927. The Normans captured Enna in 1087. Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor and King
of Sicily, established a summer residence here, which is now called the Torre di Federico
(“Frederick Tower”). Troops of North Italian soldiers, from regions
such as Lombardy, Piedmont, Liguria and Emilia-Romagna, came to settle in the city and neighbouring
towns such as Nicosia and Piazza Armerina. Gallo-Italic dialects are still spoken in
these areas, dating from this early occupation. Enna had a prominent role in the Sicilian
Vespers that led to the Aragonese conquest of Sicily, and thenceforth enjoyed a short
communal autonomy. King Frederick III of Sicily favored it and
embellished the city; it suffered a period of decay under the Spanish domination. It was restored as provincial capital in the
1920s. In 2002 it became a university city. The citizens of the city have a high incidence
of multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease seen more frequently among people of North European
extraction; perhaps this is related to the Norman immigration. MS is also prevalent in Sardinia, which has
the second highest incidence in the Mediterranean basin.==Classical mythology==The neighborhood of Enna is celebrated in
myth as the place whence Persephone (Latin: Proserpine) was carried off by Pluto, god
of the underworld. The spot assigned by local tradition as the
scene of this event was a small lake surrounded by lofty and precipitous hills, about 8 km
from Enna. The meadows abound in flowers, and a nearby
cavern or grotto was believed to be where the king suddenly emerged. This lake is called “Pergus” by Ovid and Claudian. Neither Cicero nor Diodorus refers to any
lake in relation to this myth. The former says that around Enna were lacus
lucique plurimi, et laetissimi flores omni tempore anni. Diodorus describes the spot whence Persephone
was carried off as a meadow so full of fragrant flowers that hounds could not follow their
prey. He described the meadow as enclosed on all
sides by steep cliffs, and having groves and marshes in the neighborhood, but does not
refer to a lake. Both he and Cicero allude to a cavern, as
if describing a definite site. In the 21st century, a small lake is found
in a basin-shaped hollow surrounded by great hills, and a cavern near is noted as that
described by Cicero and Diodorus. But much of the flowers and trees had disappeared
by the 19th century, when travelers described the area as bare and desolate.Both Ceres and
Persephone were worshipped in Enna. Cicero said that the temple of Ceres was of such
great antiquity and sanctity that Sicilians went there filled with religious awe. Verres looted from it a bronze image of the
deity, the most ancient as well as the most venerated in Sicily. No remains of this temple are now visible. Standing on the brink of the brink of the
precipice, it fell with a great rockfall from the edge of the cliff. Other remnants of classical antiquity were
likely destroyed by the Saracens, who erected the castle and several other of the most prominent
buildings of the modern city.==Ancient name Henna==
Coins minted for Enna under the Roman dominion still exist, carrying the legend “MUN. (Municipium) HENNA”. The aspirated form of the name confirms the
authority of Cicero, whose manuscripts give that form. The most ancient Greek coin of the city also
gives the name “ΗΕΝΝΑΙΟΝ”. Scholars have concluded that this form, Henna,
of the ancient name is the more correct for its time, though Enna is the more usual.==University, culture and education==
Enna is now an important center for archaeological and educational studies. The Kore University of Enna was officially
founded in 2002.==Main sights==The most important monuments of Enna are: The Castello di Lombardìa (Lombardy Castle),
perhaps the most important example of military architecture in Sicily. It was built by Sicanians, rebuilt by Frederick
II of Sicily, and restructured under Frederick II of Aragon. The castle is named for the garrison of Lombard
troops that defended it in Norman times. It has an irregular layout which once comprised
20 towers: of the six remaining, the Torre Pisana is the best preserved. It has Guelph merlons. The castle was divided into three different
spaces separated by walls. The first courtyard is the site of a renowned
outdoor lyric theater; the second one houses a large green park, while the third courtyard
includes the vestiges of royal apartments, a bishop’s chapel, medieval prisons, and the
Pisan Tower. The Duomo (Cathedral), a notable example of
religious architecture in Sicily, was built in the 14th century by queen Eleonora, Frederick
III’s wife. It was renovated and remodeled after the fire
of 1446. The great Baroque facade, in yellow tufa-stone,
is surmounted by a massive campanile with finely shaped decorative elements. The portal on the right side is from the 16th
century, while the other is from the original 14th-century edifice. The interior has a nave with two aisles, separated
by massive Corinthian columns, and three apses. The stucco decoration is from the 16th and
17th centuries. Art works include a 15th-century crucifix
panel painting, a canvas by Guglielmo Borremans, the presbytery paintings by Filippo Paladini
(1613), and a Baroque side portal. The cathedral’s treasure is housed in the
Alessi Museum, and includes precious ornaments, the gold crown with diamonds known as the
“Crown of the Virgin,” Byzantine icons, thousands of ancient coins, and other collections. Palazzo Varisano was adapted to house the
Regional Archaeological Museum of Enna. It has material dating from the Copper Age
to the 6th century AD, recovered from many archaeological areas in the Province of Enna. Torre di Federico, is an octagonal ancient
tower that was allegedly a summer residence of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen. The two floors possess beautiful vaults. The aspect of the building is austere. It was part of a bigger complex, named Old
castle and destroyed by Arabs. Remnants include some pieces of the old, imposing
walls on the top of the green hill where the Tower rises. The Campanile of the destroyed church of San
Giovanni, features pointed arches with finely shaped archivolts, and a three-light mullioned
window with Catalan-style decorations. The Municipal Library is located in the San
Francesco building, a former church. It has a notable 15th-century campanile and,
in the interior, a fine painted Cross from the same century. The church of San Tommaso is of note for its
15th-century belfry, with three orders. It has windows framed by an agile full-centered
archivolt. The church contains a marble icon (1515) attributed
to Giuliano Mancino and precious frescoes by Borremans. The Janniscuru Gate is the only one preserved
of the seven gates that once gave entrance through the town wall. It is a fine 17th-century Roman arch, positioned
in an area of rock grottoes under the ancient, traditional quarter of Fundrisi. These grottoes were used as a necropolis by
ancient peoples thousands of years ago.===Pergusa lake and archaeologic site===Lake Pergusa (Latin: Pergus lacus or Hennaeus
lacus) lies between a group of mountains in the chain of Erei, about 5 km from Enna. It is part of an important migratory flyway
for many species of birds. The Pergusa nature reserve also has numerous
species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. Around the lake is the most important racing
track of Southern Italy, the Autodromo di Pergusa. It has hosted international competitions and
events, such as Formula One, Formula 3000, and a Ferrari Festival featuring Michael Schumacher. Near Pergusa lake is the archaeological site
known as Cozzo Matrice. These are the remains of an ancient prehistoric
fortified village, with walls dating about 8000 BC. Other remains, dating to more than 2000 years
ago, are a sacred citadel, a rich necropolis, and the remains of an ancient temple dedicated
to Demeter. Pergusa is strongly linked to the myth of
the Greek Persephone, Demeter’s daughter, who was kidnapped from here by Pluto and taken
to Hades, the underworld, for part of the year. From that captivity, seasons arose. The important forest and green area named
Selva Pergusina (meaning Pergusa’s Wood) surrounds a part of the Lake Pergusa Valley.==Climate==
The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is “Csa” (Mediterranean Climate).==Government====
Sister cities==Mancomunidad de la Costa del Sol Occidental,
Spain Kastoria, Greece
Għarb, Malta Craiova, Romania
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, United Kingdom

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