enna and agrigento

The drive up to Enna was one of the more stressful experiences of this trip. Traveling in a tour bus had its benefits, but driving up tiny, winding roads up a mountainside was quite the struggle. The bus driver had to honk the horn each time we turned a corner in case of a car coming down the mountain!

Once we calmed down a bit from the ride, we hit the bathrooms (and spent one euro to use them) and met up with our tour guide for the day, Davide. Davide knew a lot about the history and architecture within the town of Enna. He also had a wonderful sense of style and fed my obsession for scarves and Oxford shoes.

We went to the Castello di Lombardia. This is a phenomenal view next to the castle.

I really love this geometric metal fence.

I snuck away from the tour group for a few minutes to take photos of this view with flowers in the foreground.

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This is the Castello di Lombardia, or at least the ruins of it. From what I remember, there were a lot of different aspects that were added later on, so not every piece is from the original structure. Still, it’s very old, and the tower you can see in the middle of this picture is from the 13th century.

We climbed up so many stairs to reach the top of the tower. My grandpa climbed the stairs, too; I think he’s in better shape than I am as he did it with, seemingly, no problem! 😉

The next few photos are views from different sides of the tower.

The top of that little mountain is right where we were at the start!

After touring the castle and learning lots about who inhabited the surrounding areas (Sicily’s history is so very complicated but so very interesting!), we headed into town. Enna is a pretty religious city, and we were there the week of Easter, so there was a lot going on religiously.

I love this photo. USA, why can’t our mailboxes be this charming?!

There are so many churches in Enna. I can’t remember the name/find this church online, but it was so beautiful. I believe this ceiling is wood.

These hand-painted tiles are just fantastic. As I mentioned in one of my other posts, I’m totally going to have a kitchen someday with a Sicily-inspired backsplash!

This wooden wall is carved with Bible stories.

Here’s something kinda funny/unique I observed on this trip. Maybe it’s a European thing or just an Italian thing, but the exterior of each hotel always has the number of stars it is right next to the logo. In the US, you have to do a Google search to find that info, but in Sicily, it’s right there! I think it’s pretty interesting that they do this.

This is Chiesa Santa Chiara. You can’t really see from this photo, but there are little marble squares on the walls that hold bodies of Italians who died in WWII. I guess it’s more like a mausoleum!

After having lunch and walking through Enna for a while, we took the terrifying bus ride back down the hill and headed to Villa Romana del Casale. If you enjoy mosaics as much as I do, this is a place you must visit! It is an ancient palace that has been turned into a museum. The mosaics have been kept in wonderful condition, and each room has a totally different design on the floor.

This is the famous bikini girl mosaic! Davide said that bikinis supposedly originated in Sicily because of this mosaic. That’s something I didn’t think I’d learn on this trip!

The outdoor mosaics get very dusty as people walk over them all day, so Davide splashed some water on one of them, and we could see how shiny they are once clean.

I discovered this photo after I returned from Sicily (that always happens because I take so many pictures!). I took it on the bus and didn’t think it’d be a great shot, but I really like it.

We had left our beloved first hotel that morning, so by the end of the day, we ended up in Agrigento. This hotel was four-star, and it was quite fancy. Sadly we only stayed there for one night, so my friends and I enjoyed it by buying all the Kinder Bueno bars in the mini-fridge and drinking Coca Cola until our 11pm curfew.

This is the view from the tiny balcony in our room.

The next day, we headed to Velle dei Templi, or Valley of the Temples. They are ancient Greek temples located on the top of a little hill. As you drive by on the road below, you can see some of them, and it’s so pretty.

Some of them were preserved better than others, but I’ve never seen anything like them in person before.

The cutest little goats on the side of the hill!

LOL, no joke: I wandered off from the group to take this flower picture, too. I just can’t resist sometimes!

After the tour at the Valle dei Templi, we went out for lunch. I got a classic Sicilian pasta dish: Pasta alla Norma. It’s busiate (my new favorite pasta) with tomatoes, eggplants, basil, and cheese.

Excuse this unflattering picture, but this is another classic Sicilian treat: gelato in a sweet brioche bun! Mmmmm. One of the best things I ate.

After lunch, we took a little drive to Scala dei Turchi . Sadly, the walk was too far to reach them, and we couldn’t climb up or get a closer look, but they are still gorgeous from this view.

There was so much to explore at this beach. I found so many rocks and shells! 

The water was insanely warm, too. I could have stayed there all day.

Another rare picture of me.

After about an hour on the beach, we drove three hours to our final hotel in Letojanni. We stopped at a convenience store along the way, and it was nothing like I’ve ever seen! It was basically a mini grocery store. Some of the chocolate treats I took home were from there 😉 lol.

Tomorrow I’ll share photos and stories from our first day in Taormina / Letojanni, and then Mount Etna. A domani!

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