Sperlinga ( Enna) is one the most beautiful villages of Italy. It is easy to enter the heartland Sicily without being mystical or figurative.
This village is located in central Sicily. You can reach it by digging into the sandstone. It is not surprising that Sperlinga’s name derives from the Latin Spelunca (cave, grotto). Instead, it is its Castle. This castle dates back to year 1000. It rises up and penetrates the rock, shaping it. The remains of an old drawbridge are a testament to human talent and hard work. They can be heard whispering in the rocks, telling us about the meticulous work of the Siculi.
Castello di Sperlinga – ph. Salvatore Scalisi
Slowly, you feel the warp and natural rock changing. Now, you are in the workshop for metallics, now, in prison, now, in a large stable, or in a water tank. It is a protected and intimate space that blends with the environment so well that it becomes impossible to conquer. This was evident by the damming and resistance of a French garrison during the Sicilian Vespers. Continue on, beyond the service areas, there is a mysterious environment that preserves twelve small niches, each with increasing gaps. It could be a remnant of a church, or it could be evidence of an ancient system of measuring time and seasons.
You can only go up from here. Then, you will need to climb the steep steps, which look almost like holes in the hardrock. Finally, you’ll be able to see the sky through the ancient battlements and enjoy the view from the castle tower. Sperlinga is home to the caves or in this instance the “aggrottato”, a complex of rooms that man has carved on the entire side of the castle.
Charming village built into the wall has 50 caves that can be accessed via stairs or connected by small streets dug into the rock. Each cave was once a small house with one or two rooms. Recently, the Municipality purchased some of them and made them into an ethnographic museum.
The Sperlinga area is filled with caves dug into the sandstone by an intricate system artificial caverns. These include the Contrada Rossa, Peirito, which are likely places of worship or burial for the early Christians.
The Church of Mercy is located beneath the castle. This church was the first in the village and is famous for its beautiful wooden crucifix, which it inherited from the old fortress church. The Mother Church is the largest building in the village. It was built with one nave and was commissioned by prince Giovanni Natoli during the 1600’s. S. is the third church in the village. Anna, a second-half of the 1600’s, is attached to the convent for Augustinians. Here is a wooden Crucifix from Friar Umile de Petralia.
The frascatela is Sperlinga’s most famous traditional dish. It’s a polenta made of grass flour or durum wheat, and topped with lard, broccoli, and a mixture of lard. The tortone could also be mentioned. This is a bread-dough cake that’s fried in oil, then topped with sugar and cinnamon.