The thing about Enna is that the train station is down in Enna Basso, whereas everything good (including my hostel) is up in Enna Alto. Everyone* had said it’s better to get the bus, since the bus station is also in Enna Alto. I didn’t listen to them. They also said that if you insist on getting the train then book a taxi in advance since there will be none at the station and no buses. I didn’t listen to them.
* by everyone I mean the kind people of the internet who give travel advice to make your life easier.
I arrived at Enna station around 9pm. The sun had already set and within 20 minutes it was pitch black. I had a 90 minute walk ahead of me, with a backpack, my shoulder bag and my food bag, in the dark, up a hill.
I know I complain a lot but this was the worst. I don’t even know what the worst bit of this walk was. It was horrific. The highlights (lowlights?) were:
- walking along a motorway in the dark, being sure that I was about to be hit and die;
- deciding to take the more direct route up the side of the hill, which turned out to be a lane with no lights;
- being so tired after 40 minutes of continual uphill walking that I sat down on the path and considered just waiting there until morning;
- being sure that a mad rapist was going to jump out of the bushes and kill me in the dark;
- thinking that being killed by a mad rapist wouldn’t be so bad because at least there would be no more walking;
- walking past a farm and hearing literally undoubtedly 100 dogs barking at me and not knowing if they were friendly or fenced in or what;
- seeing headlights up the road and hiding in the bushes instead of just asking them for a lift;
- eventually getting back onto the main road, accepting the offer of a lift from a stranger and spending 15 minutes fending off his groping as a result.
When I eventually got to the hostel, it wasn’t necessarily much better. The guy at the desk didn’t speak any English at all and we ended up having a misunderstanding. He had to phone the woman who worked there during the day because she was Romanian and could therefore obviously speak both English and Italian perfectly.
The hostel itself, CCLY Hostel, was more of a hotel. It was very clean but very very quiet. Everyone else staying there was old and Italian, except this Japanese girl in my room who left after the first day. The wifi was moderately patchy but the kitchen was massive. I’m sorry to say I committed the mortal sin of hosteling and used some butter and cheese that I found in the fridge, and some pasta I found on the side. I think it was ok since I was the only person there but still.
There was a lot of very delicious red orange juice at breakfast, which I liked enormously.
I spent two days in Enna and I could easily have spent one. On the second day I tried to go to Villa Romana del Casale, which is very famous. Unfortunately it was Easter Monday and so none of the buses were running.
In fact, the whole reason I went to Enna was due to Easter weekend. My guidebook said that Enna had spectacular Easter parades where all the people dress up in medieval cloaks and carry around the statues from the churches. I couldn’t find any the whole time I was there and I found out later that they were morn in the build-up to Easter. In fact, there was one parade while I was there but it was during sunset and I missed it.
Despite these setbacks and disappointments, I look back fondly on my time in Enna. I’m glad I went and I would probably go back. It’s a beautiful, delicate old town with kind people and a good atmosphere. I also had a really delicious aubergine (eggplant) pizza.
Highlight: Enna Castle
It’s free! Why is it free? I would pay up to €8 for this lovely, well-preserved Norman castle. You can see all the way to Mount Etna from the intact tower in the middle. It’s great.
There are also a lot of churches in Enna. None of them particularly grabbed me but one was filled with memorial plaques to the young men and women of Enna who died in WWII. It was incredibly moving and sad that such a small town could suffer such loss.
There’s a park with another tower on the other side of the town. My guidebook thought you could go up the tower through a ‘secret entrance’. It was certainly very secret since I never found it.
The park around it was very pleasant thought. It had an archery range.
Aside from the Roman villa, I’m also disappointed that I didn’t make it into the necropolis. It’s vast and very ornate for such a small town and I bet there are all sorts of lovely little details amongst the large tombs. Unfortunately it’s only open on weekday mornings.
I left Enna the same way I arrived. Walking back down the hill in the day time was very pleasant, I was slightly drunk and I had a little nap. At the train station a strange old man gave me a banana flavoured sweet. Very pleasant indeed.
My next (and final) destination was Agrigento, location of the Valley of the Temples. Until then x