Enna to Piazza Armerina - Springtime Spin in Sicily 2018 - CycleBlaze

May 25, 2018

Enna to Piazza Armerina

At breakfast we were greeted by Dario, the young engineering mastermind behind the electric winch used for raising and lowering luggage to and from their top floor B&B. He presented a spread of fruits, croissants, brioche, yogurt and cappuccino’s and even prepared scrambled eggs  for us. He spoke very good english and didn’t mind answering a few of our burning questions about Sicily. So we asked him about the poor state of the roads and about the garbage and the wild dog problem. He explained that it’s simply a case of people being paid for contracts prior to the work being completed. From his vantage, the answer was simple. 

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Enna sits at 931 meters and is at the geographical centre of Sicily. Its nicknames include the belvedere and ‘ombelico’ (navel). From our breakfast table we could see the Duomo and the octagonal Tower of Federico.

Rooftops of Enna, Tower of Federico in the distance.
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Luggage...going down.
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Our B&B was centrally located, near the belvedere.
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We planned a short day today so we would have time to do some laundry and service the bikes and have a bit of an easier day after our jaunt through the bush yesterday. Before leaving, we visited the duomo (cathedral). It was built in the 14th century and has a baroque facade built of yellow tufa stone. The stunning  interior features Corinthian columns and a beautiful wooden ceiling.

Enna Duomo
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Interior of the Enna Duomo
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Organ, which we did not get to hear.
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Bronze relief on the doors at Enna Duomo.
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Calascibetta, on a hilltop next to Enna as seen from the belvedere in Enna.
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Fountain in the park at the Belvedere
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It was a treat to start today’s ride with a big downhill out of Enna although we couldn’t really free wheel because of all the holes and deformities in the road. The University where Dario finished his degree, is quite new, built in 2002.

View of the ‘back side’ of Enna.
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We were a little gun-shy about the best roads to travel on today so we chose a larger but still lightly travelled highway. The countryside was lush and green with ever present flowers. 

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Today’s terrain was very tame  and it seemed in no time we were heading into Piazza Armerina. Even though it was a major route, SS117 bis was not immune to the slumping that is common here. As usual, they mark the deformity with signs and fencing to warn traffic to drive around it. 

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Piazza Armerina  was buzzing with activity and traffic when we arrived. 

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Piazza Armerina has a rather large church for the size of the town and sits at the top of the hill. The piazza infront of the church was a popular gathering place for all generations. The old men sat on their benches, the old women had their own benches, and they bantered amongst themselves as a group of young boys played a skilled game of soccer.

Piazza Armerina cathedral.
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We had a panini lunch in a square then started searching for our B&B. The street it was on was so tiny, probably 6 ft wide, that we went past it several times before noticing a sign with the name on it.  We were welcomed at the B&B by Innes and shown to our room which was right off the dining room/kitchen. There was space on the balcony of our room to store the bikes, but that meant carrying our bikes around the dining room table. Innes wasn’t phased about it so that’s what we did, being careful not to bump the chairs, walls or doors. After cleaning up, doing some laundry and servicing the bikes, we went for an afternoon/evening stroll, otherwise knows as the passeggiata. We were followed  by a couple of dogs from the church all the way through town to the bar. One of the locals motioned to us that this pair liked tourists. Indeed, they settled down beside us and fell asleep while we had our pre-dinner drink.

One of the two dogs that accompanied us through town.
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We had been invited by Ettore, Innes’ husband, to stay for dinner. He described with great exuberance all that he had prepared for us so we naturally said we would accept his invitation. At 8pm, we sat down for a feast we will never forget. Ettore had owned a restaurant before opening his B&B and he is a true chef. He loves to cook and he loves to feed people. Now, keep in mind we speak no Italian and they spoke no English. So, Ettore invited a dear friend who speaks ‘a leetle eenglish' to join us for dinner. We pulled out the ipad and opened a translate app to help out. On the first attempt, Ettore was so excited he couldn’t stop talking. Eventually he thanked the app with a 'grazie' and ended his sentence. After a moment, the app responded: “I don’t know what you’re saying”. We all had a good laugh and he tried again. It went like this all evening while Ettori and Innes plied us a with a 4 course Sicilian dinner with Nero d’Avola, Marsala, and coffee to finish off. It was a fabulous meal and luckily we only had to waddle a few feet to our room because we were stuffed and our sides ached from all the laughs!

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Today's ride: 32 km (20 miles)
Total: 468 km (291 miles)

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Andrea BrownWe've been reading and enjoying your journal, but we sure know how it is to have bad internet, how frustrating it makes keeping and posting a journal. We look forward to when you are able to resume it, have a fantastic ride in Sicily!
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3 years ago
Anne MathersTo Andrea BrownThanks for your understanding. I will continue writing now that we’re home. I have trouble finding words to adequately describe our adventure. It was simply incredible.
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3 years ago