Caltagirone and Enna Surprises

Ever heard of Caltagirone? Enna? Neither had I before this trip. They are two places in Italy that Sally put on our itinerary as our next stops, after leaving Modica. I’m so glad she did.

Obviously, neither place is a tourist trap. Sally chose Caltagirone because it is noted for its ceramics and it is on the way to Enna, then ultimately Palermo. The other notable thing about Caltagirone is this 142 step staircase, which prominently displays different examples of those very works of art. At the top of the steps is (what else) a church.

Check out the beautiful ceramics, after you finish checking out the 4 babes

Karen and I made the ascent, which according to my Apple Watch (and my body) was not as challenging as some of our Modica strolls. Despite that, we felt rightfully proud of ourselves.

No, we didn’t go in to the church. Too many additional steps.

En route, we stopped at Villa Romana del Cásale. Mike and I had seen the spectacular mosaics when we visited the villa on our 2017 OAT trip, so I didn’t feel the need to view them again. Instead, I hung out in the plaza, enjoying the view. If you have a deep desire to experience the villa, you can check out my 2017 post:

The day’s biggest surprise was our vacation rental. The VRBO listing indicated there was only one bathroom. Since clearly none of us travels with a plethora of beautification items, like curling irons or make up, we decided we could certainly make do, especially since our stay was only for two nights. (Oh, how very spoiled I’ve become! For several years in my youth, SIX of us shared ONE bathroom.)

The trunk of our car, not including some purses, water bottles and one bag stowed amidst the passengers in the back seat. Good thing we went with “carry on only”

We were pleasantly surprised to find that there were actually THREE bathrooms, and two of the bedrooms should have been described as suites.

Our host, Francesco, and his sister Anna greeted us with wine and homemade cannoli. That was enough to ensure that they would be our friends for life and our dinner guests for our last night in Pergusa.

A warm welcome from a fabulous host

We immediately informed Francesco that he needed to fix the inaccuracies in his VRBO description. Travelers need to know about this spectacular rental in this gorgeous location. From our wrap around deck, we can gaze at the countryside, including Lake Pergusa.

Full disclosure: the drive TO the rental was midway between harrowing and TERRIFYING. We accessed a one way, winding road, complete with potholes and steep uphill climbs. I’ve been less scared on roller coaster rides. Fortunately, Diane has nerves of steel, and once again kept her cool despite not knowing EXACTLY where the rental was located. Did we all kill that bottle of wine as soon as we arrived? Did we need more than one bottle? You betcha.

This gives you an idea of the size of the road.

Because our rental is actually in Pergusa, not Enna, we traveled down that same road to explore the city on yet another hill. May 1 is a national holiday, Italy’s Labor Day, so almost everything was closed. That was great for us—no crowds! No traffic! Available parking! There WAS one tourist bus at the Lombard Castle, but the tourists were all Italian. Guess the locals know about this little gem and have kept it secret and safe from invasion by hoards of Americans.

Some of Enna’s highlights:

Crocheted trees
A beautiful park with a statue of Hades abducting Persephone. For a fun version of the myth, see Hadestown on Broadway, or at least listen to the music
This guy—outside the castle. I have NO idea who he is, but I liked the theme.
And, of course, the castle with the watchtower, if you want to climb to get yet another spectacular view

We didn’t have enough time to tour the castle, climb the watchtower, visit the Museum of Myths, walk the Sacred Path or consume more gelato. But YOU can, if you choose to visit this beautiful mountain town.

We ended our day at a Pergusa pizza place that was clearly a favorite with the locals. We were there early, 7:30. By the time we left, after 10 PM, the place was packed.

The best part, other than the delicious pizza, was getting to know Francesco and Anna, two fascinating people.

I’d never seen a menu with so many different kinds of pizza. Mine was “Norma”, covered with roasted eggplant—delicious!

We leave for Palermo this morning. That scary route to the rental is no longer scary. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Especially with Diane doing all the driving.