X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Features

Notes on…Sicily

7 September 2013

9:00 AM

7 September 2013

9:00 AM

It could be, in Sicily, there comes a time when you’ve had your fill of seaside calamari and cheap white wine. The sheer thrill of lying on a beach without goose-bumps never really fades, but by day four you may need a break from all the nakedness: Italians blackening in rows like sausages, or Brits, more lumpen, clumped in ones and twos, turning pink.

If you can bring yourself to turn your back on the Med, it’s well worth it. From Palermo, take the coastal road, then turn right, inland on the A19 towards Catania. Or drive south on the world’s most surprising motorway, which leaps right over Monreale and lands on the cliffs above. Head south-east and soon the countryside will flatten into hills and plains of durum wheat baked yellow, waiting for harvest.

Nothing about inland Sicily feels truly Italian. There’s not enough bustle and chatter. Unmoving hawks fix in the gelatinous air, the sun seems motionless above the road. Old men in black stand by their mules and stare as the car goes by.

As you reach the very centre of the country, equidistant from each coast, the horizon rises up into a shallow chain of mountains and a small city appears on a hilltop plateau overlooking the valley. This is Enna, the highest regional capital in Italy, also known as Belvedere, beautiful view or ‘l’ombelico’, the ‘navel’ of Sicily.

[Alt-Text]


Enna’s like something out of a fairytale — the old sort where things don’t necessarily end as you would wish. Cliffs drop away from the town on either side and a visitor who begins the steep approach feels a little watched. As you enter town you’ll notice the few tourists behave differently, more respectfully. And if they appear to be running for their lives, then it’s likely to be the festival of Maria Santissime della Visitazione, when local farmers process through the streets covered in white sheets, peering through rough-cut eyeholes, carrying staves carved with grinning skulls.

Once you’ve found a hotel, there’s a -castle to visit, and a tower to climb, from which, says the Enna tourist board, you can ‘admire the wonderful views on two thirds of Sicily and green, happy hills in north and west’.

But the following day you should set aside the afternoon for lunch.

Ennese cuisine bears the imprint of all Sicily’s different overlords: Greeks, Romans, Normans, Arab. Couscous, almonds, fennel, lamb, eucalyptus honey, saffron, rice.

Grain from Enna is sent all over Italy to make pasta, but the sauces are  denser here and more intense. After your starter, pick a pasta with aubergine and Enna’s regional cheese, piacentinu, made from sheep’s milk and flavored with saffron. Sausages next, with fennel and fava beans, and then at least a taste of torta povera, a bread pudding made with bread, milk, honey, nuts, raisins, butter and eggs.

In the evening, drag your bloated body for a potter over to the gates of Hell, said by the Romans to be found in Lake Pergusa, and give thanks that you don’t have to strip off for the beach tomorrow.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. click here.


Show comments
Close