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Online travel guide Enna

History of the Province of Enna

The navel of Sicily

Enna looks back on an eventful history. Called the navel of Sicily, the town was for a long time considered to be impregnable due to its location on a ridge. First up were the Romans, who took the town by treachery. Later Enna was the centre of the great slave war against Rome and a bastion against the Arabs and Normans. From the Middle Ages onwards, the town steadily lost in influence and gradually slipped into insignificance.

History of Enna Slave leader Eunus

Enna in ancient times

Even the development of the town name of Enna reflects the history of the town and Sicily. The Greek name Enna was transformed by the Romans to Henna or Castrum Hennae, the Arabs called it Kasr Janna, the Italians Castrogiovanni and finally Mussolini renamed it back to Enna.

Enna was developed into massive fortress by the Siculi, which was considered impregnable and was Hellenised gradually by the allied Greek cities of Gela and Syracuse. The Romans were the first to conquer the town in 258 BC, and did so by treachery. In 136 BC, the great slave war against Rome was waged from Enna – a statue of the slave leader Eunus is still below the fort.

Enna from the Middle Ages until today

Under the Byzantines, Enna was re-established as an important fortress, which was taken after a long siege by the Arabs in 859 AD. The Norman king Roger I populated the town with Lombard compatriots and strengthened the fortress after his victory. The German emperor Frederick II further expanded the fortress. In 1314, Frederick III of Aragon was crowned King of Trinakrien here.

Since the modern era, Enna has increasingly slipped into insignificance. Today Enna is the capital and centre of the homonymous province.

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History of Enna
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