THE TOWERS OF ST. THOMAS AND OF THE CARMINE IN ENNA (SICILY)

According to the illustrious historian Paolo Vetri (1826-1891), Saint Elijah the Younger, who was born and lived in Enna in the ninth century AD and led the resistance against the Arabs, built both the Tower of St. Thomas and that of the Carmine. Indeed, their shape is similar. They dominate two picturesque squares.

Probably, Paolo Vetri wrote this way because he was influenced by the popular legend that linked the Tower of the Carmine to Saint Elijah the Younger.

Legend says that on moonlit nights some people saw the ghost of its builder, St. Elijah the Younger, wandering near the tower. Is the legend true?

I can only say that a few years ago the renovation works of the Church of the Carmine and the adjoining tower began. While the church was restored immediately and smoothly, the works in the tower suffered a setback. The builders did not finish their job and left the scaffolding, the pulleys and everything there. The mystery of the ghost of the builder of the tower, Saint Elijah the Younger, remains!

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

FRANCESCO PAOLO NEGLIA, A GREAT SICILIAN

Francesco Paolo Neglia was a musician and a composer. He was born in Enna, in 1874. Due to his passion for music, he moved to Hamburg, Germany, where he founded a music academy that was successful.

In Lugano, Switzerland, and in Istria, which at the time was an Italian territory, he founded two music high schools, also successful.

He also wrote the opera Zelia.

He proved that music is a universal language. Even though he was born in a small city, he stood out in Europe for his musical talent.

Every year, the city of Enna organizes an international music contest named after Francesco Paolo Neglia.

Music is an archetype in Enna. Many families want their children to learn music.

I did not escape the archetype, and at the age of sixty-three, I learned to play the piano.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

EXHIBITION OF NATIVITY SCENES IN ENNA (SICILY)

It is said that St. Francis of Assisi gave birth to the tradition of the nativity scene.

In the past, in Sicily, almost all families used to make a nativity scene at home for Christmas. They then gathered around it and said the rosary. The Christmas tree and Santa Claus do not belong to Sicilian culture and tradition, for they have been adopted in Sicily in recent times.

The most beautiful nativity scenes are those in Caltagirone, a city in the province of Catania; but the living nativity scene of Sutera, a town in the province of Caltanissetta, is also worth mentioning.

These days in Enna, there is an exhibition of nativity scenes from all over Sicily. They are all beautiful, but if I were a member of the jury, I would award the first prize to the smallest one, for its originality. The artist made five nativity scenes using a coal-fired iron, a charcoal warmer, an oil lamp, a small wine barrel and even a water jug. After all, to be a true artist you do not need to create big, impressive things. You just have to be original!

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE CAVE OF THE SAINTS IN ENNA (SICILY)

The Cave of the Saints is located at the beginning of The Via Sacra (The Sacred Way), the path that pilgrims from all walks of life used to walk to visit the main temple of Demeter in Sicily, on the Enna plateau, although nobody knows the exact location of the temple.

In not distant times, the cave was used as a stable. It was probably all frescoed, but only those on the left are still visible. Paradoxically, it seems that the layer of dust over the frescoes has preserved them.

The frescoes, according to some historians, date back to the year 1000. Actually, they seem to be of Norman-Byzantine style, but the main issue is to make out the reason why the artist painted these beautiful frescoes on the walls of an isolated and remote cave.

To solve the mystery, it is necessary to know that the people of the past were loath to destroy the temples of the indigenous gods; instead, they preferred to reconvert them.  Therefore, it is likely that The Cave of the Saints was a place of worship for pilgrims who went on pilgrimage to the temple of Demeter. Later, it was converted into a place of Christian worship by the unknown author of the frescoes who somehow wanted to preserve the sacredness of the place.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

A DEVOTIONAL SICILIAN CAKE: I CUDDUREDDI

Visiting Enna without seeing the Sanctuary of Papardura is like visiting Palermo without seeing Monreale. It is a unique place. No tour guide can skip it.

On September 13 and 14, there is a special festival. Both gates to the sanctuary are open and the faithful make special devotional cakes called cuddureddi. They are made of water and flower and have a special shape, for they look like intertwined rings. They are also hard to eat.

The cuddureddi date back to Demeter’s time. Once people decorated them with poppy seeds. These days they are plain, for the poppy was too reminiscent of the pagan goddess Demeter to whom it was sacred.

Inside the church, above the altar, is the holy image of Jesus on the Calvary, imprinted on the rock. Both the altar and the church are a continuation of the cave where long ago the holy image was found.

According to a historian from Enna, called Father Giovanni, in the year 1659 Jesus appeared to a Franciscan nun and asked her to clean a cave in Papardura because there was his image on the rock. The cave was cleaned and actually, the image of Jesus appeared.

Apart from its sacredness, the place deserves to be visited for its beauty and for the landscape in which it is inserted.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

IMPORTANT DISCOVERY BY THE SCOUTS OF ENNA (SICILY)

The girls and boys of the Enna Scout group Agesci 1 fully deserve to be called Scouts, for they have explored the slopes of Enna from a height of one thousand meters to the bottom of the valley and have brought to light the ancient “Via Sacra” (The Sacred Way), which is the old sacred way that, before Christianity, pilgrims walked to visit the temple of Demeter.

Man has always believed that the Deity lived either in the sky or on top of some mountain. Think of Mount Olympus, for example. It was natural that the temple of Demeter was located in a mountain, in Enna.

Demeter was the goddess of the crops and was invoked to have a good harvest. It is said that during time of famine, even the Senate of Rome used to send a delegation to Enna to propitiate the goddess.

Along the Sacred Way there were sacred shrines and also small cisterns of water for purification rites. This is now visible and can be visited thanks to the Scouts of Enna that had brought to light this archaeological treasure.

I thank Sir Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout movement, because thanks to his initiative, boys and girls can grow up in accordance with the universal principles of love for nature, research, and above all friendship.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE SANCTUARY OF THE HOLY CRUCIFIX OF PAPARDURA IN ENNA (SICILY)

For a place to have the title of “Sanctuary”, it must be surrounded by an air of legend about the discovery of a sacred object or a miracle that happened there, and of course it is necessary that people feel the sacredness of the place and make pilgrimages.

The Sanctuary of Papardura, deserves this title.

It is said that towards the middle of the seventeenth century some peasants who lived in the fields around Enna saw a light on the top of the Papardura cave at night. They set out for the cave but when they arrived, the light disappeared.

It is also said that in the year 1659, a Franciscan nun had the vision of Jesus crucified who asked her to have the cave of Papardura cleaned because there was his effigy inside. The cave was cleaned up and the image found. Then, a church was built in front of the cave.

Miracles took place there, as evidenced by the items that pilgrims left in thanksgiving for the graces they had received.

On 12 September, the day of the feast of the Crucifix of Papardura, the administrators of the sanctuary distribute special sweets, called “Cuddureddi”, to the visitors. They date back to the time of the Goddess Demeter. The only difference is that the “Cuddureddi” are no longer garnished with poppy seeds, a flower that was sacred to Demeter. After all, the religious spirit remains unchanged, from the pagan era to the present day!

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE ORIGIN OF THE ITALIAN LANGUAGE

There is no doubt that the Italian language was born in Sicily in the thirteenth century at the time of the Sicilian School of poetry whose main exponent was Iacopo da Lentini, the inventor of the sonnet.

A sonnet is a poem made up of fourteen rhyming lines: two quatrains and two triplets.

With the permission of Iacopo da Lentini, I dare to translate one of his sonnets into English. Of course, there are no rhymes in the English version. I hope Iacopo da Lentini will forgive me for my amateur translation.

AMOR E’ UNO DESIO CHE VEN DA CORE

Amore è uno desio che ven da core

Per abbondanza di gran piacimento;

E li occhi in prima generan l’amore

E lo core li dà nutricamento

Ben è alcuna fiata om amatore

Senza vedere so ‘namoramento

Ma quell’amor che stringe con furore

Da la vista de li occhi ha nascimento:

Ché li occhi rappresentan a lo core

D’ogni cosa che veden bono  e rio

Com’è formata naturalmente;

E lo cor, che di zo è concepitore,

Imagina, e li piace quel desio:

E questo amore regna fra la gente.

LOVE IS A DESIRE THAT COMES FROM THE HEART

Love is a desire that comes from the heart

Because of abundance of pleasure;

The eyes first generate love

And then, the heart nourishes it.

It is possible that sometimes a man loves

Without seeing the loved one,

But that love that grabs him with fury

Comes from the sight of the eyes:

Because the eyes show to the heart

The good and evil of everything

As it is naturally made of;

And the heart that receives the message (of the eyes)

Dreams and enjoys that desire:

And this is human love.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE SECRET UNDERGROUND PASSAGE UNDER THE TOWER OF FREDERICK II OF SWABIA

Under the tower of Frederick II of Swabia, in Enna, Sicily, there is an underground passage that no one knows where it leads or where it ends.

Some people from my hometown of Enna claim that the underground passage was used to connect the tower to the Castle of Lombardy, which was also built by Frederick II and is at least a kilometer away. However, there is no evidence of this. It might just be town talk.

The fact is that nobody ever dared to walk through the underground passage. Where could it lead?

The answer is just one: the Tower of Frederic II of Swabia in Enna is shrouded in mystery, like Castel Del Monte in Puglia. Both were built by Frederick II of Swabia on an octagonal plan and had no military function. It is said that Castel Del Monte is a huge safe to enclose a legendary object: the Holy Grail. Could the underground passage under the Tower of Frederick II of Swabia in Enna also hide something?

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

SICILY, ITALY, AND THE WORLD

If someone asked me today, “Since you were born in Sicily, do you feel more Italian or more Sicilian?” I would reply, “My country is the world. My hometown is the place where I am at the moment. In other words, if I am in New York, my hometown is New York, if I am in Moscow, my hometown is Moscow, if I am in Addis Ababa, my hometown is Addis Ababa, if I am in Seoul my hometown is Seoul, and so on.”

“How about human races?” he would ask.

I would answer,” There is an invisible thread on Earth that links all people who have the same spiritual feelings, regardless of their race or skin color. They belong to the same spiritual race. The real races are not physical but spiritual, and you can feel it clearly whenever you have the chance to come across someone with similar feelings and nature.”

“You are just a dreamer!” he would say.

I would reply, “If you keep dreaming, sooner or later your dreams will come true.”

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo