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Trip Overview
Part 1: Palermo
Part 2: More Palermo
Part 3: Segesta and Trapani
Part 4: The Greeks and Longi
Part 5: Gangi
Part 6: Siracusa and Modica
Part 7: Enna
Part 8: Mondello and Rome

Sicily Part 7

Enna, Sicily's belly button, for Easter

Enna's Good Friday and Easter

I chose Enna because of the pictures I’d seen of their Good Friday procession (La processione del venerdì santo). I knew the smallish city was in central Sicily, but that was about it. We arrived from Modica as they were closing down the streets for the festivities. Soon people began milling around, waiting. The celebration finally began around six o’clock with the appearance of the first of sixteen confraternities carrying the opine and bloody Jesus statue. As I squeezed in with the people of Enna, what struck was the make-up of the Ennese. I can’t remember any place (in Italy or elsewhere) where the distribution from young to old is so even. And this entire spectrum stood for hours, watching, talking, and watching some more. They went silent each time Jesus or the Madonna appeared. Instead of the wild energy of Gangi with the drums and the surge through its small streets, and despite the two bands and a chorus, Enna’s procession felt serious—but not somber.

Enna was back at it on Easter. Late in the day, the confraternities appeared again, this time two of them bringing together a resurrected Jesus with a different Madonna in front of the Duomo. Everyone followed the procession inside the church. Half left before the service, another half stayed on. Amazingly, another of Enna’s churches would host another procession with statues the following Saturday, making Enna’s Settimana Santa (Holy Week) more like holy month. I was surprised by the people’s faith.

Jeff and I used to gaze with envy as Italians navigated meals at tables adjacent to ours. While we had delicious food, the Italians knew how to order simpler, lighter versions of what we were getting. Often times they got a platter of cured meats and grilled vegetables while we were served a fancy dish with similar ingredients. We’ve gotten better and better at ordering food, which is combination of my language skills and Jeff’s understand of the dining etiquette. Other than my stumble over the "Russian" menu in Modica, we've made few mistakes in Sicily.

Until Enna. We walked into an osteria that Chef Jeff had sensed had the "vibe." When we opened the handwritten menu and couldn't read it, I thought, no way am I going to be fooled by this Sicilian language thing again. Using the first few letters of each word, we deciphered familiar choices—until we came to a “secondi" or main course written as “vitello of elf.” That turned out to be vitello dello chef (veal cooked however the chef wants to prepare it). I quickly understood what had tripped me up. The cursive script that Italians learn is curlier than the American version and the person who'd handwritten our menu had a serious case of the curly. We'd discerned proscuuuuuuto= prosciutto, formajjjjjgjgjjgjo = formaggio, etc. But “dello chef” just looked like di elf—which Jeff ordered!

The last time I was this cold, I was skiing in the Sierras. Tonight it’s 8C not counting the wind.