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Morgantina & Aidone

The environs of Enna have been dealt the most striking landscapes man and mother nature could conjure, and almost every village affords a view. This fertile area was the breadbasket of Rome, and wheat-growing predominates still. Consequently any drive through the hills is a pleasure as you negotiate the numerous twists and bends to be met with yet another striking panorama, and marvel at how every tiny patch of land is cultivated. After harvest time in late summer, the mustard, pale yellow, burnt apricot, and sage green colors of the fields striated with dark brown lines make this a painter and photographer's dream. Such is the area's beauty, it's sometimes hard to concentrate at the wheel, and there's a constant temptation to stop on a perilous curve to take snaps.

The countryside is steeped in mythological, agricultural, and regal connotations, and what are now sleepy villages were once the homes of the ancient gods and hideaways of kings. While all the surrounding towns are enticing and merit a visit, if you are pressed for time and can only make one side trip from Enna then make it the adjacent cities of Morgantina and Aidone.

Morgantina's archaeological site was a once-powerful Siceliot (Sicilian Greek) city state that occupied a vast area (more than 20 hectares/51 acres) and is a testament of the power of this ally of Syracuse. Your first stop should be at Morgantina, and then return to the modern town of Aidone, where many of the artifacts found at the site are displayed in the archaeological museum.

Getting There -- Although the SAIS bus (tel. 800-211020; www.saisautolinee.it) runs buses twice daily at 2pm and 6pm from Enna at a cost of 3.90€ one way, or 6.10€ return, there is no return bus until the next day. If you're driving from Enna, proceed southbound along state road SS117-bis and follow the directions to Contrada Ciappino; from here, make a left on provincial road 228 and follow the signpostings to Aidone. To Morgantina, continue along the 228 from Aidone.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.