(Note to readers: just noticed that I failed to publish this post, written about Day 3. Sorry it’s so wildly out of chronological order!) At 8 o’clock Saturday morning, we loaded our bikes onto the Andiamo van and drove off to visit two historic sites before launching our bike ride to Cefalu. The historic sites provided a good excuse for us to cut down the mileage of the day’s ride–it would have taken two days to ride bikes from Caltagione to Cefalu, and we had a date with the Giro in Cefalu on Monday.
Villa Romana de Casale was our first stop, a hunting villa of a Roman noble or emperor from 290 AD. It was concealed by a mudslide in the 13th century and rediscovered and excavated by archeologists beginning in the 19th century. The immense power of a Roman noble impressed us, as did the presumed number of slaves needed to build and operate such an opulent estate.
Later in the morning we visited the hilltop fortress of Enna, dating from the Greek epoch, 400 BC. Once again, the stone-cutting, water-sourcing and engineering needed to make such a fortress seemed incredible for a year so early in recorded Western history.