Sperlinga is a comune in the province of Enna, in the central part of the island of Sicily, in southern Italy. It is one of I Borghi più belli d'Italia ("the prettiest villages in Italy").[5]

Comune di Sperlinga
Sperlinga (EN) - Castello.jpg
Location of Sperlinga
Sperlinga is located in Italy
Location of Sperlinga in Italy
Sperlinga is located in Sicily
Sperlinga (Sicily)
Coordinates: 37°46′N 14°21′E / 37.767°N 14.350°E / 37.767; 14.350Coordinates: 37°46′N 14°21′E / 37.767°N 14.350°E / 37.767; 14.350
ProvinceEnna (EN)
 • MayorGiuseppe Cuccì
 • Total59.14 km2 (22.83 sq mi)
750 m (2,460 ft)
 (30 November 2017)[4]
 • Total769
 • Density13/km2 (34/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code0935


Sperlinga is at about 750 m above sea level, on a hill on the southern slopes of the Nebrodi mountains.[2] It has a number of troglodyte dwellings.[2] The village is dominated by a large mediaeval castle, dating from late Norman times.

At the end of 2014 the population was 819 people, in 344 families.[4]


The village is first mentioned (as "Sperlingua") in a privilege of the Norman Count Roger from 1082.[6]:542 The first information on the castle is from 1113, and the earliest direct reference to it from 1239.[7]

Sperlinga reputedly did not participate in the Sicilian Vespers, the bloody uprising against the Angevin French rulers of Sicily in 1282, and may have offered them protection. An inscription over a door of the castle formerly read quod Siculis placuit sola Sperlinga negavit,[7] or roughly "what pleased the Sicilians, only Sperlinga denied".

From about 1360 Sperlinga was held by the Ventimiglia family.[6]:542 In 1597 it was sold for 30,834 ounces of gold to Giovanni Natoli,[6]:542 who was granted a licentia populandi or "licence to populate" by the king of Sicily, Philip II of Spain,[7] and was made Prince of Sperlinga in 1627.[6]:542 His son Francesco sold Sperlinga in 1656 to Giovanni Stefano Oneto, but retained the princely title. Oneto was made Duke of Sperlinga in 1666 by Charles II of Spain.[6]:542

During the Allied invasion of Sicily, in the Second World War, Allied forces under General Allen, including American infantry and tank units and Moroccan Goumiers, moved past Sperlinga to envelop Nicosia, a few kilometres to the south. They met strong resistance. After a show of force by American tanks, the Axis forces withdrew from Sperlinga and Nicosia during the night of 27 July 1943. Units of the American 16th Infantry Regiment entered Sperlinga the next morning.[8]


The principal economic activities of Sperlinga are agriculture and animal husbandry.[2]


  1. ^ "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Istat. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Sperlinga (in Italian). Enciclopedie on line. Rome: Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana. Accessed October 2015.
  3. ^ "Popolazione Residente al 1° Gennaio 2018". Istat. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b Bilancio demografico anno 2014 e popolazione residente al 31 dicembre: Comune: Sperlinga (in Italian). Rome: ISTAT. Accessed October 2015.
  5. ^ I borghi: sud & isole (in Italian). I borghi più belli d'Italia. Accessed October 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d e Vito Maria Amico, Gioacchino Di Marzo (translator) (1858). Dizionario topografico della Sicilia (in Italian). Palermo: Pietro Morvillo.
  7. ^ a b c Nicola Leone (2010). Siculo-Norman art Islamic culture in medieval Sicily. Vienna: Museum With No Frontiers (Museum Ohne Grenzen). ISBN 9783902782052. (unpaginated).
  8. ^ Garland and Smith, "Chapter XVI The Drive to the East", Sicily and the Surrender of Italy, US Army in World War II, p. 314

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