In the shadow of the Brancifortes: from the land of Tavi to the town of Leonforte
One of feuds that they divided at the foot area of Altesina was the land of Tavi, south-east of the highest mountain in the center of Sicily. The property, belonging to the powerful and illustrious family of the Branciforte, was renowned as a place full of water, so as to allow the construction of mills, from which the noble landowners obtained a great income. According to historical records, a member of the family of the Branciforte, Nicolò Placido, received August 26, 1610 licentiapopulandi that gave the authorization to found a village of the territory of Tavi, in whose area stood already some small dwelling . In 1613, Tavi became the town of Enna, which in 1622 was elevated to the rank of principality. The Branciforte family greatly influenced the structure of the town, whose urban orientation developed an orthogonal layout. It aimed to reconciling a linear distribution of the spaces with the construction of monumental architecture, gave rise to the majestic Palazzo Branciforte, symbol of the power of the noble house. The four floored building, has a massive square structure, lightened by elegant balconies supported by brackets. If, at the bottom, the building is characterized by a doorway decorated with plumes and a mannerist rustication, at the top, the roof is decorated with a perfect battlements.
At the behest of the Branciforte, in 1611, the mother church was founded, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, opened later in ’700. Interesting and of great splendor had to be the complex of fountains and garden in the south west of the city, built around 1651. To represent the magnificence of this plumbing remains today the “Great Source” in Baroque style, in the lower part of which is available twenty-four spouts of water.