Erice in Sicily© Bernhard J. Scheuvens / Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 2.5]

Erice - a historic town

Erice is a historic town situated on the mountain of the same name in the Trapani province. It was the most significant Elymian settlement, a pre-Greek Sicilian ethnicity. The town became a Punic citadel between the 6th and 3rd centuries and fell to the Romans in 241 B.C.

The basic outline of the town is that of a triangle, which probably goes back to an Aphroditic cult. Make sure that you do not miss out on the spectacular views of the sea and surrounding coastal areas and islands. A view is however not guaranteed since Erice is often lost in swirls of mist and cloud. The locals call these clouds "Kisses of Venus".

The town is surrounded by the last remnants of Elymian and Phonecian city walls and important buildings include the 14th century Duomo dell’Assunta, the town hall and churches of various epochs. Erice is also home to two castles – Pepoli Castle and the Venus Castle. The latter was built in Norman times on the site of the former Venus Temple, a celebrated site in ancient times, rumoured to have been founded by Aeneas.

The historical centre of Erice is well-kept and you will definitely feel the medieval ambiance. The streets are narrow and beautifully paved with a unique pattern of shiny stones in various sized. There are only about 300 residents, but the town is still busy during summer due to the many tourists coming to town. Erice is known for its delicious almond biscuits and pastries, which can be bought in one of the many pasticcerie, Italian for pastry shops.

An interesting way to reach Erice is by the cable car from just outside Trapani that runs in the spring and summer months. The ride takes about 10 minutes and there is a breath-taking panoramic, with views over the sea, Trapani and the Egadi islands.

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