Erice guide - Erice travel guide - Erice city guide - Italy travel Erice

Author: cercamon

Erice, Italy

Erice is the best-known city of this edge of Sicily, and with good reason. Located in a panoramic position 750 feet above sea level, Erice preserves whole all the fascination of an ancient medieval village, with little piazzas, winding streets, gorgeous flowering courtyards and more than 60 small churches.
The view from here can span over all of eastern Sicily, over Trapani, Marsala, and the Egadi Islands.

Erice was founded in the 7th century b.C. by the Elymians, who erected the temple dedicated to the worship of their fertility goddess. Afterward, the Greek worshipped Aphrodite and Roman Venus. On the ruins of the Temple stands today the Castle of Venus, from the Norman times.

The historical center is surrounded by Cyclopean walls of Punic origin (6th century b.C.). The Normans opened up three ports (Trapani, Carmine, and Spada). Entering through the port of Trapani, one comes upon the Duomo (cathedral), erected in the 14th century in Gothic style. The isolated belltower served also as a lookout tower for defense of the city. The inside was rebuilt in the 19th century in Neogothic style.

Southeast of the inhabited areas, above an elusive rock from where the Temple of Venus arises, the Normans erected the grandiose Castle of Venus, an impregnable fortress in defense of the city, sometime between the 12th and 14th centuries. Some towers and walls still remain from this castle. To the left of the Norman castle rises the Castle of Balio (the governor), constructed by Count Pepoli in the 1800's and the medieval Norman towers, restored by the Count during the same period.

Every summer Erice hosts the famous Week of Medieval and Renaissance Music, which attracts internationally famous artists and a great many fans.

Photos are courtesy of: APT Trapani


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