«E l’altro monte, e l’altro monte ei vede,
l’Erice azzurro, solo tra il mare e il cielo
divinamente apparito, la vetta
annunziatrice della Sicilia bella!»
– Gabriele D’Annunzio
This is how the famous Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio describes Erice: high mountains, the blue sky, the sea. Sicilian Secrets makes you discover this town in the province of Trapani. An ancient history mixed with legend. Are you ready? Read more!
Once upon a time, after the war of Troy, the Trojan exiles found the perfect place to live in the Mediterranean…
The ancient Greek name of Erice was Eryx, who was the son of Aphrodite and Butes. Eryx was an excellent boxer but died when Heracles beat him in a match.
But this is just mythology, because technically this town wasn’t a Greek colony but after the Phoenicians founded it, was strongly Hellenized. It was destroyed by the Carthaginians, then ruled by the Arabs and conquered by the Normans who renamed the city Monte San Giuliano.
Erice, the city of the two castles
Erice is also known as the city of the two castles. Once you get there, don’t miss the remains of the ancient walls and the castles of course. Venus Castle was built on the former Temple of Venus founded by Aeneas (so many legends!) and dates back to the Norman period. It was strongly related to the cult of Venus, and when in the Middle Ages the Normans built the fortress, they used some parts of the old sanctuary.
Pepoli Castle (aka Castello del Balio), on the contrary, dates back to the Saracen era. The towers represent the strongest proof of the past of Erice, this area is surrounded by a beautiful garden that enchants whoever loves the nature. Once you get on the top, open your eyes and enjoy the astonishing panorama.
Not only castles, in the past the town was also known as the city with one-hundred churches. Nowadays most of them are open and still used for the service. The Real Chiesa Madrice Insigne Collegiata (Duomo di Erice) must be in your bucket list. It’s the main religious building of the city and is characterized by a long history and a peculiar architecture.
Another church you cannot miss is the Chiesa di San Giuliano. This Saint is very important for the population of Erice, moreover this church hosts some precious artworks such as the wooden crucified Christ by Matteo Gebbia (1650) and the Madonna di Custonaci (XVII century).
Erice is tasty!
At end of the day, after a long walk up and down in the mountains it’s time for something tasty! Erice is famous for pastries that you have to try, above all the so-called bocconcini di Erice made of marzipan and jam, the Genovese alla crema and the mustaccioli, some cookies made with an old recipe in an ex nunnery.
Are you curious to know more? Well, pack and come to Sicily…Sicilian Secrets and Dimensione Sicilia have many news for you!