Sicily is an island where you can get lost in art cities, archaeological sites, amazing landscapes. And then, you can go from the peaks of Etna covered with snow to the blue waves of the sea, on the coast from which you can see some legendary archipelagos. You can enjoy the most hidden towns; they are small gems located in these unique corners of the world. Welcome to the villages in Sicily, so secret that you will want to reveal them to everyone!
Our journey has started from the south of Sicily, now it continues towards some other villages in Sicily: Erice and Sperlinga. Let’s pack…gooo!
Erice, a village with a view
Here is a mythological…name! Eryx, this is the origin of Erice (in the province of Trapani), he was the son of Aphrodite and Bute, then killed by Heracles.
«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!»
This is how Gabriele D’Annunzio describes it, its origins are lost in time, shrouded in the charm of legend. Virgil mentions this city in the Aeneid as a land that his hero visited twice, for the Romans it was a holy place where Venus Erycina, the first goddess of the Roman pantheon, very similar to the Greek Aphrodite, was venerated.
Nowadays Erice is a true attraction for tourists who fall in love with this village thanks to its uniqueness. The alleys invite you to discover more and more, you can go up and down to see the secrets of these magical corners and observe some unexpected panoramas. Views of the sea, breathtaking sunsets.
Then there are the medieval architectures, such as the church of San Martino, built by Roger the Norman and decorated with frescoes and majolica, and the Cathedral of Erice, built during the 14th century by Frederick of Aragon, that is located in Piazza Matrice and shows off its Gothic style and the majestic Bell Tower.
Erice and the icons
What do you have to put into your bucket list? This village offers many unmissable gems but there are ‘3 unmissable things’ you have to keep in mind: these are true icons.
First of all, don’t miss the Castle of Venus built between the 12th and 13th centuries on the remains of a temple dedicated to the goddess. It is located on the cliff, and in the past, its strategic position contributed to its defensive function. From that spot, you can admire the Aegadian Islands, San Vito lo Capo and, if the sky is clear, even Ustica!
And if you want to satisfy your palate too, here is another tidbit: taste the famous genovesi with cream. These are some shortcrust pastries sprinkled with powdered sugar, a genuine specialty of Erice.
And finally, you can’t miss riding the cable car: since 2005, the summit of Mount Erice can be reached in 10 minutes from Trapani…this time, you are allowed to have your head in the clouds!
Sperlinga, welcome to Lombard Sicily
Among the villages in Sicily, this is one of the most particular. Why? Here, people speak a Gallo-Italic dialect used by the Lombard populations who lived in this area many centuries ago. Welcome to Sperrënga, that is Sperlinga, in the province of Enna.
This village belongs to the area of the so-called Lombard Sicily and is a sort of ‘living history book’. The medieval heritage is visible in the Sperlinga Castle, a rare example of a rock castle, partly excavated in the rock and probably dating back to the period prior to the pre-Greek Sicilians (7th-8th century BC), partly built on the same rock, around 1080.
Moreover, if you look at more recent times, we cannot forget about the famous photographer Robert Capa. In the zone of Capostrà, he took the photo that has become the symbol of the Allied invasion of Sicily, the one published in Life, in which an American soldier listens to the advice of a Sicilian farmer.
Save the date
Save the date, here is an event you cannot miss: enjoy the Election of the Lady of the Castles and the Tortone Festival. Let’s meet in Sperlinga on August 16th, when this mega event takes place in the open space in front of the castle. Historical re-enactments are organized, people challenge each other in several games and obviously the winner is named after the title of Castellan of Sperlinga. She is accompanied by the other Ladies of the Gallo-Italic countries and participates in the historical parade with many other characters along the streets of the town.
Even gourmands won’t be disappointed; they can taste typical food that is an expression of the most genuine culinary tradition. Tortone is the centerpiece, it is a fried local dessert sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. Enjoy!