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Virtual Italy Tour of Erice

Overview of Erice

The historic town of Erice is one of the greatest treasures of the island of Sicily in Italy. This town, which sits right on top of Mount Erice, was once called Eryx, which is actually the Greek version of the town’s name. It has never been, however, a Greek colony since it was the Phoenicians that established this mountaintop habitat. Until 1934, the town had a different name due to the Norman occupation that had it carrying the name Monte San Giuliano. It has since reverted to Erice, which is pronounced EH-richay.

The Streets of Erice

The Streets of Erice

This historic city should always be part of any tour of this part of Italy since it gives visitors a unique glimpse of the surrounding waters near the northwestern end of Sicily and the city of Trapani below. You can also see neighboring towns from here and across the Tyrrhenian Sea, the island of Sardinia. This mountain town is a great place to visit if you are into old structures, history, and panoramic mountain views.

Where to Go and What to See

When you get to the base of Mount Erice, you have the choice to hike, drive up to the mountaintop town, ride a bus, or to ride the cable car going up. The best option would be to park your car near the cable car station and to take this unique scenic and less stressful mode of transportation up to this historic mountain town. Once there, you will find quite a few places for you to check out, and these include the following:

Castello di Venere – This Norman castle was built on top of the ancient Temple of Venus, hence the name The Venus Castle. In the old days, before the Norman occupation, the temple underneath the castle was used by people to worship Venus Ericina. It was said that in ancient times, animals that were chosen as sacrificial offerings would actually walk to the altar themselves to be killed.

Duomo – The Cathedral of Erice is another tourist attraction that you should not miss seeing when you get here. Built in 1312, this cathedral has a neo-Gothic style that was added into its ancient design in the late 1800s. There are three other churches in Erice that you should also visit, but it is best if you check out the cathedral first before you head over to Chiesa San Giuliano, Chiesa San Giovanni, and Chiesa San Martino. This is because the purchase of a ticket to view the cathedral also gives you access to these three other religious buildings.

What to Do

Aside from enjoying the marvelous views of the surrounding areas below this mountaintop town and visiting castles as well as churches, there are a few other interesting things you can do while you are here:

Almond Biscuits

Almond Biscuits

Enjoy Genovesi Ericine at a Pasticcerie – One of the things that this town is very proud of is its famous pastries and biscuits. One such pastry that you should definitely try while you are here is the Genovesi Ericine, which is a Sicilian pastry that is filled with a lemon flavored custard and topped with a heavy sprinkling of powdered sugar. Also worth trying (and buying to take home) are the almond biscuits, marzipan, and other specialty pastries that can be found here.

Walk the Cobblestoned Streets of Vicolo di Erice – Constructed during a period of Spanish rule, the Spanish neighborhood of Erice offers you a fascinating view into what life was like in those days. Aside from the steep, stony streets, you also see blockhouses made out of stone rising above you on each side, its walls still standing solidly yet quietly as a testament to the town’s unique past.

These are just a few of the things that you can expect with a visit to this mountaintop tourist attraction. A visit to Mount Erice and the town of Erice should always be part of your list of things to see and do in Sicily, and can be part of a trip that includes a trip to Agrigento, which is also on the island of Sicily.