You will find the Erice medieval borgo 750m above sea level, high up on Mt Erice (or Eryx, in ancient Greek). Located on the western coast of Sicily, a trip to Erice will afford you breathtaking views. From here you can enjoy views of Trapani, Punta del Saraceno, Capo San Vito, and even the Aegadian islands.
Upon arriving in Erice, you can easily follow its walls to the right, eventually reaching the Castello di Venere. This castle is said to be built on top of the Ancient temple dedicated to the same Goddess. This is one of the two castle’s Erice offers its visitors, the other being the Castello di Pepoli.
Alternatively, you can lose yourself in the atmospheric medieval streets, catching frequent glimpses of the most stunning views. Don’t worry, though, the borgo is so small that it is impossible to stay lost for long! Another beautiful area to visit whilst in Erice is the Spanish Quarter, which is extremely atmospheric and characteristic.
Whilst in Erice, you must try some of its famous pastries. Available in several ‘pasticcerie’, the ‘genovesi ericine’, ‘mustaccioli’, and ‘frutta martorana’ are a selection of the delicious sweet bites you will find here.
In Erice, you will find history at every corner. The normans named it San Giuliano, however Mussolini chose to rename it, along with several other towns, in order to honor Italy’s Ancient past. Long before this, Erice was famous as a center for the cult of Venus. The Eymians who inhabited Erice claimed to descend from Venus’ famous Trojan son, Aenas (who of course mentions the town in the ‘Aeneid’). More notoriously, Acolytes practiced the ritual of sacred prostitution in Erice’s Temple to Venus.
The easiest way to access Erice is from Trapani, from which you can take a bus. A nicer alternative is the 10-minute cable car, which will offer you the most stunning views down over the valley. For both, we recommend that you check the timetables before your visit. Please note that the cable car is often closed between mid-January to mid-March. Alternatively, there are a few hotels and B&Bs you can check into in Erice itself.