On the top of Mount San Giuliano, among the silent clouds lies the town of Erice, overlooking Trapani from a superb scenic location. It is a singular synthesis of myth and history, art and culture, landscape and environment, fantasy and reality. Its origins are very old, it would seem to have been founded by the mythical Erice, the son of Venus and Butex, who became king of Elyms, an ancient mountain people who settled the nearby Segesta. Erice is a town of exceptional historical and artistic interest. Its chief features are its paved streets, its particular town planning, created by the practical needs of the population who had to live in a narrow triangular shaped sloping territory. Its torturous narrow streets, its even narrower alleys (so narrow that only one man at a time can pass through), had to protect the town from strong winds and from its enemies.
Erice was inhabited by the Elymians, who erected a temple dedicated to the worship of the goodness of fecundity and love. Successive invaders used this building to adore their own divinities: Tanit-
The town is surrounded by cyclopean walls of Elymian origin (8th century BC), at whose corners stands the Norman castle, the Spanish quarter and the cathedral (dated 1314), which has maintained its original 12th century Gothic style in the bell tower and the delicate mullioned windows.
In Erice there are more than 60 churches, including those of San Martino, San Cataldo, San Giuliano and San Giovanni Battista, which every summer resound with medieval music.
The Cordici Museum in Piazza Umberto I is well worth a visit: in the hall there is a painting by Antonello Gagini, the “Annunciation”.
Erice has fully maintained the fascinating atmosphere of an old medieval village, with its narrow cobbled streets, the small squares, the tiny flower-
The Boundary Walls & Medieval Gates
The boundary walls defended the town in the north-
The Duomo & the Bell-
In front of Porta Trapani, an imposing bell-
The Duomo was built in 1314, principally using stones taken from the ancient Temple of Venus. The façade is graced with a fine rose-
The Norman castle is situated on an isolated cliff and it was built between 12th and 13th century, right on the remains of an ancient sanctuary dedicated to the goddess. In ancient times the castle was connected to the lower floor of the towers by a drawbridge, then substituted by the flight of steps. In the main portal there is the coat of arms belonging to the Habsburgs of Spain. It witnesses the later Spanish domination.
Opening hours: January 1st -
Last Sunday of March -
June 1st to July 14th / every day 10:00 to 19:00
July 15th -
September 15th -
Last Sunday of October to December 31st / weekdays phone booking; Saturday and holydays from 10:00 to 16:00
Info: 366 6712832
Balio Towers and Balio Garden
The towers were originally Norman, characterised by strong turreted walls but were partially rebuilt between 1875 and 1885 by Count Agostino Pepoli, a famous Trapani’s patron. The towers are accessible from the 18th century English style garden, known as the Balio Garden, which extends over much of the area of the antique acropolis.
The Spanish quarter stands on a cape facing the Monte Cofano . It’s a massive, square construction destined for the Spanish troops (XVII century), and never finished.
Erice: enchanting medieval village
Area: 47 km²
Elevation: 751 m
Population: 28 880
Population name: Ericini
Dialling code: 0923
Zip Code: 91016
Geographic Location: North-
Saint Patron: Maria SS. di Custonaci
The Festival of Medieval and Renaissance Music, a week-
The celebration culminates with the arrival of the portrait of the Madonna made in the 15th century and usually kept inside the sanctuary with the same name, which was built by sailors saved by her from a shipwreck.
FLAVOURS AND AROMAS
HOW TO REACH
By car: A29 Palermo-
By funicular: the best way is to take funicular from Trapani (10min). You can travel via the station in the Casa Santa valley.
By bus: a regular AST bus service to/from Trapani – Erice (bus station -
By plane: the nearest airport is Trapani-
Location: Via Tommaso Guarrasi 1
Info: 0923 869388
Opening hours: Monday -
San Giuliano Church
It was built in 1070 and named in honour of San Giuliano who the Normans gave a merit for the victory against the Muslims who had conquered the citadel.
San Cataldo Church
The church is named in honour of some Irish saint whose cult was brought in Erice, together with that of San Giuliano, by Normans. Inside it holds fine works of art.
San Giovanni Battista Church
Like many other churches of Erice, it was built in Gothic style. This church has existed since 1339, but during the centuries it has gone through many changes and enlargements. Inside there are works from 15th and 16th centuries, like a sculpture depicting San Giovanni Evangelista by Antonino Gagini and a statue of San Giovanni Battista, a work by Antonello Gagini.
San Martino Church
The first church of the Norman period. It was demolished and enlarged in 1682. Over the centuries further renovations were made and today it a distinct Baroque-
Antonio Cordici Civic Museum
The Antonio Cordici Civic Museum contains archaeological finds from different Elymian-
Location: Piazza Umberto I
Opening hours: Monday-
Ticket: free entrance
Special Thank You for the text to the Erice Tourism Office