A giddy 750m above sea level, Erice is today best known for its two castles, its spectacular views and its strong pastry-making tradition!
Situated on Sicily’s west coast, the historic town looks down over the harbour of Trapani, surrounded by defensive town walls. Its strong fortified position is partly responsible for a stream of invaders, from its likely foundation by the Elymians, through to the Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs and Normans.
The town’s two castles, the Arab Pepoli Castle and the Norman Venus Castle, are the most visited sites in the town. Venus Castle is said to have been built on the site of the ancient Temple of Venus, founded by Aeneas. Other highlights include the town’s sixty churches (the most interesting being the Duomo and the Chiesa Madre), and, on a clear day, the magnificent views of the Egadi Islands and the coastline towards San Vito Lo Capo.
Much of the town’s charm, however, lies in the opportunity to stroll through the maze of medieval cobbled streets, wandering past concealed courtyards and under baroque balconies. Find time too, to pause for a coffee, perched at a table in the Piazza Umberto or to stop for a pastry at one of the town’s pasticcerie such as the highly-acclaimed Maria Grammatico on Via Vittorio Emmanuele.