Erice

A unique medieval town 800 meters above sea level.

Erice is an unforgettable medieval hilltop town in Sicily, close to the port city of Trapani on the island’s western coast. The historic town is surrounded by defensive town walls, crowned by a castle, and dominates the surrounding area from its mountainous height of approximately 800 metres above sea level. To get here you can drive (via very steep narrow road) or you can take a picturesque trip in a cable car . We chose the latter solution. The cable cars run from the outskirts of Trapani and a round trip ticket is 9 euros for adults and 4 euros for children (3-16 years old).

Erice is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable: EH-richay.

Apparantly Erice is often lost in swirls of mist and cloud, so a view isn’t guaranteed. Locally these clouds are called “kisses of Venus” – a notion whose romance perhaps goes some way to compensating for the lost panorama. Something we hadn’t considered and but fortunately we went on a beautiful sun day with an unbeatable view.

A map is useful, as the geography can confuse visitors, but Erice is small enough that you won’t be lost for long. The streets are paved with a characteristic pattern of different-sizes shiny stones – very slippery after decades of wear and weather and some are also very steep. Suitable footwear for these kinds of conditions are definitely recommended.

Erice is a somewhat pretty town, grey kind of way, and it is very atmospheric. Unusually for Sicily, its historical centre is largely intact, clean and well-kept. There are lots of souvenirs and ceramics shops (pretty much selling the same kind of products), especially the ceramics shops are noticeable, and also a good selection of nice restaurants.

We spend half a day visiting the most important sights, having coffee and ice creams from the small view point park and then pizza in the evening before going back down with a cable car (and had an amazing sunset in the background).

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