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Introduction

The castles of Erice

The castles of Erice

© davidx

Erice is called a city but seems more like a hill-top village. It sits atop Monte San Giuliano, some 750 metres above Trapani at sea level. In the summer the relative cool atop Monte Guiliano is heavenly for walking the stone streets of Erice. However, it is prone to periods of mist that settle on the city in the early morning or late afternoon, which can obscure the superlative views. While Erice does get more than its share of mist, this is part of its magical charm, and the picturesque views and vistas make Erice delightful to visit. The views of the city of Trapani and Mount Cofano are simply magnificent and unforgettable. Erice is located near some other beautiful Sicilian places like San Vito lo Capo, Segesta, Trapani, and Palermo in the northwest portion of Sicily.

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Brief History

In appearance, Erice looks like a town from the Middle Ages with its many castles, walls and stone streets. In fact, it's much older, and said to be older than Rome itself. According to the legend, Erice or Eryx, son of Venus and Neptune, founded a small town on top of a mountain (750 meters above sea level). Its ancient history can be traced to the writings of Thycydides surrounding events following the conquest of Troy. After the fall of Troy, some Trojans settled on the western tip of Sicily. Along with the people already settled there they became known as the Elymi, and the towns they developed were Segesta and Erice. In parts of the city there are the remains of ancient Elymian and Phoenician walls that reflect various stages of settlement and occupation. Homer, Theocritus, Virgil and Horace have celebrated this magnificent spot in Sicily in their poems.

It was destroyed during the first Punic war and subsequently occupied by the Romans. Like many parts of the island of Sicily, influence of Greek, Byzantine, Arab and Norman architecture and culture can be seen. During the 13th to 19th centuries, Erice was ruled by a local oligarchy, and under wise leadership a long period of cultural development and economic prosperity developed. This gave rise to the many churches, monasteries, stone streets and houses that are seen there today. Since the early 1960's Erice has been called "The City of Science" after the founding of the Ettore Majorana Centre for Scientific Culture in 1963.

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Sights and Activities

The streets are a delight. Unlike so much of Sicily the general impression is not ruined by ugly blocks of flats.

  • Two Norman castles are stunning.
  • The Duomo, the Mother Church and a number of other churches are well worth seeing.
  • The viewsover the coast and over the city of Trapani are excellent.
  • The streets and shops are well owrth several wanders

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Getting There

There is an aerial runway from Trapani open most of the year and local buses also run between the two towns. Any trip out of Erice requires getting to Trapani first.

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Eat

See 'Sleep.'

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Sleep

Mid-Range

The Hotel Pineta is in a great situation for views and its rooms are in separate buildings scattered round reception and the restaurant. Breakfast is included in the price and diner is available all year; lunch is also served in summer.

Upscale

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Almost all towns and cities in Italy have internet cafes. A growing number of budget hostels and nicer hotels have free Wifi. By law all public-access internet points must keep records of web sites viewed by customers, and even the customer's ID: expect to be refused access if you don't provide identification. Hotels providing Internet access are not required to record IDs if the connection is provided in the guest's room, although if the connection is offered in the main public hall then IDs are required. Publicly available wireless access without user identification is illegal, so open Wi-Fi hotspots (like the ones you might expect to find in a mall or cafée) all have some form of (generally one-time) registration.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The main networks are TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile, part of Telecom Italia, formerly state controlled), Vodafone, Wind, and 3 (only UMTS cellphones). Best advice is to buy a prepaid SIM card (from € 10 upwards) and a cheap mobile phone (€ 19 upwards) to put it in (if you don't have a cellphone already that you can use). It will be much more practical. All land line numbers start with 0. Mobile numbers start with 3. Numbers starting with 89 are high-fee services. In case of emergency call the appropriate number from the list below. Such calls are usually free and calls to 112, 113 (police), 115 (fire), 118 (health) can be made from payphones for free without the need of inserting coins. 112 (standard emergency number in GSM specification) can be dialed in any case for free from any mobile phone.

Post

Post Italiane is the national postal services of Italy and has quite an efficient network of postal offices and reliable postal services. Standard letters and postcards (up to 20 grams) cost €0.39 to send within Europe and the Mediterranean countries outside Europe and €0.41 to all other destinations throughout the country. Up to 50 grams, prices start at €0.52 for Europe, €0.62 for other areas. Packages start at €1.55 within Europe, and around €2.50 for other countries. Post office business hours in Italy are from 8:30am to 2:00pm from Monday to Friday, with closing times at Saturday and the last day of the month at 12 noon. In general, larger post offices in bigger cities and in tourist areas keep longer hours than those in local towns. Also note that business hours in the south might be different than the north, with longer hours at night, especially in summer! If you want to send packages you might try faster and more reliable/efficient private courier companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.

Accommodation in Erice

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Erice searchable right here on Travellerspoint.

Erice Travel Helpers

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This is version 17. Last edited at 16:21 on Apr 24, 18 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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