Erice: a village among the clouds

 Erice is a small medieval town situated on the top of a mountain at 700 m a.s.l. and it is not unusual  to see it is wrapped by clouds while the sun shines all around. You can get there by car, driving along a beautiful yet curvy road from Trapani which however is worth the time it takes (30 minutes circa), or by cableway, by far the option we prefer for the view it offers on the city of Trapani, the sea and the Egadi islands, Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo: the show is absolutely unique at sunset! So If you are planning a half day trip to Erice, manage to arrive or go a few minutes before the sun dives in Western Mediterranean. Remember to check in advance the timetable of the Cableway to avoid sad surprises. At night, Erice might be fresh, windy and cloudy even during summer, so do not forget to take a jacket with you, because you would not appreciate the magic of this place if shivering with cold.

erice - trapani - egadi
Trapani and the Egadi islands seen from the cableway

Once you will have got in Erice by cableway (or left your car within the parking areas) you will have to start climbing up the main street that leads you right to the center or losing yourself in a real labyrinth of side streets, paths and passages where every corner hides a surprise: ancient churches, castles, gardens, pastry shops, artisans’ workshops. After a few minutes, all those among you who are not “Olympians” will think how it had to be a hard live during the middle ages, but for the lazy ones there is a small touristic train on tires (close to the cableway station) that will take you to the top driving an outer road: in this case you will go through the center on your way back, walking downwards, and it is a good solution for those who travel together with children or elder people. At the very top of the small village you’ll find a garden and a terrace with a panoramic view on the natural reserve of Monte Cofano, and also the access to the ancient Castello di Venere, a Norman castle built during the 12th and 13th centuries on the ruins of an older roman temple.

erice - view - monte cofano
The view on Monte Cofano from Erice

By now you could be a bit hungry, so do not miss to taste in one of the several pastry shops some of the typical local products like the Bocconcini di Erice made of almonds, sugar and marmalade or the Mustazzoli an ancient recipe prepared in the past by the nuns in the convents nearby with almonds, cinnamon and cloves: a tasty, genuine and energetic snack! At lunch or dinner time, there is a good choice of restaurants where you can try all the typical recipes of the area. If you are not up against garlic, try the Busiate alla trapanese, a special kind of pasta you won’t find anywhere else in Italy. Several local artisans also master the arts of ceramic and weaving, so a lot of nice and not touristic souvenirs are available in the workshops all around. Of course, as all over the world, there are touristic shops where ordinary goods are sold. Before leaving do not forget to visit the Duomo dell’Assunta, a suggestive Church from the 14th century not far from the Porta Trapani, one of the main doors, which will take you out of the walls of the village, back to the real world.

erice - duomo dell'assunta
The medieval Duomo dell’Assunta in Erice

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