Hotels in Erice
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EriceThe quiet little town is situated on the Western coast of Sicily, near the provincial capital Trápani and right on the crown of the 751m/2,464ft high mountain of Érice, the Mons Eryx of antiquity. Tiny narrow streets winding between densely-packed houses - the medieval triangular townscape with handsome churches and “palazzi” has been retained right up to the present day. Enjoy the authentic atmosphere of ancient times of this rocky bastion as well as breath-taking views over the sea - with the lagoon of Marsala, the salt-works glittering white in the sun, the Egadi Islands to the west and the cliffs of Capo San Vito in the north.
According to myth and history the Mons Eryx has from early times been the seat of a cult of the old Mediterranean mother deity, whom is it thought the Phoenicians named the "goddess of Eryx". She was venerated by the Elymians, who first settled here, and a temple was erected where the different peoples successively worshipped - and this according to legend included sacred prostitution of the priestesses - their respective “goddess of love”, named Astarte by the Carthaginians, Aphrodite by the Greeks and Venus by the Romans. On the location of the ancient temple the Norman castle “Castello di Venere” (Venus Castle) was built in the 12th and 13th century.
The romantic “love-nest” of the antiquity is ideally located for excursions to the Egadi Islands (only 20min. by hydrofoil from Trápani to beautiful Favignana), the archaeological excavations on the small island of Mózia (oldest Carthaginian settlement in Sicily) or superb Segesta (30km to the south-east) with one of the most impressive Greek temples in Sicily as well as a Greek-Roman theatre perched on the hill.
Also at a distance of 30km eastwards you enter the unspoilt nature reserve “Lo Zingaro” at Scopello. Sicily’s first National Park stretches out towards Capo San Vito in the north. A 14km pathway offers spectacular views from the top of the cliffs to the turquoise bays below.
The marvellous “Via del Sale” (Salt Road) starts in Trápani, an important commercial port, and follows the coastline to the south. Enjoy the picturesque landscape of the lagoon with its endless white salines and windmills, contrasting with the silhouette of the Egadi Islands, stop for a visit of the “Museo delle Saline” inside a mill (displaying the tradition of the salt-works), until you finally reach Marsala (80,000 inhabitants), a charming Baroque town, famous for its wine exported all over the world and situated right at the western point of the island, Capo Lilibeo, only approx. 140km from Tunisia.
And if want to experience a maximum of African influence, proceed another 20km to the South to the “Gate to the Orient”, Sicily’s largest fishing-port Mazara del Vallo (47,000 inhabitants) where many North Africans work and maintain the original atmosphere of the Kasbah founded by the Arabs.