Erice, the city of a hundred towers

Erice is a small medieval town located on the top of the mountain of the same name some 750 metres above sea level in the Province of Trapani in eastern Sicily. It was founded by exiles from Troy who discovered the perfect location in which to live until the Roman conquest in 244 B.C. and it is likely that the town was named "Venere Ericina" during this period after the mythical Roman goddess. Following the Byzantine occupation the town was occupied by the Arabs and subsquently by the Normans who constructed the Castle on the site of the old sanctuary and created three new entrance gates: Carmine, Spada and Trapani. Numerous palaces and churches were constructed during the Norman conquest providing the town with an atmosphere that is both fascinating and mysterious, a sensation that is heightened when the town is immersed in cloud which happens frequently, even during the summer. Further significant architectural additions were made during the 19th century when reconstruction of the central square took place and several new and important buildings were erected. Since 1963 the Ettore Majorana Scientific and Cultural Centre has been located in the town, an initiative of Professor Antonino Zichini which attracts the most able academics from around the world for the scientific study of problems relating to a range of different fields: from medicine to law, from history to astronomy and from philology to chemistry. For this reason the town is dubbed the "City of Science". Access to the town can be gained via the winding state road or via the cable railway which takes 10 minutes from the valley below to the centre of the town. Erice is an unmissable destination in Sicily: its narrow cobbled streets, its houses clinging to the rocks, its towers, its churches and its castles which will conquer your hearts and minds and inspire you to dream. Erice has remained almost as it was in medieval times with the exception of some excellent restaurants and cake shops which can be found in the centre of the town!

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