Erice

Thursday 20th October 2016 7am – Aegean Odyssey delivered us to Trapani, a city on the west coast of Sicily housing a population of approximately 70,000 people. This was our base for an excursion to the small town of Erice.

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View of Trapani harbour from MV Aegean Odyssey

We were docked right next to Piazza Garibaldi in Trapani.

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Piazza Garibaldi on Viale Regina Elena, from Aegean Odyssey

Giuseppe Garibaldi is celebrated in Sicily for liberating the island from the Bourbons (French) in the 1860s and for his part in the unification of Italy.

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Corner of Viale Regina Elena & Via Ammirgalio Staiti, from ship
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Looking south from the ship down Via Ammiraglio Staitti

Our destination, Erice, can be seen in the background on the mountain (in the centre of the above photo).

On the way to Erice we stopped at a windmill that was used to drain water from the salt pans. We were told that while this area still produces salt it is no longer economically competative for large scale comercial harvesting.

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Windmill on eadge of salt pans , taken from tour bus

From there we headed up the mountain to Erice, 751 meters above sea level.

According to the “locals” I spoke to, Erice is pronounced “e-reach-ay” with emphasis on “reach”.

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Porta Trapani, our entry point

A prehistoric village on this mountain was founded by the Sicans (who arrived on the island around 6000 BC), Sicans are thought to be the first people to inhabit what we now know as Sicily. Then came the Elymians to Sicily and this site. They recognised the strategic value of the location and constructed various fortifications.

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Chiesa Madre (Cathedral) and its bell tower (the original church was completed around 1370)

It is difficult to determine how many people now live in the small town of Erice. While the website citypopulation.de states just under 28,000 (2016 census), Wikipedia indicates a population of over 28,000. However I believe both are referring to the “Commune of Erice”, which extends down to the sea. A realistic population figure for the mountain top town is around 560 people (http://italy.places-in-the-world.com).

But what do they all do? There is no obvious agricultural activity in the town, nor are there large resorts to support tourism. Perhaps Erice’s close proximity to Trapani means its people can find work and produce there? However, tourism obviously plays an important role in the life of this town during the warmer months.

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View down Via S. Francesco from municipal gardens

The cobblestones shown above are a feature of Erice’s streets.

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view northwest across to Church of Monte San Giuliano and its bell tower
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Looking westward towards Trapani and the salt pans. MV Aegean Odyssey’s birth is behind the hill to the right
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Remains of the Temple of Venus
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Pepoli Castle (Torri Pepoli) restored in 19th century
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The beautiful Maggie in “royal purple” raincoat (borrowed from one of travelling companions, Janelle)

Maggie is standing near the Pepoli Castle

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View to the heavens from just outside Torri Pepoli
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Torreta Pepoli sits on a ledge below Torri Pepoli

The Torretta Pepoli is a small villa/castle built in 1870 by count Agostino Pepoli on the slopes of Monte Erice, below Torri Pepoli. It was restored and reopened in July 2014 July.

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View northward from outside Torri Pepoli – the road travelled from Trapani to Erice in the foreground
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El Capitan (our ship’s captain), with his trusty “steed”

Captain Andersson is reporting to the passengers of Aegean Odyssey that he rode his bike to Erice. We wondered if he, just might have, slipped into the cable car for a part of the journey? Although, he is obviously a fit man.

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Carabinieri (National Police Station) on Via Roma

I read this note about Erice, “one does not visit Erice for the sights, one visits just to be there”.

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Piazza della Loggia
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Via Vittorio Emanuele

Via Vittorio Emanuele is the busiest street in town, “crowded in” by cafes and restaurants with alfresco dinning, souvenir displays, tourists and delivery vehicles.

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A nice place for coffee and cake
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Another view of Via Vittorio Emanuele
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A friendly souvenir seller on Via Vittorio Emanuele

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Away from the busy section of Via Vittorio Emanuele
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Glazed Ceramics in Via Albertina Degli Abbati

We purchased glazed ceramic house numbers here.

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The locals in Erice were welcoming and the atmosphere relaxed. I felt I could stay a few days and soak in what it means “just to be there”.

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Coming soon: Our next destination is Cartagena in Spain. I hope you join us to read more of our “Voyage to Antiquity”.

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8 thoughts on “Erice

  1. A very European experience from your collection of photos. You should us them in your next job as a tourism facilitator 😆
    Thanks for the many hours spent preparing this blog.
    John W.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alister, The photos capture the tranquility you ( and Maggie) obviously experienced wandering through those soft scenes! Breathtaking!
    The paved alleys are most impressive.
    Cheers, and love, K’n’B.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Daryl, Maggie does appear in most of the blogs, although not always as prominently as in this one. Of course I must always seek her approval if I include a feature photo, such as in Erice.

      Like

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