April 1, 2019
Erice is perched atop Mount Erice, about 750 meters/2400 feet above the Sicilian coast north of Palermo overlooking our previous nights’ stay in Nubia’s salt flats. It was founded by the Phonecians. It’s stone houses offer charming looks while the dramatic views of the land and sea below its steep sides bring tourists from around the world. It’s one of the world’s magic spots. It is still occupied. Residents can drive down to nearby towns in less than 30 minutes, or go by bus up and down the steep and winding road. The town’s economy is tourist oriented, the shops offering post cards and local foods, as well as bars, cafes and restaurants. There is a science conference center as well. It’s a pleasant and easy walk around the town, with views galore.
There are remains of Phoenician and Elymian walls indicating different stages of settlement and occupation in antiquity. The Pepoli Castle dates from Moorish times. Venus Castle is from the Norman period. Beneath it is a Temple of Venus.
We know little about the Elymian people. They lived in this region, founded Segesta which has important Greek era ruins, and were probably assimilated into the Roman empire.