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Sicily is the largest island of Italy, where you can find a volcano, idyllic islands, blue grottos, charming villages, Roman ruins, beaches located between the white cliffs and much more. 

But in tourist guides you can’t find those mysterious places full of mistery. In this case, it is a castle and a village, hiding in the clouds, especially in the morning, atop a promontory.

With a total of 28 880 inhabitants, Erice is a small historic village located on top of San Giuliano mountain, 750 meters high, in the province of Trapani, Sicily. 

Image credit: Dedda71/ Wikimedia Commons

From here the views are fantastic, including an impressive view over the city of Trapani. On the hill there are a series of ancient fortifications, including a castle. The village seems to be from the Middle Ages, with excellent preserved cobbled streets and steep roads. 

When the fog lifts, from the top of the mountain, you can see the coast of Tunisia on the other side of the Mediterranean.

Image credit: Tommie Hansen/ flickr.com

Erice, with its castle, its architecture with Arabic influences and with its design frozen in the mists of time, is visited by foreign tourists and Sicilians. Over the centuries it has been surrounded by mystery both because of its location and its historical value as a strategic point in the Mediterranean. 

To get here, you have two options: one is the funicular, and the other one is to drive from Trapani, crossing a curvy road a few km long.

In this small village you can find the Cathedral of Santa Orsola, ” Giardino del Balio ” (Garden of the Governor), Pepoli Castle and Venus Castle. It’s nice to go through the paved village streets and serve a drink or a cake, as the town is famous for its cafes and cake shops.

Image credit: Tommie Hansen/ flickr.com

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Image credit: Tommie Hansen/ flickr.com

Erice has been, from immemorial times, a place of worship of classic deities, as you can find many churches. At the highest point of the village, where you can see the castle, was the place of worship and veneration of goddesses of love and fertility: Astarte (the Phoenicians), Aphrodite (Greek) and Venus (the Romans). 

On the quiet streets leading to the castle you can see communal gardens, the most famous being the Garden of Balio that will delight you with its layering, color and style.

Who arrives here in May can see private courtyards bathed in beautiful flowers, because all the locals take part in a contest of floral decorations. Wherever you turn your head, the colors of flowers, the fragrance, and the whole magical atmosphere will surprise and delight you. 

Image credit: Tommie Hansen/ flickr.com

Image credit: Tommie Hansen/ flickr.com

You can visit the Cordici museum which exhibits archaeological evidence, manuscripts, paintings and sculptures from different eras. Also, you can admire the handmade carpets called ‘Frazzate’, traditional products from Erice, enchanting for their fabric and color.

It is worth visiting Castle Pepoli which is managed by a private party, as you could only see a part of it. Also there is Castle Venere, which is in ruins, but it had his day of glory in the twelfth century. 

The caves can not be visited, as for the time being they are closed. 

After you see the architectural beauties of the village, you can stop at the pastry shops that will lure you with their famous sweets with almonds and marzipan, which were prepared only in ancient monasteries.

This region presents great places and things to admire, like jewels gathered here, remaining intact despite the passage of time. Little Erice is an ideal destination to relax your body and mind in an unforgettable holiday.

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Image credit: Alessandro Bonvini/ flickr.com

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