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Erice
Palermo
Parco Naturale dello Zingaro
Segesta
Selinunte
 
 
Erice


Erice about 32,000 inhabitants occupies a memorably beautiful site. Developed as a Phoenician and Hellenistic town, it sits at a height of 751m, perched on the mountain of the same name, covering a triangular plateau with a glorious view over the sea. Enclosed within defensible bastions and walls, the town is a veritable labyrinth of little cobbled streets and passages wide enough to accommodate one person at a time. The houses, packed one upon another, each have their own charming, carefully-tended, inner courtyard that can be guarded from the gaze of neighbours or passing gentry, and so allows family life to take its daily course in absolute privacy. In Antiquity, Erice was famous for its temple where in succession, the Phoenicians worshipped Astarte, the Greeks venerated Aphrodite and the Romans celebrated Venus. Mount Eryx served as a point of reference for sailors, who, in time, adopted Venus as their protector. At night, a large fire would be lit within the sacred precinct and used as a guiding beacon. Venus Erycina became so famous that a temple was dedicated to her in Rome, meanwhile, her cult spread throughout the Mediterranean. Erice, like Janus, is two faced: there is the bright, sunny face that smiles during the long hot summer days, when light floods its tiny streets and distant views extend over the valley and far out to sea; there is also the mask of winter when, shrouded in mist, the town seems to hark back to its mythical origins, leaving the visitor with a feeling of unease and the impression of a place removed from time and reality. Enveloped by its medieval atmosphere, cool mountain air, beautiful pine woods, pervading silence, combined with its rich local craft traditions, make Erice a highly popular destination for tourists.

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