Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 13, 2022

Enticing Erice

Erice is a well cared for Sicilian town 751 metres above sea level on top of Mount Saint Julian. From its lofty position it looks over Trapani and the Tyrrhenian Sea. It was populated by the Elimi people and sought after by the Greeks and Carthaginians. Its major development was in the time of the Arab-Norman period. There was little change after Medieval times so it has retained its buildings and character.

A fierce wind blew us in and out of Erice making walking through the cobbled streets a bit of a drag. It is a pity because the town is charming. The winding streets are full of ceramic and rug shops and there is a pasticceria on every corner and in between as well.

We did our best to push against the wind and discovered a few of Erice’s delights. We entered Erice through Porta Trapani, one of 3 entrances to the city. It is so named because it faces towards Trapani.

Turning left after the entrance you will find the Chiesa Madrice, dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption. It was built in Gothic style in 1314 at the time of Frederick III of Aragon. The bell tower was originally a lookout tower during the wars of the Sicilian Vespers in the 13th century. It wasn’t open so I can’t show you the interior.

Come for a walk through Erice.

We stopped for lunch.

A little further on is the famous Pasticceria di Grammatico Maria.

There is another one next door with outdoor space.

I had breakfast at Pasticceria di Grammatico Maria the next morning. I can report that the coffee was excellent and the Genovese pastry delicious. I bought some of the jam as well and it is one of the best I have eaten. I wish I had bought more.

Piazza della Loggia is enormous. The wind seems to have blown everyone inside. There were actually quite a few tourists about.

The next morning it was completely deserted.

The ancient facades of buildings are fascinating. Old doorways are always interesting.


There are lots of narrow streets.


The church of San Giuliano.

Another one overlooking the sea.

The Venus Castle Castello di Venere, on  the edge of the town is huge. It was built by the Normans with materials from the temple of Venus, which gave the castle  its name.

A carriage waits to take you on a tour of the town.

Below is the Torretta Pepoli named after Count Agostino Pepoli and built in 1870.

There are great views from the castle grounds even on a hazy day.


Despite the miserable wind we found Erice quite lovely.

I can’t recommend the place we stayed at. The room itself was fine but the check in experience was probably the worst I have ever experienced. I did spot this interesting place and a signora who was staying there told me the room was as delightful as the exterior and the courtyard. It is called Antico Borgo.


Our next stop in Sicily was Trapani. It was a short drive down the mountain from Erice.


  1. Erice is a lovely town, I can see…sadly I didn’t see much of it there, but enjoyed a visit to a Pasticciera

    • Erice is an interesting town, with little changed over the centuries.

      • 😊

  2. Very enjoyable. Thank you for sharing

    • Erice is extremely well preserved. It is a pity the fierce wind turned up. It should have been warm at this time of the year, but the locals told us the weather was keeping people away.

  3. Love your doorway pictures! I am also a sucker for those kinds of photos and so really enjoyed seeing yours.

    • There are lots of fabulous doorways in Italy.

  4. I find those ancient buildings so fascinating: imagining the people who would have walked the streets and passed through the doorways. Your hotel check in wasn’t with a man named Basil, was It??

    • It could have been Basil. It was a series of stuffups. It was a case of everything going wrong that could go wrong. And then he argued with me.

  5. Such an interesting tour of Erice, the wind must have been very severe but all those narrow walkways are tunnels arnt they. Very interesting to see your photo of jam. You will be pleased to know New Farm Deli stock it. I love the blood orange marmalade.

    • That’s great that I can get the jam at New Farm deli!

  6. I always appreciate your pictures about Italy. Mostly, they are always sensitive. Congratulations!

    • Thank you! I love my life in Italy.

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