|The province of Trapani
Erice (Zip Code 91016) is 180 km. distant from Agrigento, 238 km. from Caltanissetta, 345 km. from Catania, 247 km. from Enna, 355 km. from Messina, 96 km. from Palermo, 329 km. from Ragusa, 396 km. from Siracusa, 14 km. from Trapani, which province it belongs to.
Photo © Reti e Sistemi
The municipality has 31.027 inhabitants and its area is of 4.723 hectares, while its population density is of 657 inhabitants per square kilometre.
Erice rises on a mountainous area and is 750 metres above the sea-level.
The Town Hall is placed in piazza Umberto I, tel. ++39 0923-860011 fax. ++39 0923-869591.
"On the highest top a medieval village rises among bristly towers. It is the small village of Erice where once the most famous temple of the most famous goddess...Venus,... with its fortified walls, with its streets accurately paved".
In this way Roger Peyrefitte described Erice in 1952.
Photo © Reti e Sistemi
The town is placed on the homonymous mount Eryx, religious center of Elimi, which is famous for its temple where the Phoenicians worshipped Astarte, the Greeks Aphrodite and the Romans Venus, Erice was contended by the Syracusans and by the Carthaginians till the Roman conquest in 244 B.C..
During the Arabian invasion it was called Gebel Hamed (Mount of Hamed).
In the XII century it gained again some of the lost importance and then followed the political fate of the island. It was called “St Giuliano Mount“ by the Normans and retook Erice's name in 1934.
Photo © Turi Calvino
Among the numerous monuments there are some which are very important, for example the Chiesa Matrice (XIV century), consecrated to the Assunta (The Vergin Mary), the inside has been restored in the last century; the Medieval Castle (XII-XIII centuries) with the ruins of the temple and the Municipal Building, seat of a library and of the Museum of the Cordici, is full of archaeological finds belonging to the Erice's necropolis, among them the Aphrodite's head of the IV century B.C. stands out.
In Erice is placed the Institute for international research dedicated to Ettore Majorana, wished by the eminent physicist Antonio Zichichi from Trapani.
The Institute attracts the most qualified scholars in the world in treating scientifically problems which concern different fields: from medicine to law, from history to astronomy, from philology to chemistry.