A Friendly Walk Around Erice
August 26, 2011
A Friendly Walk Around Erice
After spending the day on the water aboard the R/V Hercules, Kathy & I spent the evening exploring the nightlife of Old Trapani. It seems to have grown by a great deal even since I was here last year. There are all sorts of new bars and clubs joining those which were previously established. The night life here has a different vibe, very relaxed with everyone, families, teenagers and couples all mingling on the avenues that are lined with cafes with elaborate outdoor seating. In fact most of the action is outside, not a lot of hanging out indoors.
Kathy, Jeff & Phil
On our exploration, we bumped in to Jeff & Phil from RPM who were out at a happening bar called Beats, that seemed to be popular with a younger, rock music loving crowd. One drink became many and a pretty late night of enjoying the company, Italian beer and abundance of beautiful Sicilians.
Jeff, Phil & Michael
The late night made for a slow morning the next day, we opted out of heading out with the Hercules, choosing instead to take the Funicular – a cable car ride up the side of Mt. Erice, the mountain which overlooks the city of Trapani and atop which sits the ancient city of Erice.
Erice, named after the mythological son of Venus and Bute, is a city that has been occupied for literally thousands of years and has been home to the Elini, the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Romans and Christians. Thus the city is covered with numerous iconic culturally significant churches, fortresses, fortifications and other ruins from a wide range of cultures, all packed in to the fairly compact mountain top city.
The cable car drops you off near the ancient watch tower, King Frederick’s Tower, which was built during the same Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage that the rams that RPM has been finding date from. It towers over the city offering fantastic 360 degree views and still serves as an operational bell tower. Just next to the tower is the incredible Royal Church, which, like many of the churches in Erice, still functions as an active church.
The Royal Church was first constructed in 1312 from material recovered from the ruins of the previous temple of Venus which was located nearby. The Royal Church has been expanded, renovated and restored over the many centuries, creating a wonderful selection of various styles all represented in the fantastic structure. Inside there is a huge collection of treasures and relics from throughout the ages.
There are literally dozens of equally impressive sites, all with-in a friendly walk through the charming city. Small shops, cafes and restaurants can also be found along the streets, which are all cobbled and extremely narrow. It is a very touristy spot, yet retains a sense of elegance and importance; it even has a miniature version of a Conch Train. All in all it is a pretty cool experience and I am thrilled that I was able to return here again with Kathy.
The entire city is full of similar types of magnificent sites and Kathy & I strolled along the narrow cobblestone streets checking out as many as possible. We also took in some of the many shops that sell ceramics , rugs, local wine and souvenirs. We finished up the day with a tour of the Castello del Ballo, an huge castle that offers more fantastic views down the mountain.