3. Erice: Cathedral of Erice & Old Town Private Walking Tour
The guided tour of Erice will lead you to a village of timeless charm, built on Mount Erice, between alleys and architectural jewels that preserve the history of the peoples who have inhabited it over the centuries. It starts from Porta (gate) Trapani, one of the oldest gates of the city and its historic center, and arrives at the Cathedral of the Assumption. Commissioned by Frederick III of Aragon in the 1300s, as a thank you to the town, it is a typical example of Gothic architecture in Sicily and was originally enriched with mosaics destroyed due to the collapse of the roof.
Inside, the church is covered with a white stucco lace in the style of the time. Next to the Cathedral with the facade enriched by an elegant rose window and a portico that give a unique and monumental aspect, stands the tower of King Federico, or the bell tower built on the ruins of an ancient military watchtower and always wanted by the king of Aragon. Our tour continues to discover the historic center, with its picturesque cobbled alleys, ceramic shops and historic pastry shops where you can taste the typical sweets of the area such as almond pastries and Genovesi, the most typical dessert of Erice , which consists of a delicious milk cream wrapped in a delicate shortcrust pastry. Walking through the village we can admire the Cyclopean walls, so called because the Phoenicians, for their construction, used very robust workers from a nearby population: the Cyclops.
The ancient walls, made up of huge boulders on which you can still see the engravings of some letters of the Phoenician alphabet, were erected to protect the population from enemy attacks. The walk will also allow us to explore the English-style Balio Gardens built at the end of the 19th century by Count Pepoli, which surround the area where the suggestive Castle of Venus is located.
The guided tour ends by exploring the remains of the fortress with panoramic terraces overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Trapani and the Egadi Islands, an enchanting view from the highest point of the village. From the castle, built near an ancient temple of the goddess Venus, you can also admire some watchtowers including the most beautiful Art Nouveau-style Torretta Pepoli.