Sicily-day six

Today I will describe our sixth, seventh and almost eight day. I don’t have much to write about the sixth day of our vacation, because after the most tiring trip to Scala Dei Turchi, we just wanted to take some rest and spent the whole day at the beaches.

But first, I want to show you our lovely guest who kept visiting us every day. Most of the time he was with two more beauties but they were more shy 🙂

But let’s get back to the beaches. Half of the day we spent on the nearby beach of Mondello, if you have read any of my travel diaries you may know that we can’t stand in one place for long. I’m not sure about my husband, but I definitely can’t 🙂

Before going to Sicily I spent a lot of time browsing to find the best beaches in our part of the island, here’s a link, and have chosen a few special one to try. After much consideration I chose one to spent the rest of the day at – Lido Isola del Femmine. This is quite long and beautiful beaches, fully maintained and divided in different parts – paid and free.

The name of the beach comes from the town nearby. Despite it’s meaning ” Women’s island”, the town is located on the mainland part of Sicily and the “island” from whom the name came is currently uninhabited. One story says that the name came from an women prison, which may existed here during the 16 century. The more reliable one tells us that there was a plague or some similar decease in town ant the women and children were send on the island to keep them safe until it’s gone.

The beach was nice but we liked the one in Mondello more.Nevertheless there isn’t anything interesting to tell you about so I move on to our next day – the trip to Erice!

We had a long drive ahead of us, this time to the north-western part of the island to the highmountain town Erice, famous for its high altitude and its fortress.

It is about 100 km away from Mondello and were surrounded by beautiful view on the highway again. Luckily, we drove on the brand new highway to the airport and there were no road surprises.

After maybe an hour and a half we arrived at the foot of the mountain, where Erice is. We were supposed to leave the car here on a big parking, right beside the cableway, going to the town. Our plan was to take the lift and while enjoying the view to avoid the really curvy road up and the ascend from 0 to 800 m altitude in no more than 20 km.

But surprise, surprise! We arrived at the lift and besides the queue for some reason it is not working… And now what! Apparently it was more than windy than is safer for the for its proper use and it was shut down We started to wonder what to do, the people around us also… Keep in mind that we were at the outskirts of the town of Trapani and there was not a living soul around 🙂 Most of the people started to call for taxis and we had to make peace peace with the fact that we are going up with the car…

Honestly, this was my most stressful trip 🙂 I am afraid of heights and the otherwise gorgeous views from the quite low safety barriers on the roundabouts took my breath away, but not in the good way. Thankfully my husband, who drove, didn’t feel the same 🙂 And, of course, we were at our second turn when the lift started working again…

So if you happen to be in our situation and don’t have a car or any other transport, don’t get upset, just wait a while.

I was so afraid that I forgot to take any pictures, so this are from the internet and keep in mind that none of them shows the real beauty and emotion.

After you survive the, as I felt, hundred turns, you found yourself at a big parking, the only lace where you can leave your car. You can’t drive it inside Erice and to see it on foot.

You pay on a machine, the price is the standard for Sicily – an euro per hour.

After you leave your car and managed to squeeze some space from the tourist buses you can walk towards the town’s gate. But first some info:

Erice is in such a spectacular, naturally fortified position high above the natural harbour of Trapani, that it is not surprising that the site has been occupied for millennia. It’s perhaps not surprising either, that with the crag’s veil of shifting clouds and air of mystery it was an important sacred site. There was a temple of Venus here which outlasted the different civilizations holding sway in the area. The female divinity to which the shrine was dedicated changed slightly with each culture: Astarte for the Phoenicians, Aphrodite for the Greeks and Venus for the Romans. Fertility rites would probably have taken place on or around the temple site, at the highest point of the town.

Erice was probably founded by the Elymians, a native Sicilian people who also built the nearby town and temple of Segesta. After the Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans, the town was later ruled by the Arab, then the Norman rulers of Sicily.

To discover Erice, you can begin your tour from Porta Trapani and walk through the alley streets and the squares, bordered by churches and palaces that, in open spaces, reveal majestic landscapes. 

Erice is famous for its numerous churches, indeed it was known as the city with a hundred churches. However, in reality there are less but many must be visited. Besides the Church of San Martino, in Norman style, and the Church of Sant’Albertino degli Abbati, we will highlight the oldest, the Mother Church, dedicated to the cult of Santa Maria Assunta. Its quadrangular bell tower is embellished with mullioned windows; it is a structure with the function of defending and sighting. There are nine crosses in the right wall of the church: legend has it that those crosses came from the temple of Venus, carried by Frederick of Aragon, who was a runaway and refugee in the city during the War of the Vespers.

Erice’s symbol is the Venus Castle (Castello di Venere), built by the Normans who used materials from the temple of Venus in Erice, from which the castle takes its name. The castle was surrounded by towers and beside them there is the Balio, a wonderful garden from which you enjoy an extraordinary panorama.

On one hand, you will look at the Tyrrhenian coast in the Gulf of Trapani and the tip of San Vito lo Capo at the horizon, and on the other, the port of Trapani and salt mines.

Yo can visit it for 4 euro and can choose a combined ticket for some other sites for 12 euro.

Under the walls of the castle, there is the Torretta Pepoli. It is a small liberty style villa/castle built in 1870 by count Agostino Pepoli on the slopes of Monte Erice, below the Torri del balio in 1870. The small castle was a place for meditation, but over the years the Torretta Peopoli became dilapidated. After a long work of restoration, the Torretta was officially opened in 2014. It’s entrance is included in the combined ticket.

After all these beautiful views and buildings we decided to just wander around the streets. On one hand to have some shade, on other – to feel the town’s atmosphere.

Although we had the idea to visit Trapani and the nearby salt mines, we felt that the tiredness is getting to us and wanted to just go home. This time the lift was working, which was ideal since I had absolutely no desire to experience the horror of going down that road 🙂

So, me and our kid (who was the just the happiest of the fact) chose the lift and my husband went with the car. The cost for one way was 5.50 euro and 9 return. The entrance is next to the parking where is also a small souvenir shop, if you forgot to buy something from Erice.

The trip was slightly windy and swinging but the views were worth it:

here you can see the old road to Erice

We weren’t able to visit them, but I want to tell you about the salt mines near Trapani and to recommend them. They are a breathtaking nature reserve where industry, history and wildlife are merged together.

The mill looks like a part of the Don Quixote novel, but as you can find out after a visit to the museum, most of them are still in use. The pictures are from internet but gives an idea why I wanted to see them so much.

Going back to Mondello we marveled at the views again:

This travel diary is for almost three days but there wasn’t much to tell about the last one besides the fact that we had to be at the airport at 3.30 AM 🙂 The return of the car was without problem, you just park it at the designated spots and the keys, along with the documents were left in a box at the airport.

We flew to Bergamo again but this time had no time or power to go to the town so we just spent few hours in the huge mall next to the airport. If you have time you can spent some time there.

And this is my last diary for our holiday in Sicily and if I had to summarize in a few words – Sicily is great! This was our second trip there but I’m sure that it won’t be our last 🙂 The weather was great and the island is perfect for any kind of tourism. Whether you chose a sea holiday or spending time visiting the attractions, or maybe some culinary trips, in Sicily there is all. So, don’t hesitate at all but quickly add it to your plans.

Stay tunes for my next travel diaries and don’t stop traveling!

Author: marinelapetrunova

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