I just had the loveliest summer holiday of my life in the southernmost region of Italy: Sicily…. says Hanna Johnson
As I have done before too, here I introduce a new place on my blog through a local eye. Today we have my friend Hanna Johnson who introduces herself as one who is married to Italy and calls herself a travel lover. Mother of two (one 2 years old and the other 4), she writes about Art, Culture and everything that might be useful for your next travel to Italy.Erice Duomo Chiesa Madre
I decided to make my home base in Trapani, on the western point of the island, and do day trips from there. On the wishsicily website, I found an amazing holiday house in Sicily. From there I saw all kinds of amazing places like San Vito Lo Capo, Alcamo, Lo Zingaro nature Preserve and Marsala. However, the little medieval town of Erice was by far my favorite.
Erice-Trapani, tourist spot, typical of Sicily
Erice is perched on a hill to the east of Trapani at about 2,500 feet above sea level. I took the cable up to the town, it is like a gondola that takes you up the hill. It only takes 20 minutes and costs just 6.50 euros for a round trip ride.
One gets to see a fantastic view of the Trapani area on your way up. This includes the Egadi Islands to the west. That was also a great overnight trip I did, I would totally recommend looking into the ferries that take you there. On my way up, I met a group of 6 Australians in the cabin of the gondola. We decided to spend the day wandering around the town together, then have dinner in one of the most amazing restaurants I have ever been to: Trattoria Vista Mare.Erice, Sicily. Chiesa Madre (Matrice), Cathedral of Erix dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption built in 1314, landmark of Italy
Before I get into all the delicious details of the restaurant, I want to talk a bit about the daytime activities in this magical town. There are tons of souvenir shops, but they aren’t your traditional overpriced mass-produced souvenirs. Instead, they are hand crafted plates and ceramics made in the studios behind the shops. The whole town just breathes a medieval atmosphere. This is partly thanks to the little marble alleyways where cars can’t even go down. It makes you feel like you are in another century, especially when the fog rolls in around dusk. Totally magical and mystic.
We had an afternoon snack at the Pasticceria Maria Grammatico, one of the best pastry shops on the island. You can find it on Corso Vittorio Emanuele, number 14. Erice is famous for the delicious almond cookies, like Genovesi, and also their marzipan creations. The Genovesi are absolutely to die for, filled with ricotta (like so many other delicious Sicilian goodies). Do not leave Erice without trying one.Scenic view of an historic church in the town of Erice, Trapani, Sicily
Then, of course, dinner. We had an amazing tasting menu which cost just 25 euros. I have never eaten so much fresh fish in my life! They paired the antipasto with a lovely prosecco, then we moved on to spaghetti with clams, grilled swordfish with capers and olives and cherry tomatoes. Dessert was delicious sicilian lemon granita, made with lemons from the town itself. I left full, happy, and with a group of new Australian friends that I am still in contact with today.
Anyways, if you find yourself in Sicily, don’t miss Erice. You are bound to be enchanted, just like I was. In the main street, Corso Vittoria Emanuele, you will find at No. 14 Pasticceria Maria Grammatico, one of the best Sicilian pastry shops, known for its delicious almond cookies and marzipan creations.
Every summer Erice hosts some interesting festivals which are worth a visit. These festivals attract people from all over the world and the most important are:
- The annual music festival
- Medieval and renaissance music festival in August
- Concerts from mid December until the second week of January
- Check here for Annual Sicily Events Calendar
Next trip? Maybe Sardinia, the other Italian region-island!