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Erice (Eryx) (TP)

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Erice (Eryx) (Trapani Province) is 15 km from Trapani, alt. 751 m, on the summit of Monte San Giuliano, area 47.28 sq km, pop. 30,658, post-code 91016, tel. 0923. Economy: Agriculture, handicraft (carpets, pottery), tourism.

The name Erice is derived from the Sican-Sicel-Italic term Eryx, meaning mountain.

There are caves overlooking the sea that were inhabited by Upper Palaeolithic and Neolithic man.

Erice became an Elymian city and had a temple dedicated to the goddess of fertility Astartes (the Roman Venus Erycinia).

Before and after the the brief Greek domination of Agrigento and Siracusa, Erice was a Punic city, as testified today by its massive walls.

The Carthaginians destroyed it in 260 BC. In 247 BC it was occupied by the Romans, and it declined both as a stronghold and as a town. It then followed the vicissitudes of the rest of the island: first it was Byzantine, then Arab after 381, when it was called Gebel-Hamed; it fell to the Normans in the 12th century.

The Normans repopulated the town and in addition to various other fortifications, built the Castle which took their name (although it is also called the Castle of Venus).

Of interest: The town took the name that Count Roger gave to the mountain: Monte San Giuliano. In the Middle Ages numerous churches and convents were built and, since then, apart from a few baroque buildings and the restoration of Piazzo Umberto I in the 19th century, this mountain town has remained unchanged. In 1934 it resumed its ancient name of Erice.

Also: The boundary walls, built in about the 6th century by the Phoenicians, and restructured many times in the course of time; Majestic Castle, the bulwark 12th and 13th centuries; Castello Pepoli (19th century); The Town Hall houses the Antonio Cordici Civic Museum, and the Medieval Balio Castle, 1873.

Churches (Trapani Diocese) include the following:
Maria SS. Assunta (Chiesa Madre)
Chiesa di San Cataldo, built in the 14th century and several times altered. (historic)
Chiesa di San Domenico is now the seat of the Ettore Majorana Scientific Center. (historic)
Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista (on the brow of the hill is medieval has a fine side portal restructured in the 15th and 17th centuries, historic)
Cristo Re
The Duomo, near Porta Trapani; 14th century. (historic)
Norman origin is the Chiesa di San Martino (historic)
S. Anna
S. Cataldo
S. Lucia
S. Michele Arcangelo
Maria SS. di Trapani (Ballata - suburb of Erice)
S. Giuseppe (Casa Santa - suburb of Erice)
S. Cuore (Napola - suburb of Erice)

Families researched in these records include the following:

Links to other sites about Erice (Eryx) include:
Erice Photos
Trapani Province

My latest book on CD is titled Sicily, Part 1 and Part 2 is now available on 2 CDs. With a file for each town (plus many other files), it relates the history of Sicily as reflected in the photos, records and festivals of its towns. It contains over 2500 text and photo files and can be ordered at CD order.

Order Italy Kathy Kirkpatrick

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