Erice is a walled medieval hilltop town, believed by early Romans to be the home of Venus. It is roughly half a mile above sea level. We were told Erice can often be foggy. Although it was windy, we were lucky to have a sunny afternoon here.
Erice’s modern claim to fame is the pasticceria of Maria Grammatico.
In the 1950s, Maria at age 11, was sent to the cloistered San Carlo orphanage to learn the art of pastry making from the nuns. The children worked in brutally hard conditions. Maria was able to leave at the age of 22. She began making sweets and pastries to make a living. Now Caffe Maria is world famous and is where we had lunch.
The region’s specialties are sun-dried tomatoes, Castelvetrano olives and Marsala wine. The round balls here are arancine, deep fried stuffed rice balls, like we had in Palermo. All the food we had in Sicily was fabulous!
Next a baking lesson with Maria!
Cannelloni and Dolci ericini (sweet almond cookies)
We had time on our own to roam the little town of Erice.
Porta Trapani is the gate facing the coastal city of Trapani.
The Duomo of Erice was built in 1312.
The narrow lanes of Erice are lined with pastry, carpet and souvenir shops.
Our Sicilian guide, Tomaso, with the Sicilian flag.
We could see for miles from the hilltop of Erice.
Castello di Venere, a 12th to 13th century Norman castle, was built over the Temple of Venus.
The port of Trapani is where we will spend the next two nights.