Historic Sicilian cities: Erice, Sutera and Montalbano Elicona

02 Jan 2020

Erice and the Elimi

Erice was founded by the Elimi, an ancient population, which dates back even before the Greeks and Phoenicians arrived.

In the highest part of the city, where today is the castle, there was a temple dedicated to Aphrodite and to the “sacred prostitution”.

An eternal fire placed in the highest part of the temple, recalled the sailors of the Mediterranean. It must have been a good climb what they did to get to this temple of love.

Erice

It was so revered and famous that centuries and centuries later, when Sicily was conquered by the Romans, they wanted to reproduce it in their city.

The temple of love of Aphrodite had strict rules for visitors who had to respect certain rules to ingratiate themselves with sex maids.

Erice, the city of love, seems to have this epithet in its destiny, given that from above the outline of Erice recalls the female genital organ.

Today Erice is a beautiful town, full of charm and stone.

One of the most beautiful medieval villages in Italy with an enchanting view of the Mediterranean Sea below.

There is a lot of history in this small town in the province of Trapani.

Still today we can admire the Cyclopean walls of the VIII / VII century BC and the Castle of Venus from the XII / XIII century on the remains of the aforementioned temple of Aphrodite whose well is still visible today.

Sutera and the Arabs

With Sutera, however, we come to the Arabs who reigned in Sicily between the 9th and 11th centuries, giving the island two centuries of prosperity and innovation in various fields.

Even today, the island has many cities with the typical Arab urban structure: a casbah of narrow streets and courtyards, often in continuous ups and downs.

In the highest part of Sutera there is an ancient district called Rabato.

Its charm is enormous, expanded by the fact of being at the foot of the mountain that dominates Sutera: the Monte Paolino.

In Rabato, in the evening, the landscape becomes fairytale, with the light slipping between the stones of the narrow and narrow streets.

Inside the neighborhood there are also curious caves where a very cold wind always blows, even when there are more than 40 degrees outside.

Sutera
Sutera

The inhabitants of Sutera have explained that also life in Rabato, compared to that of the underlying city, takes place with different rhythms having the sun an inclination that distributes the light in a different way between the two parts of the small Sutera.

Sutera is also part of one of the most beautiful towns in Italy.

We are in the Sicily of the hinterland and from Sutera we see the sea: but of wheat.

Yellow in summer and lots of green in winter.

From the top of Monte Paolino, therefore, you can admire a crazy view of Sicily that covers almost all of Sicily on a clear day.

Montalbano Elicona and the Normans

And also Montalbano, not to be outdone in Erice and Sutera, is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.

Here too the stone gives the village an unmistakable charm that immediately brings us to the Middle Ages.

The highest part of the town is dominated by a splendid castle built by the Normans in the 12th century.

Here too, as in Erice and Sutera, you can walk among narrow streets and splendid views that in this case open onto the Aeolian islands.

Also in this case you can see the small houses of the village that since ancient times have sought protection around the castle in exchange for work.

Montalbano Elicona

Also in Montalbano many houses have been restored and today you can see beautiful flowered balconies and windows with romantic curtains.

Montalbano is the starting point for wonderful hikes in the woods, including the Malabotta one where strange cyclopean stones in the shape of various animals continue to be a nice puzzle for different archaeologists and scholars of the mystery.

The local provola cheese is excellent, renowned throughout Sicily.