A Travellerspoint blog

Erice

weather subject to change

all seasons in one day 15 °C

At the top of Via G. Fardella in Trapani is a cable car station, with cars running to the town of Erice 800 meters above the sea level port town. Erice shares a lot in common with the more famous hill towns of Tuscany and Umbria -- built entirely from stone, seemingly one church per house (officially, 64 churches operated at one time in this one small town), ludicrous driving and parking situations, and general old world charm. Erice was probably the most heavily-touristed sight we visited over the course of the trip -- four or five tour buses were parked at the lot outside town, and there was a lot of English and German echoing around the streets -- and for good reason. The town has a well thought-out itinerary from church to church, having rescued a number of them from neglect and delapidated circumstances in recent years. From Byzantine-era frescoes to Arab-Norman watchtowers, the art and history is pretty tightly packed in, and the views are, as expected, spectacular:

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We had one of our best meals at La Pentolaccia, as detailed earlier, to wait out a rainstorm. It didn't work -- the cloud hanging over the mountain emptied itself onto streets that weren't really designed for drainage, and we walked back to the cable car completely soaked through.

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My shoes (stupidly didn't wear my Gore-Tex boots) didn't dry until we got to Agrigento.

Posted by elefantstn 18.11.2007 18:44 Archived in Italy Tagged postcards Comments (0)

Segesta

wherein i start the photo upload

sunny 18 °C

Our first day trip out of Trapani came on Saturday 11/3, to Segesta:

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Segesta is a Greek colony in the hills along the western coast of the island, perched on top of Monte Barbaro, with a commanding view of the valley towards the Gulf of Castellamare. At war with Selinunte (which we would later visit), the Segestans hurriedly built an impressive temple to con representatives from Athens, hoping to earn an alliance. The roof was never finished, but the rest of the temple is very well preserved:

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At the very height of the city's acropolis is a beautiful theater, which looks out over the sea in the distance.

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By sheer size, Segesta was probably not the most impressive city in Greek Sicily, but it has a uniquely beautiful situation, and even on a weekend, it was quiet and uncrowded. Great start to the trip.

Posted by elefantstn 18.11.2007 18:33 Archived in Italy Tagged postcards Comments (0)

Worked out ok.

sunny 15 °C

Fortunately we ended up finding a great place to stay here in Piazza Armerina, had a great visit to the Villa Romana just outside the city with its mosaics, and are in the middle of an endless number of pasticcerie. Best cookie so far has pistachio paste inside and white chocolate outside.

Tonight is it, then we're off to Catania to catch our flights. We'll see everyone soon.

Josh and Colleen

Posted by elefantstn 10.11.2007 07:03 Archived in Italy Tagged lodging Comments (0)

I really did it this time

sunny 21 °C

On our way out to Palermo on Wednesday, our host Ignazio stopped us at the door. "Are you leaving today?" Of course not, I thought, until I did the math on the cost and how many nights we'd been there in my head. I'd moved up all the lodging dates a day when I made the reservations. We packed and headed to Mandranova. It'll work out fairly nicely anyway, since we'll be able to stay a night in Piazza Armerina, at the site of a second century Roman villa with famous mosaics, and about an hour closer to our flight home from Catania.

Meantime, my bragging about great planning has subsided a bit.

There is a wireless point at the Rome airport, so all of our photos should get uploaded during our layover there Sunday. Until then, ci parliamo.

Posted by elefantstn 09.11.2007 03:27 Archived in Italy Tagged lodging Comments (1)

Day Trip Roundup

I leave this as a placeholder until I can upload photos and full journals:

  • Friday: Settled in, walked around town, got pizza and gelato, crashed

  • Saturday: Drove to Segesta to see Greek temple and theater, drove to Alcamo to see old Arab town, home for dinner

  • Sunday: Took funicular up to Erice, medieval walled town above Trapani, saw churches, castles, phenomenal views, completely soaked in downpour, shoes still airing out

  • Monday: Drove to Marsala, explored old town, visited cantina to sample Marsala wines, home for dinner

  • Tuesday (today): Took ferry to Mozia to see unearthed Phoenician town and archaeological finds, home for quick break, about to take ferry out to Favignana

  • Wednesday (tomorrow): Train into Palermo

Posted by elefantstn 06.11.2007 06:44 Archived in Italy Tagged postcards Comments (0)

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