Erice is a historic town in the province of Trapani in Sicily, Italy.
Erice is located on top of Mount Erice, at around 750m above sea level, overlooking the city of Trapani, the low western coast towards Marsala, the dramatic Punta del Saraceno and Capo san Vito to the north-east, and the Aegadian Islands on Sicily's north-western coast, providing spectacular views.
The ancient name of Erice was Eryx, and its foundation was associated with the eponymous Greek hero Eryx. It was not a Greek colony, but was largely Hellenized. It was destroyed in the First Punic War by the Carthaginians, and from then on declined in importance.
In the northeastern portion of the city there are the remains of ancient Elymian and Phoenician walls indicating different stages of settlement and occupation in antiquity.
There are two castles that remain in the city: Pepoli Castle, which dates from Saracen times, and the Venus Castle, dating from the Norman period, built on top of the ancient Temple of Venus, where Venus Ericina was worshipped. According to legend, the temple was founded by Aeneas. It was well-known throughout the Mediterranean area in the ancient age, and an important cult was celebrated in it. In his book On the Nature of Animals, Aelian writes that animals chosen for sacrifice would voluntarily walk up to the altar to be killed.
The Gondola lift chairs up to the top of Erice are closed from mid January to mid March.
Erice hosts important scientific meetings at the Ettore Majorana center, organised by the controversial astrophysicist Antonio Zichichi.