Erice encapsulated many of the simple things that bring me joy. It is perched on the top of a hill surrounded by lush forest. The crisp mountain air and birdsong was reminiscent of many good days spent in the Dandenong Ranges, east of Melbourne back in Australia. No matter where our travels take us I dream of Mike and I ending up somewhere in a cosy cottage snugged away in the hills, surrounded my nature. Erice was adorned with many beautifully imperfect and aging details along its cobbled streets and winding narrow lanes. My favourite season bedecked the town in autumn hues, enhancing it’s rustic beauty even more.
Driving through Southern Italy and especially Sicily it seems every other hill top has a village or remnants of one perched precariously on its summit. Given that Sicily was conquered by anyone who was anyone throughout human history I’m guessing building delightful villages on the most inconveniently high precipices they could find was not an endeavour in aesthetics and picturesque vistas. I am very glad they went to the trouble though coz it’s just so cool.
Erice’s castles and churches were home to all sorts of shenanigans, including sacred prostitution, animals to be sacrificed allegedly strolling up to the altar, and the goings on of a mysterious cult who claimed descent from Venus’ famous Trojan son, Aeneas. Mike and I ascended the tower’s spiral staircase that was evidently made for vertically challenged people and took in some lovely views of the village and visited the main church, Chiesa Matrice.
While we were strolling past ceramics stores in the town I pondered the tragedy of travelling the world and seeing beautiful things but not being able to buy any of them because we live in a motorhome. I came to the happy realisation in Erice that I can and should be buying (small) local hand-crafted items for our future cottage in the hills. So, I bought a small circular hand painted ceramic tile that I just can’t wait to hang on our cottage wall and smile every time I look at it.