The Norman Castle in Erice is also known as the Venus Castle, because its history has its fulcrum and origin in the goddess of fertility.
Where the fortress is now, there used to be a temple dedicated to Potnia, the goddess of fecundity worshipped by the Elymians, an ancient pre-Roman population that inhabited this part of Western Sicily.
According to legend, this is also where Erix was buried after dying in a boxing match against Hercules. Erix was the son of an Argonaut and of Aphrodite, and Erice was named after him.
Virgil says another son of Aphrodite-Venus, Aeneas, buried his father Anchises in this area, before traveling to Lazio.
In the 12th century, he Normans used the stones of the temple to build the castle, which was restored after a long period of decadence in the 19th century by Count Agostino Piepoli. He had the pentagonal tower rebuilt after it has been destroyed in the 1400s, and created a beautiful English-style garden, open to the public and destined to become a symbol of the town.
Just another proof of Sicily’s fertile beauty.