Cathedral of Erice
The Real Madrice Insigne Collegiata Church , better known Cathedral of Erice , dedicated to Maria Assunta, is the main Catholic place of worship and the mother church of Erice. The cathedral, in Gothic style, stands on Piazza Matrice near Porta Trapani .
According to historical sources, the first construction of the Cathedral dates back to the 4th century AD. The history of the Cathedral of Erice is also intertwined with that of the Aragonese, in particular with the figure of Frederick III, King of Sicily, who, finding hospitality in the city of Erice during his escape from Palermo, financed the extensions of the old church, at the beginning of the fourteenth century, so as to donate a prestigious Cathedral to the city of Erice. The works began in 1314. The Cathedral of Erice was built next to the sighting tower , which was redeveloped into a bell tower . During the Sicilian Renaissance, the Cathedral of Erice was enriched with various additions, both in the external and in the internal part.
The external façade has an artistic rose window made up of diamond ashlar decoration, typical of Catalan art. The entrance portal of the Cathedral of Erice is extremely scenographic, made up of several arches that lead up to the actual entrance.
The bell tower with crenellations was, formerly called Torre di Re Federico , a 28 meter high structure built at the end of the 13th century by replacing it with a previous sighting tower built previously. Its facade is decorated with small double ogive windows.
The interior consists of three naves with pillars made of limestone tuff. The Cathedral of Erice is supported by several Corinthian-style columns , which blend with the Gothic style that prevails in the entire building . The various chapels, which occupy the walls of the side ones, are enriched by splendid paintings on canvas that present various religious representations.
Among the works kept inside the church, of considerable value are: the Greek crosses in marble from the temple of Venus Ericina; the marble icon with the Madonna enthroned in the center dating back to 1513, made by Giuliano Mancino.
The tourist information office of Erice is located inside the bell tower. Here you can buy tickets to visit the monuments of the medieval city. You can also climb the roof of the tower , through its 400 steps, from where you can enjoy an excellent view of Erice and part of the city of Trapani.