The Pepoli tower is a fascinating monument built on a rocky ridge visible from the castles of Erice which overlook it.
Built in the nineteenth century, the building has attracted politicians, artists, writers, historians to its rooms. All invited by Count Agostino Pepoli, owner of the property.
After several decades of neglect, the town of Erice has decided to renovate the building and make it accessible to the public again. With the high-sounding name of International Observatory of peace and light of the Mediterranean, the Pepoli Tower of Erice will host a multimedia museum whose theme - peace - will be the central idea of the visit.
A full description of the tower can be viewed on the page: Pepoli Tower.
At the time of writing, the museum is not yet active, but the building, totally renovated, is worth a visit anyway, if only for the stunning views that it gives.
As usual, we take the cable car, which in 10 minutes takes us to the summit. 10 minutes of silence and beauty of the landscape as the cabin rises along about 3 kilometres that separate the valley from the summit.
10 minutes during which the eye can wander to the Egadi Islands in the distance sitting on an indigo sea. Trapani is at our feet and away to the south we can see the silvery reflections of Salt Pans of Trapani and then further, along the salt road we can contemplate Marsala in the distance and the shadow of Mazara del Vallo, distant and ethereal more than 50 km away.
A great, fresh day thanks to which the eye is able to embrace almost the entire province of Trapani from this privileged position.
As we mentioned, the Pepoli tower has undergone restoration and, since it was a ruin, it has been transformed into a beautiful butterfly perched on rocks north of Erice.
Upon arriving at the summit, we begin to climb the slope that will take to the streets and then, turning to the right, towards the Balio gardens and then to our final destination.
Along the way we have the opportunity to observe the magnificent Cathedral from 1300, and its soaring bell tower which was built, in principle, with the function of a watchtower.
Going up the road, we continue our journey among traditional restaurants and local craft shops. The explosion of colours here is strong, as the craft tradition of Erice includes picturesque pottery, colourful "puppets" and textile works such as patterned rugs. Always present at the sides of the roads, are some stalls selling typical gastronomic products: honey, wine, oil, spirits, tasty sweets that accompany us along this climb up towards the main square with its characteristic paving.
We take a road on the right that leads us to the Balio gardens placed immediately above the renovated tower and we walk the last part of the way in the company of the ever-present and quaint gift shops.
The spectacular Pepoli restored tower that emerges from a riot of trees and vegetation fills the heart. Accustomed to seeing it run down and dilapidated, this new aspect of the building greatly enhances and embelleshes the landscape.
We walk on the path, which has also been restored with white stones and we admire a view of the castle of Venus that we did not know before: the wall on the north cliff viewed from below. Along the shadowy path, everything is silent. A nest of birds peeps out of a crevice in the rock wall. A few more steps and finally we find ourselves in front of the wooden door of the building through which we enter to admire the rooms and atmosphere that accompanied the Count Pepoli during his stay in this place.
Obviously, thw whole of the interior has been renovated so the original atmosphere probably has been lost. The Erice majolica floor tiles is a statement of style that we appreciate.
The small and weloming rooms allow us to reflect on how the concept of "living space" has changed over the decades. Small corridors, small rooms, small doors and stairs that lead us to the first floor where you can admire one of the views that have made Erice famous.
Our visit is over. It is just a shame that the multimedia museum was not up and running, but we intend to return when it is.
If you go to Erice, a visit to the Pepoli Tower will not disappoint!