My husband and I are not the most traditional people, but before we got engaged we sure had dreams about a romantic wedding in a country where the sun always shines and food’s in abundance.
In May 2012, Geerard and I got married in a beautiful Sicilian village called Erice. Two years later, the 24th of May 2014 is our second anniversary so I thought it would be fun to dedicate a blog to the most beautiful day of our lives.
The day Geerard asked me to marry him in Venice (March 2011), we already knew we’d have an unforgettable wedding at a very special place. Sicily, a dream island in the southern part of Italy turned out to be the perfect location to make this dream come true. It was love at first sight: we adored the nature and landscapes, the beautiful Sicilian architecture, the outstanding food, delicious wines and the hospitality of the Sicilian people.
A local friend who lives in Trapani told us about a very romantic medieval village up the mountain, not far from Trapani which you could reach by cable-way. We got quite curious to get to know this little village and soon we went up to see it for ourselves. I can’t remember being so touched by the beauty of a place as Erice. In just an instant we decided to get married here.
Erice in Sicily
Erice is a medieval village in the province of Trapani. It lies on top of the mountain San Giuliano at 750 metres of height. You can imagine that at some days, the village is surrounded by clouds which gives a mysterious atmosphere. The village has a splendid view (360 degree panorama) over the city and port of Trapani, the salt pans, the Egadi Islands, the North African coast and the azure sea. I think it has the most spectacular view in whole of Sicily!
Erice is like an open air museum: the cathedral (Chiesa Matrice) dates from 1330, there’s a Normandy castle (Castelo di Venere), several ruins and approximately 14 little churches of divergent styles. The village has many small alleys which were built by the rulers (Arabs) in order to defend the town. That’s what makes this town so charming. Piazza San Umberto is the main square where both tourists and locals meet. At and surrounding the square, you’ll find several nice terraces, restaurants and shops.
Tasting and enjoying Sicily
Sicily has an old culinary tradition which has been influenced by the occupiers, amongst which the Greek, French, Norman, Spanish and Arabs. Think of the famous Marsala wine which is produced in the Marsala region. Another Sicilian delicacy is the arancina, a tasteful rice ball rich of calories stuffed with cheese, ham, vegetables or meat. The cannollo is one of the best known dolci (sweets), a souvenir the Arabs left when they ruled the island. Cannolli’s are made of a fried dough roll stuffed with sweet ricotta cheese. One of our favourite Italian drinks is the Spritz Aperol (I bet you had it before?). It’s an appetiser consisting of white wine/prosecco, sparkling water and Aperol liquor. Add some olives or a slice of orange, and you’ll be in heaven for a moment.
Our wedding cake, made by Maria Grammatico
A month before our wedding, we went to a very special bakery in Erice, named La Pasticceria di Maria Grammatico. We read that Maria, the owner of the bakery, is renowned in the whole of Sicily and beyond for her culinary expertise. Even a book has been written about her, ‘Bitter Almonds’. The book tells about her youth when she lived in an orphan house run by strict nuns who taught her the ropes of baking. Her specialties are marzipan and almond pastry. While in her shop, she invited us for a tasting to decide between two of her best wedding cakes. We loved them both so took both flavours!
Il Carmine, charming old abbey in Erice
The name and history of this old abbey that dates from 1423 inspired us to pay it a visit while in Erice. The abbey has been fully restored and transformed into a hotel with nine rooms, always preserving its original style. Elena, the friendly receptionist was surprised to hear we wanted to glance quickly at the interior of the building. We told her we were looking for a special location for our guests since we were getting married in a year.
There’s no wedding without a proper reception and extensive dinner, so we asked for advice at Il Carmine. They tipped us about a beautiful place that rented cottages, situated on the northern part of the village at the edge of the mountain. It seemed that hotel La Pineta, run by signore Vincenzo, could cater for our wedding since they had a restaurant. The beautiful terrace amidst some trees and with a spectacular sea view was the ideal location to host our reception and dinner. We soon imagined ourselves there with our guests, eating Maria Grammatico’s delicious wedding cake while drinking prosecco. And this all came true…
Sicilian wedding in Erice
The wedding day arrived and everything went just as we planned and it was even better. A day before the actual wedding it was foggy and raining, but it miraculously changed on our wedding day. In the morning the sun came through and we couldn’t wait for the photographer (Nino Lombardo) to arrive. We took lovely pictures with our guests who were surprised by the beauty of Erice. The 24th of May 2012 was full of joy, happiness and emotional moments at the ceremony in the municipality. This all was combined with the best Sicily has to offer: fantastic antipasti and food, tasty wines and prosecco, great hospitality of the people involved and lots of sun and spectacular views.
Now, two years later, Geerard and I keep the most sweet memories of this beautiful Sicilian wedding and the people that were present. We’re already looking forward to the reunion! Soon I hope…
Don’t forget to watch our wedding video on youtube!
Photography by Nino Lombardo and Orange Spots.