In ancient Sicily, Aphrodite was one of the most venerated Greek goddesses. The goddess of love, beauty, and pleasure, she was especially important in western Sicily, where in Erice, her temple–known since Roman times as the Temple of Venus (her Roman name)–was a destination of pilgrims for centuries. Those seeking romance and success with love and procreation would climb the 2460 feet to the top of Mount Eryx seeking blessings. Although the temple was destroyed in the 12th century by the Normans to build a castle (known as the Castello di Venere), her dedicated devotees continued to congregate at the magnificent promontory overlooking the Tyrrhenian and Mediterranean Seas. Even today, remnants of worship of Aphrodite/Venus can be seen around Trapani province with bars and restaurants and other businesses named for their goddess.
This bust of the goddess, pictured, was made by an artist in Taormina.
Happy Valentine’s Day!