The Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture is named after an outstanding Italian physicist.
Embracing 123 Schools, covering all branches of Science, the Centre is situated in the old pre-mediaeval city of Erice where four restored monasteries (one of which was the residence of the Viceroy of Sicily during the XIV and XV Centuries) provide an appropriate setting for high intellectual endeavour.
According to legend, Erice, son of Venus and Neptune, founded a small town on top of a mountain (750 meters above sea level) more than three thousand years ago. The founder of modern history, the great Thucydides (500 B.C.), writing about events connected with the conquest of Troy (1183 B.C.) said: “After the fall of Troy some Trojans on their escape from the Achaei on the sea towards the West arrived in Sicily by boat and as they settled near the border with the Sicanians all together they were named Elymi: their towns were Segesta and Erice”. During seven centuries (XIII-XIX) the town of Erice was under the leadership of a local oligarchy, whose wisdom assured a long period of cultural development and economic prosperity which in turn gave rise to the many churches, monasteries and private palaces which you see today. In Erice you can admire the Castle of Venus, the Cyclopean Walls (800 B.C.) and the Gothic Cathedral (1300 A.D.). Erice is at present a mixture of ancient and medieval architecture.
Splendid beaches are to be found at San Vito Lo Capo, Scopello, and Comino, and a wild and rocky coast around Monte Cofano: all at less than one hour’s drive from Erice.