Figure. San Domenico monastery – “Paul Dirac Lecture Hall”

Information Bulletin for Participants

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The "Ettore Majorana" Foundation and International Centre for Scientific Culture is situated in the old pre-mediaeval city of Erice where three 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. These ancient buildings are now named after great Scientists and strong supporters of the "Ettore Majorana" Centre.

The Centre has its secretary and headquarters at the San Rocco Monastery (The Rabi Institute). Upon your arrival you will be registered at this building. See the map at the end for more information. All lectures will be held at the San Domenico Monastery is now the Patrick M.S. Blackett Institute with the "Paul A.M. Dirac" Lecture Hall. It is 2 minutes’ walk from San Rocco (see the map).

The San Rocco Monastery is now the Rabi Institute with the "Richard P. Feynman" Lecture Hall, the Directorate and the main Secretariat of the Centre. There are living quarters in all the Institutes for people attending the Courses of the Centre.


Ettore Majorana Centre, Via Guarnotta, 26, I-91016 ERICE, Italy - Telephone: +39 0923
Web page:


By Air. There are many flights from Rome to Palermo, a few from Milan apart from the international connections. On the initial and final day transfers are provided by the Ettore Majorana Centre. At Arrivals, look for the meeting-point poster "Ettore Majorana Centre". Go to the tourist office in the Arrivals area if you have any problems. In all cases, it is essential that all travel plans be finalized and made known, by e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as soon as possible.

By Train. Via Milan / Rome, you can reach Trapani directly. From Trapani, to reach Erice comfortably, a taxi is suggested. Confirm the price before taking the taxi.

By Road. There are two possibilities:

  1. Drive along the Autostrada del Sole via Milan - Bologna - Florence - Rome - Naples - Villa San Giovanni (Reggio Calabria); then take a ferry boat from Villa San Giovanni to Messina and drive to Erice (350 km from Messina).
  2. Take the ferry boat either from Genoa or Naples to Palermo, and then drive on to Erice (100 km from Palermo). The places on the ferry boat must be booked well in advance.


ARRIVAL (October 2nd, 2016)

Participants must communicate their arrival and departure times and flight numbers well in advance of their arrival. As mentioned in previous email and on the website, on the official arrival day (October 7th, 2016), transportation from Palermo and Trapani airports to Erice will be provided by the Ettore Majorana Centre (this is included in your fees). Outside this date no service will be provided. You should found your own arrangements to reach the centre (Chauffeur Driven Service: +39 3362888923 / +39 3476728057 – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Participants arriving at airport should look for the driver holding a sign “Ettore Majorana Centre” inside the terminal at the arrival gate. The driver will be waiting for you. Please, keep in mind that there could be hourly collection depending on the arrival schedule of several participants. This means that you could wait some times until other participants will arrive with their flights at approximately the same time. Delays are hard to anticipate and therefore it is possible for some participants to experience some significant delays before the driver will leave the airport for the centre. Drivers are continuously running the shuttles and therefore do not be anxious if you do not see the driver at the arrival gate (he could ha on his way to pick you up!).


Participants should register upon arrival at the Centre Secretariat (Rabi Institute in San Rocco). Once the driver has guided you to San Rocco, you must enter the secretary office and fill up your registration form with your information (including passport number and flights information). The secretary will release you a number or code on a paper sheet that will be the information corresponding to your room number. Another personnel of the centre will collect this information and bring you to your accommodation together with other participants that are hosted in the same building. This procedure may take several minutes depending on how many participants will arrive at the same moment with the shuttles.


On October 2nd, after dinner, at 9 pm we will meet at the “piano room” of the Rabi Institute (see information below) for an informal welcome party. Basically, there will be plenty of Marsala. You are free to join and enjoy.

DEPARTURE (October 7th).

The day before the departure (Oct. 6th) at the entrance hall of the Rabi Institute (San Rocco) there will be an information sheet indicating the time of your pick up the following day. The pick up point is at the entrance of the Rabi Institute. The driver will come to pick you up and you will follow him to the shuttle parking lot.


  • It is a deliberate policy of the EMFCSC to help the local economy. The expansion of our living quarters has been accordingly tuned: thus often it happens that participants are also lodged in hotels, either because a course is too numerous or because there are parallel activities encouraged in order to establish interdisciplinary links. Young participants, if possible, may be kindly requested to share rooms. Please send information to this regard to Cinzia Nasso.
  • There is a "coffee room" in the I.I. Rabi Institute (in the back of the courtyard on  the right-hand side under the staircase) where coffee, tea, mineral water and snacks are available (free) at any time. This "coffee room" is also used for breakfast.
  • There is a "piano room" or “Marsala room” (you will learn why). This room is the small central room under the arches at the back of the  courtyard at the I.I. Rabi Institute) with a keg of Marsala wine (free). This "piano room" can also be used for working parties. After dinner people like to come here and have a good time with free Marsala wine. The "piano room" must be closed before midnight.
  • The Centre has two washing machines and two dryers for use by the participants (at the rear of the courtyard at the I.I. Rabi Institute).
  • The computer room is located off the left-hand side of the I.I. Rabi courtyard.



All participants, as well as accompanying persons, are kindly asked to wear their identification badge at all times.


The locations of all housing facilities (Centre, Institutes and Hotels) are shown on the Erice map included in the documents you will receive upon registration.


Residents in the I.I. Rabi, Eugene P. Wigner and Patrick M.S. Blackett Institutes will have breakfast on a self-service basis in the "coffee room" in the I.I. Rabi Institute (in the back of the courtyard on the right-hand side under the staircase). Participants housed in the hotels will have breakfast at their hotels.


Coffee, tea, milk, mineral water, fruit and sandwiches are available (free of charge) in the "coffee room" at the I.I. Rabi Institute at any time.


A selected list of recommended restaurants is displayed in the entrance hall of the I.I. Rabi Institute (but you will receive this information in the material you will receive upon your arrival). The closing day of each restaurant is given in the list. The restaurant owner will ask the participants to sign a form where the appropriate activity is indicated (Course, Seminar etc.) in order to keep a record. Please sign legibly; accompanying members must sign too. At lunch and dinner, it is advisable for participants to distribute themselves in small groups in order to avoid too many people crowding into the same restaurant, and in order to have faster service. Please wear your badge.


The local tap water is drinkable, however, you will find bottles of mineral water in your room (unless you are staying in one of the hotels). Empty bottles will be replaced by the room maid, free of charge. More bottles are available for all participants in the storage room at the I.I. Rabi Institute.


Self-service washing machines (and dryers) are available in the storage room at the back of the courtyard in the I.I. Rabi Institute.


The public telephone (and an automatic magnetic telephone-card dispenser) in the I.I. Rabi Institute is located on the 1 st floor at the back of the courtyard. There is also a public telephone in the Eugene P. Wigner Institute (ground floor). Public telephones are also available at the "Tabacchi" shops in Piazza Umberto I and in Via Generale G. Salerno not far from the Elimo Hotel. Magnetic telephone cards can also be purchased at the "Tabacchi" shops.


Pigeon holes for incoming mail are located in the entrance hall of the I.I. Rabi Institute. The Post Office is in Via Guarnotta, 100 metres away from the I.I. Rabi Institute's entrance (on the way to the Eugene P. Wigner Institute). The Bank is in the main square (Piazza Umberto 1) facing the Nuovo Edelweiss restaurant. Bank hours are from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm. Change can also be obtained at the Post Office (until 1:00 pm).


The shops in Erice are open from 9:00 am (or 10:00 am) to 1:00 pm and from 4:00 pm to 7:30 pm. We recommend those which allow a discount to the participants: please ask before paying. The Pharmacy is in Via Cordici off the main square (Piazza Umberto 1).There are no foreign language newspaper shops.


There is no charge for the social events and for the bus bringing us to the excursion programmed by the Centre (Oct. 5th). For the excursion to the temples of Selinunte and Segesta, the bus pick-up/drop-off point will be at 8:45 am at the large parking area at Viale Pepoli (Porta Trapani). We will first visit Selinunte, an ancient Greek Colony of the V century BC. For each temple there will be a cost of 6 euros for the entrance. Students will have a discount but must bring their University Badge. At the temples may be hot, therefore bring sun cream, a hat and a swimming suit (Selinunte is at the sea, and some prefer to reach the beach instead of admiring the old rocks.
We will eat at a Restaurant nearby Selinunte. The cost of the meal is covered by the Centre. After lunch we will move to Segesta, where we will visit the temple and the ancient theatre. Again the cost for the entrance is 6 euros.


As Erice is situated on top of a mountain at an altitude of 750 metres, it is much cooler than at sea level. Therefore, we would advise you to bring some warm clothing, and a windbreaker or anorak, even in the Summer. The weather is rather unpredictable in Erice and the temperature can suddenly change.


According to legend, Erice, son of Venus and Neptune, founded a small town on top of a mountain (750 metres above sea level) more than three thousand years ago. The founder of modern history-i.e. the recording of events in a methodic and chronological sequence as they really happened without reference to mythical causes -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". This inspired Virgil to describe the arrival of the Troyan royal family in Erice and the burial of Anchise, by his son Enea, on the coast below Erice. Homer (-1000 B.C.), Theocritus (-300 B.C.), Polybius (~200 B.C.), Virgil (~50 B.C.), Horace (~20 B.C.), and others have celebrated this magnificent spot in Sicily in their poems. 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. Other masterpieces of ancient civilization are to be found in the neighbourhood: at Motya (Phoenician), Segesta (Elymian), and Selinunte (Greek). On the Aegadian Islands –theatre of the decisive naval battle of the first Punic War (264-241B.C.) - suggestive  neolithic and paleolithic vestiges are still visible: the grottoes of Favignana, the carvings and murals of Levanzo. 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.


  • Anne Ferguson-Smith - UK
  • Gavin Kelsey - UK
  • Anthony Isles - UK
  • Valter Tucci - ITA

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