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Agrigento

Agrigento

Agrigento, known in antiquity as Akragas, is deeply rooted in ancient Greek history. Founded in 580 B.C., the city was established by Greek colonists from Gela, a Greek colony on the southern coast of Sicily. These colonists, led by Aristonoo and Pistillo, chose the site of Agrigento for its strategic position and fertility.

Agrigento soon became one of the most important political, economic, and cultural centers of Greek Sicily. Its wealth and power were evident in the magnificent temples and other architectural works that the ancient inhabitants built, many of which survive today in the famous Valley of the Temples, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Over the centuries, Agrigento underwent various dominations, including Roman, Arab, and Norman, each of which left an indelible mark on the city. These different layers of history have made Agrigento a unique place, rich in architectural and cultural variety.

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Valle dei Templi

The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, an archaeological site of exceptional importance and beauty, is home to the ruins of seven Doric temples, each a masterpiece of ancient Greek civilization. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a vivid testament to the glorious past of Agrigento, founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century B.C.

Temple of Concordia: Among the best-preserved of ancient Greece, the Temple of Concordia, built between 450 and 430 B.C., is an outstanding example of Doric architecture.

Temple of Zeus Olympios: Constructed in 480 B.C., it is renowned for its majestic size, although only remnants remain today. It was dedicated to celebrating the victory in the Battle of Himera.

Temple of Heracles: One of the oldest in the Valley, the Temple of Heracles (or Hercules for the Romans), reflects the veneration of the famed mythological hero.

Temple of Hera Lacinia (Temple of Juno): This temple, built at the end of the 5th century B.C., is distinguished by its elevated position and partially restored columns.

Temple of Hephaestus (Temple of Vulcan): Although little remains of this temple today, its existence attests to the importance of the cult of Hephaestus, the god of fire and metallurgy.

Temple of Castor and Pollux: Although the temple is largely a reconstruction from the modern era, its iconic columns have become one of the most recognizable symbols of the Valley.

Temple of Asclepius (Temple of Esculapius): Located away from the main cluster of temples, this temple was dedicated to the god of medicine and signifies the importance of healing practices in ancient Greece.

The Valley of the Temples is not just an archaeological site, but a place where history, art, and nature merge into a breathtaking landscape, offering visitors a window into the world of ancient Greece and its invaluable cultural heritage.

Scala dei Turchi: A Beach Like No other

The Scala dei Turchi, located on the southern coast of Sicily near Realmonte, is a natural wonder that captivates visitors with its extraordinary beauty and uniqueness. This geological formation, characterized by white marl and limestone cliffs, dramatically extends into the Mediterranean Sea, creating a stair-like effect, which gives it its name.

The Scala dei Turchi’s formation is the result of natural erosion and sedimentation processes that have occurred over thousands of years. The combined action of wind, sea, and rain has shaped these cliffs into a series of steps that appear almost man-made.

The name “Scala dei Turchi” (Stair of the Turks) has historical roots. It is said that in past centuries, it was frequented by Saracen pirates, known as “Turks,” who used these cliffs as a landing point and shelter. Their presence in the area has left an indelible mark in the local culture and the naming of this place.

Today, the Scala dei Turchi is not just a popular tourist attraction but also a cultural and natural symbol of Sicily. Its peculiar beauty and fascinating history continue to enchant visitors from all over the world, making it one of the most photographed and admired destinations on the island.

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Local Cuisine

Agrigento is a paradise for food lovers, where traditional dishes reflect the rich culinary heritage of Sicily.
Key dishes include arancini, which are fried rice balls filled with mozzarella or ragù, and pasta con finocchio e sarde.
This particular pasta dish is a flavorful combination of sardines and fennel, and according to a legend, it originated from a cook who prepared a meal with limited ingredients available on a boat, including wild fennel, pine nuts, dried pasta, saffron, raisins, and sardines.
For a unique dessert in Agrigento, the sweet couscous prepared by the nuns of the Santo Spirito Monastery is a must-try, showcasing the creative use of local ingredients in Sicilian sweets.

The Kolymbetra Garden: A Hidden Eden

The Kolymbetra Garden, located in the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, is a magnificent oasis that blends the charm of nature with the grandeur of history. This enchanting garden, often described as a hidden Eden, is a serene retreat amidst the ancient Greek ruins. Originally created by the ancient Greeks, it was an ingenious hydraulic engineering feat, designed to collect and distribute water for the city of Akragas. Over centuries, it has transformed from a practical water reservoir into a lush garden. During Arab rule, it was further developed into an agricultural haven, emphasizing fruit cultivation, especially citrus and almond trees. 

Now, you can stroll through lush citrus groves and almond trees, experiencing a peaceful atmosphere that contrasts with the monumental temples nearby. The garden, rich in biodiversity, showcases a variety of Mediterranean flora and fauna, making it a delightful haven for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike. 

This picturesque landscape provides a perfect setting for relaxation and contemplation, surrounded by the echoes of ancient civilizations.

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3 reasons why it's worth it

01

UNESCO’s Valley of the Temples: An incredible walk through ancient Greek history.

02

Scala dei Turchi: Stunning white cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean.

03

Local Cuisine: Authentic flavors in a breathtaking landscape.