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|−|[http://www.valleyofthetemples.com The Valley of the Temples and Agrigento. A visitor's guide] | |
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Revision as of 19:21, 11 September 2008
Agrigento is a medium-sized city on the south coast of Sicily, Italy, famous for its Greek Valley of Temples.
Temple of Concord, Agrigento
Frequent trains run from the station near the centre of town to Palermo and Caltanissetta, less frequently to Enna (but not that useful - the station in Enna is about 5km below the town). The journey to/from Palermo takes 2 hours and costs €7.45. Connecting with the east of Sicily by train is not easy, and takes a long time.
The train station is at Piazza Marconi, on the southeast corner of the old town.
Frequent buses run to Palermo, Caltanissetta, Catania, Sciacca and close(ish) to Eraclea Minoa. A few also run to Gela and Trapani via Mazara del Vallo, Marsala and Castelvetrano (for Selinunte).
There are daily boats and hydrofoils in summer (fewer boats and no hydrofoils in winter) from Agrigento's port 3km away - Porto Empedocle to the islands of Lampedua and Linosa. See SIREMAR and Ustica Lines. There are frequent local buses from Porto Empedocle into Agrigento.
The town center and its medieval streets can easily be reached on foot from the train station.
Frequent city buses run from outside the train station, stopping at the Archeological Museum and slightly further downhill, the main entrance of the Valle dei Templi. Buses 1, 2 and 3 all head down to the temples but you must buy your ticket before boarding from the bar inside the station (€0.90 for the 5-10 minute ride) and validate it once on board the bus. You could also walk, but it can get very hot in summer.
The Valley of Temples
Temple of Herakles (Ercole), Agrigento
Stretching along a ridge to the south of the city are a string of five Greek temples, a sight worthy of comparison to the Acropolis itself in Athens. The temples are usually divided into two zones: the Eastern Zone and Western Zone each side of the main entrance and the road from the city centre.
It can get punishingly hot in summer and there is little shade other than some olive trees along the ridge itself.
Entrance costs €6.00 plus extra for an audio tour or a simple map (July 2007).
- The first temple east of the entrance is the Tempio di Ercole or Temple of Hercules - long, thin and about 1/3 standing. It is the oldest of the temples, built towards the end of the 6th century BC. Next to it are some interesting deep ruts formed by ancient carriages.
- Next heading east is the large Tempio della Concordia or Temple of Concord - a very impressive almost complete structure built around 440-450 BC.
- The track the continues above small cliffs at the edge of the ridge to the Tempio di Giunone or Temple of Juno. Partially ruined, it offers a great spot to look back down the ridge to the other temples.
- To the west of the main entrance is the massive Tempio di Giove or Temple of Jupiter which was never completed and is now in ruins with little structure visible. Most notable is one of the huge stone statues now lying on the ground.
- Behind this is the small ruined Tempio di Dioscure.
- Beyond the main temple site is the small, but interesting Tomba di Terone.
To put all these sights in context, it is well worth visiting the Archeological Museum (half way back into the city centre) and the adjacent Roman Quarter (with a few nice mosaics).
Daily guided tours of the Valley of the Temples can be hired from VisitAgrigento  though an audio tour is available at the entrance to the temples.
Archaeological Museum and classical period living quarters
The Museum is about half way from the station to the Valley of the Temples and contains numerous artifacts taken from the site. It is purposely built to accommodate a huge telamon, reconstructed from pieces.
The residential quarters are on the other side of the road.
The old centre of Agrigento is also worth a visit.
- Via Atena has a range of small shops and throngs with locals during the evening passeggiata.
- The large cathedral is uphill in the northwestern corner of the town center on Via Duomo. Built around 1000 AD it has since been altered several times but today offers grand views across the valley. The cathedral is closed from 12-4pm.
- Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Greci, Salita Santa Maria dei Greci. An interesting Norman church built some 1000 years ago on the site of a an ancient Greek temple. Free.
A visit at the time of the Festa del Mandorlo in Fiori (almond Blossom Festival) towards the end of February is to be commended.
Sample the Greek-influenced cuisine, especially eggplant (aubergine) and olive oil-based dishes.
- Villa Nicoletta, Via Rosmunda 16 (Between Agrigento and San Leone, 2km from the sea), (firstname.lastname@example.org), . €20-25 per person.
- Belvedere Via San Vito 20 (+39) 0922 20051. Up some steps around the corner from the station. Large & plain, but cheap.
- Oceano&Mare (Bed and Breakfast Oceano&Mare), Via Caterina D'Altavilla 35 (In San Leone, 200m from the sea and 4 from the Valley of the Temples), ☎ +39 0922 413041 (email@example.com, fax: "="+39), . €30 per person.
- Hotel Baglio della Luna, C.da Maddalusa S.S. 640, Km 4, 150, ph. +39 0922.511061 fax. +39 0922.598802 , . The natural elegance of Sicily lives in the fascinating rural setting of Hotel Baglio della Luna, at the doors of the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. Very expensive
- Camere a Sud, in the old town centre off Via Athena. Very small, tidy, stylish and modern B&B with nice breakfast served on the roof terrace .
- Agrigento Hotel Villa Holiday, Small hotel at Agrigento with private car park 2km from the beach 4km from the Valley of the Temples.price= €45-55 for a double room..firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hotel Costa Azzurra, (Saint Leone).
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