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Agrigento

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Agrigento (Sicilian: Girgenti or Giurgenti) is the capital of the eponymous province on the Italian island of Sicily.

Understand

Agrigento is primarily famous for the Valley of Temples, impressive remains of Greek Doric temples. Since 1997 the Valley of Temples and the other ancient sites in the area have been included in the UNESCO's World Heritage List.

During the golden age of Ancient Greece, it was known as Akragas (Ἀκράγας). One of the leading cities of Magna Graecia, it was the hometown of philosopher Empedocles. Later on, it became Agrigentum in Latin, and Kirkent or Jirjent in Arabic.

Agrigento is the birthplace of the novelist, poet and playwright Luigi Pirandello who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1934.

Tourist information

  • 1 Ufficio Informazioni, Via Cesare Battisti, 15, ☏ +39 0922 20454, ✉ aast_ag@virgilio.it.

Get in

By train

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 5 km 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.

  • 1 Stazione di Agrigento Centrale.

By bus

Frequent buses run to Palermo (Down the street from Stazione Centrale), CaltanissettaCataniaSciacca and close(ish) to Eraclea Minoa. A few also run to Gela and Trapani via Mazara del ValloMarsala in 2 hr 20 min (Salvatore Lumia Bus) and Castelvetrano (for Selinunte).

  • 2 Stazione bus, Piazzale Fratelli Rosselli.

By boat

There are daily boats and hydrofoils in summer (fewer boats and no hydrofoils in winter) from Agrigento's port 3 km away - Porto Empedocle to the islands of Lampedusa and Linosa. See SIREMAR and Ustica Lines. There are frequent local buses from Porto Empedocle into Agrigento.

Get around

On foot

The town centre and its medieval streets can easily be reached on foot from the train station.

By bus

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. Take buses 1, 2 or 3 for the Archeological Museum and slightly further downhill, the main entrance of the Valle dei Templi.

  • TUA (Trasporti Urbani Agrigento). Tickets should be bought before boarding from a bar or tabacchi and validated on board the bus. Single €1.20; Single onboard €1.70; Day pass €3.40.

See

Valle dei Templi

  • 1 Valle dei Templi (Parco Archeologico e Paesaggistico della Valle dei Templi), Via Panoramica dei Templi, snc (Casa Sanfilippo) (take bus 1 from Piazzale Rosselli; get off at 2 Clinica S.Anna / Parcheggio Porta V; alternatively take buses 2,3 get off at 3 Posto di ristoro / Templi, there is no entrance here anymore, so walk down road approx. 600 m following road signs towards "Porta V" entrance; also bus "2/" (confirm with the driver) should stop at the 4 Tempio di Giunone entrance which is at the opposite end of the park), ☏ +39 0922 621657, ✉ urp.parcoag@regione.sicilia.it. Via Sacra and Temple of Jupiter: 08:30-19:00; Hellenistic Roman Quarter, the Temple of Demeter and other remote areas: 08:30-17:00. €10, combined Park-Museum €15.

The Valley of Temples is a string of five Greek temples stretching along a ridge to the south of the city. It is a sight worthy of comparison to the Acropolis 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. There is a shuttle bus that runs through the site (€3 for one stop, Nov 2019). Parking costs €1 for 30 min to a maximum of €5 (Nov 2019).

    • 2 Tempio di Ercole (Temple of Hercules). The first temple east of the entrance is 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.
    • 3 Tomba di Terone (Tomb of Theron). Just behind the main temple.
    • 4 Tempio della Concordia (Temple of Concord). Further east is quite impressive large and relatively well preserved structure built around 440-450 BC.
    • 5 Tempio di Giunone (Temple of Juno). The path continues above small cliffs at the edge of the ridge to the partially ruined temple. The location offers a great spot to look back down the ridge to the other temples.
    • 6 Tempio di Giove (Temple of Jupiter). To the west of the main entrance is the massive temple 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.
    • 7 Tempio di Dioscure. A smaller temple just behind the Tempio di Giove.

An audio tour is available at the entrance to the temples. (Some ID is required as security for these, which means walking back the entire length of the site just to give the guide back).

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).

  • 8 Museo Archeologico Regionale "Pietro Griffo", Contrada San Nicola 12 (Buses 1, 2, 2/, 3 from Piazzale Rosselli.), ☏ +39 0922401565. Tu-Sa 09:00-19:00, Su-M 09:00-13:00. The museum is about half way from the station to the Valley of the Temples and contains artifacts taken from the site. It was built to accommodate a huge telamon, reconstructed from pieces. €8.
  • 9 Quartiere Ellenistico - Romano (Hellenistic-Roman Quarter) (across the road from the museum). The remains of the ancient city of "Akragas".

Historical centre

The old centre of Agrigento is also worth a visit.

  • 10 Cattedrale di San Gerlando. Nov-Mar: Tu-Su 10:00-13:00; Apr-Oct: Tu-Su 10:00-13:30, 15:30-19:00. 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.
  • 11 Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Greci, Salita Santa Maria dei Greci. Nov-Mar: Tu-Su 10:00-13:00; Apr-Oct: Tu-Su 10:00-13:30, 15:30-19:00. An interesting Norman church built some 1000 years ago on the site of an ancient Greek temple. Free admittance.

Do

  • 1 Via Atenea. Stroll along small shops and throngs with locals during the evening passeggiata.

Events

  • Festa del Mandorlo in Fiore (almond Blossom Festival) towards the end of February is to be commended.

Eat

Sample the Greek-influenced cuisine, especially eggplant (aubergine) and olive oil-based dishes.

  • Passo dei Briganti (Farmhouse), Highway N° 1 Villaseta-Agrigento, ☏ +39 393 12 41 080, +39 328 62 57 587, ✉ passodeibriganti@libero.it.
  • La Terrazza degli Dei, Via Passeggiata Archeologica, 33 (inside the 5-star Hotel Villa Athena), ☏ +39 0922 596288, ✉ info@hotelvillaathena.it. Open every day for lunch and dinner 12:30-18:30, 20:00-22:30. Gourmet cuisine with local products and fresh fish.

Drink

Sleep

Budget

  • B&B Le Cinque Novelle (B&B Le Cinque Novelle), Via Amendola 24 (city center), ☏ +39 0922 20232, +39 320 3146111, fax: +39 0922 080325, ✉ info@lecinquenovelle.it. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 10:30. Free parking, 2 km from the Valley of the Temples min €50, max €80 for room.
  • Villa Nicoletta, Via Rosmunda 16 (Between Agrigento and San Leone, 2 km from the sea), ✉ eninfo@bbvillanicoletta.it. €20-25 per person.
  • B&B Night and Day, Via Romano 9 (Close to the main street via Atenea), ✉ bbnightandday@gmail.com. Quiet and good value accommodation with clean rooms, central located and priced reasonably. Impressive view from the common terrace. Rooms from €50.
  • Belvedere (Via San Vito 20), ☏ +39 0922 20051. Up some steps around the corner from the station. Large & plain, but cheap and friendly.
  • Oceano&Mare (Bed and Breakfast Oceano&Mare), Via Caterina D'Altavilla 35 (In San Leone, 200 m from the sea), ☏ +39 0922 413041, fax: +39 0922 413041, ✉ info@oceanoemare.it. €30 per person.

Mid-range

  • Agrigento Hotel Villa Holiday, Via Ettore Gabrici N.9, 92100 Agrigento, ☏ +39 0922 606332, ✉ info@villaholidayagrigento.com. Small hotel with private car park 2 km from the beach, 4 km from the Valley of the Temples €45-55 for a double room.
  • Hotel Baglio della Luna, C.da Maddalusa S.S. 640, Km 4, 150, ph (near the Valley of the Temples), ☏ +39 0922 511061, fax: +39 0922 598802. Rural hotel.
  • 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.

Splurge

  • Hotel Costa Azzurra (Saint Leone).
  • Hotel Dioscuri bay Palace, Set in a very nice bay, on the promenade of San Leone. The hotel has 102 rooms, all with balcony over the sea or the hinterland. Bedrooms are decorated uniformly in soft colors. All rooms offer modern amenities such as hairdryer, frigo-bar, telephone, TV color and balcony. Bathrooms are provided either with bathtub or shower.
  • Hotel Villa Athena, Via Passeggiata Archeologica 33 (inside the Valley of Temples), ☏ +39 0922596288, ✉ info@hotelvillaathena.it. Beautiful rooms and suites overlooking the Concordia Temple, a brand new spa, a garden with private pool and the restaurant La Terrazza degli Dei, in a panoramic terrace in front of the Valley.

Go next

  • Porto Empedocle – a port town very close by which forms a conurbation with Agrigento; also famous rocks of Scala dei Turchi and Villa Romana next to it
  • Heraclea Minoa – on the coast 25 km to the north-west
  • Caltanissetta – inland to the north-east
  • Gela – on the coast 64 km to the south-east


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