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Agrigento Travel guide

Agrigento hotels, Agrigento vacation packages 2019

An indispensable leg of a journey for those who want to know the "Magna Grecia", a necessary stop off for pilgrims of eastern spirit, a votive place dear to philosophers who went looking for knowledge even within the volcanos.

Agrigento was a meeting point for all the civilizations that have influenced the scene both externally and internally of Sicily and its proud inhabitants.

Agrigento

Agrigento Travel information

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Agrigento history

Located on a plateau overlooking Sicily's southern coast, Agrigento was founded as Akragas around 582 BC by a group of colonists from Gela, who themselves were the immediate descendants of Greeks from Rhodes and Crete. The area was inhabited much earlier; a female skull (that of the "girl of Mandrascava") found near Cannatello is half a million years old. A Mesolithic village at Point Bianca, farther down the coast toward Montechiaro Castle, dates from 6000 BC. Akragas was renamed Agrigentum by the Romans, and Girgenti by the Saracens, only to be christened Agrigento in 1927, but the place is the same. The medieval city of Agrigento is not without a certain charm. High in the historical center of the city, the Romanesque Gothic cathedral, built during the fourteenth century, still displays some of its medieval character, as does the thirteenth-century Church of San Nicola. Unfortunately, the Saracen fortress believed to have stood at Agrigento has not stood the test of time. The Greek temples, theatres and ruins, and even the archaeological museums, are located outside the city proper.

The Vallery of the Temples is the best known and most praised part of Agrigento. The monuments standing in it are what is left of the ancient city of Agragas which was founded in the sexth century B.C. by settlers from Gela and Became in the space of 100 years "the finest city of nortals". Destroyed by the Carthaginians in 406, it was re-founded by Timoleontes in 340 B.C. and enjoyed new moments of splendour, thought inevitably heading for a decline, which became definitive with the Byzantines. After it went to the Normans, the city was made a diocese and was embellished with numerous churches. Palaces and monuments also continued to be put up in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and again in the seventeenth to eighteenth centuries.


Akragas, named for the nearby river, flourished under Phalaris (570-554 BC), and developed further under Theron (488-471 BC), whose troops participated in the Battle of Himera in 480 BC, defeating the Carthaginians. Agrigento was destroyed several times during the Punic Wars, suffering particularly extensive damage during a siege by Roman forces in 261 BC, but always rebuilt. The Greek poet Pindar (518-438 BC) described Akragas as "the most beautiful city of the mortals." Akragas' most famous citizen was the philosopher and scientist Empedocles (490-430 BC). In the Valley of the Temples are the ruins of numerous temples but also necropoli, houses, streets and everything else one would expect to find in an ancient city. There is a small amphitheatre, as well as several auditoria, and a fine archeological museum. Unfortunately, most of the temples at Agrigento are in ruins, with pieces strewn about, and several appear to have never even been completed. Part of the Temple of Juno, built around 450 BC, is still intact. Its style has been compared to that of the temples at Paestum, near Salerno. The Temple of Concord (named retroactively), built around 440 BC, is in far better condition, and at night the illuminated temple is a sight to behold. A number of telamons (large segmented stone columns in the form of human figures) have been preserved. Agrigento's importance declined under the Byzantines and Saracens, who encouraged settlement of the medieval city (present-day Agrigento) several kilometres from the Valley of the Temples.

The Normans, however, recognized its importance, and it was during the Norman rule that beautiful churches were constructed in and around the city. Ancient Agrigento's architectural character seems more Greek than Roman, though the latter is certainly evident. What's missing are the thin bricks so typical of Roman sites like Solunto and Taormina. Despite its location virtually in the shadow of a modern city, the Valley of the Temples is surrounded by olive groves and almond orchards that render its ambience altogether natural, though a number of illegally-built houses mar the landscape. The almond blossom festival held in February is a spectacular event. The ruins of a Roman villa are located at an archeological site a few kilometres up the coast from Porto Empedocle. Though Porto Empedocle itself is today little more than an ugly shipping town, there is a nice beach nearby. The birthplace of Luigi Pirandello, (1867-1937) the Nobel prize-winning author, is located in the tiny hamlet of Caos, where his house is a museum. For Visitors: Sample the local cuisine if you have a chance. Except for a visit to the Valley of the Temples and the archaeological museum nearby, and perhaps a quick glimpse of the cathedral and San Nicola if you're a real medievalist, it probably isn't worth spending more than a day in Agrigento. Since this part of Sicily is torrid from the end of June through late September, we suggest, if possible, that you visit Agrigento during April, May or early June, when the fields are still green and the wildflowers are blossoming.

Agrigento Sights, sightseeing, culture:

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The Valley of the Temples is the best known and most praised part of Agrigento. The monuments standing in it are what is left of the ancient city of Agragas which was founded in the sixth century B.C. by settlers from Gela and became in the space of 100 years "the finest city of mortals". Destroyed by the Carthaginians in 406, it was re-founded by Timoleontes in 340 B.C. and enjoyed new moments of splendour, thought inevitably heading for a decline, which became definitive with the Byzantines. After it went to the Normans, the city was made a diocese and was embellished with numerous churches. Palaces and monuments also continued to be put up in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and again in the seventeenth to eighteenth centuries.


Agrigento is a town (55.000 in.) situated on an hill very close to the southern coast of Sicily. In 581 B.C., a group of Greek, coming from Gela, founded a new town, near the sea and between two rivers, they called their town Akragas. This town rapidly became larger and more important thanks to an intense participation in Fatherland's politic and literary life. Indeed Akragas may be said to be the cradle of a large number of artists and famous men: the philosopher Empedocles is the most famous among them. Akgragas fought later against Carthago and Syracuse. In 210 B.C. after a long struggle, the Romans conquered the city, which was re-called Agrigentum. Later in 806 A.C. the Arabs invaded Agrigentum, transferred the town on the hilltop (more defensible) not far from the sea and called it Kerkent. After 1086 A.C. the following invaders were the Normans, the Swabians, the Spaniards and at last the Borbons (1743). Till today it is possible to see the traces of every domination in the whole town. The wonderful doric monuments, the cobalt-blue sky, the salubrious climate and the peerless view make Agrigento a desirable place were a long stay is delightful. In February the almond-trees in flower give the Temples valley a special glamour and an unusual charm. It is very interesting to attend the International Folklore festival.

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