The Valley of the Temples is, without a doubt, one of the most famous historical attractions Sicily has to offer. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it dates as far back as 500 BC and comprises several temples as well as numerous tombs and ancient cemeteries. The archaeological excavation site features the Temple of Hera, Temple of Heracles, Temple of Concordia, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Temple of Hephaestus, Temple of Castor and Pollux, Temple of Demeter, and Temple of Asclepius. The best preserved of them all, the stunning Temple of Concordia, ranks (together with the Hephaisteion in Athens and the Temple of Hera in Paestum) among the most perfect temples of the Greek world. So, for those in love with Ancient Greece, the answer to what to do in Agrigento is pretty clear! Furthermore, if you don’t feel like walking around during the afternoon, nightly visits are also possible!
Agrigento’s historical city center extends over the hill dominating the valley and the sea. Its main streets include the panoramic Viale della Vittoria and the lovely via Atenea. The old town is a maze of cobblestone streets and alleyways that transports you to a different time. But don’t worry! Via Atenea cutting decisively through the center's core acts like a life rope that never lets you lose your way. There, you can stroll past specialized shops, trendy boutiques, mouthwatering trattorias, and cozy cafes. You can stick to the main street or wander off into the upward alleyways, past tightly-packed mansions, ancient churches, and echoes of once grand Arab architecture. Either way, you are in for a pleasant little adventure. If you want to spice things up, even more, try the curious local ice-cream flavor, ricotta-based pecorino. It’s a surprisingly delicate ice-cream which the locals craft using sheep’s ricotta cheese!
If you need to cool down after a busy day of sightseeing under the unforgiving Sicilian sun, roll out your blanket at Scala dei Turchi. Scala dei Turchi (meaning Turkish steps) is not a beach in its classic sandy form. It’s something much better, a stunning natural amphitheater of creamy-white, sea-eroded cliff. In fact, it’s one of the most photographed as well as the most popular beaches in Sicily. This magic place is just a short distance from Agrigento between Realmente and Porto Empedocle. The white cliff is made of marl, a chalky, soft, clayish white rock. The master behind its lovely terraced shape? The sea! This place makes for an unforgettable relaxing afternoon as well as excellent photographs. Let yourself be dazzled, however, be careful climbing the rocks, especially if they are wet! You can reach the beach by both car or a bus. Things to do in Agrigento are not just about history!
Pindaro, a famous Greek poet, once called Agrigento “the most beautiful among the mortal towns”. Indeed, the town does possess all the right ingredients to win over its visitors. Rising 230m above sea level, the town crowns the surrounding countryside sprinkled with olive groves and ancient ruins. The town has it all: the history, the sea, and nature.
The old city center is a wonderful maze of alleyways. Via Atenea cutting straight through that chaos and acting as a life rope for your orientation sense. Like many other Sicilian towns, Agrigento, too, is peppered with elements of Roman, Greek, Arab and Norman cultures that once occupied the island. The best way of experiencing this mishmash of cultural influences is to lose yourself strolling or observe while enjoying a refreshment in a local café. Make sure to keep your eyes opened for religious structures such as the Cathedral of Saint Gerlando, the church of Saint Laurence or Abbey of the Holy Spirit.
However, the world knows Agrigento best as the City of Temples. That is thanks to the before mentioned World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Valle dei Templi is undoubtedly the most incredible echo of Greek presence on the island. Furthermore, you can visit the incredible Museo Archeologico sitting between the valley and the town, filled with a wide range of artifacts and exhibits found in the area.
While numerous Agrigento treasures shine in and around the town, don't forget about the coastline. In fact, it’s quite famous for its beauty. So, if you run out of the historic things to do in Agrigento, come down to the coast to admire Scala dei Turchi (a unique white rock cliff) as well as beautiful sandy beaches (e.g., San Leo, Porto Palo or Eraclea Minoa).
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