As I’m sitting by the window watching the snow fall outside during this endless winter, my mind starts wandering to warmer places. Homesick for the warmth of Sicily I pull out my pictures of Agrigento and our tour of the Valley of the Temples deciding I have to render my video and do a post as I finish up the last of my Sicilian blog pieces.
If you have an interest in Greek or Roman ruins, then you have to make your way to Sicily where you will find the most intact sites in the world. One of the largest and most impressive examples of the Magna Graecia era is the UNESCO World Heritage Site near Agrigento, Sicily. It’s an archaeological park called the Valley of the Temples which is home to the remains of an ancient Hellenic city showcasing many impressive Doric temples that left more of an impression on me than those in the ancient center of Athens, Greece.
High up on a terraced plateau overlooking the Mediterranean on one side and the modern city of Agrigento looming above on the other, the park is beautifully situated on a natural landscape that was the city of Akragas in ancient times. It was one of the largest Greek cities of 6th century BC at its height of prosperity but eventually fell into disrepair until it was conquered by the Romans who renamed it Agrigentum.
Numerous doric temples, intact mosaics, remnants of aqueducts, statues and cobblestone streets draw you into its history where you can touch and feel the structures that draw you back to an ancient time. You can almost here the sounds, see the people, smell the air and imagine the daily life of this ancient city as you walk its streets and pathways. Who has touched the same column I just did over a thousand years of history, it gives you goosebumps!
It was a hot day so we made a point of going late in the afternoon/early evening and glad we did. We cooled off over a granita at one of the cafes found inside the park, you can get a full meal here if you wanted but at the very least try a gelato for your walk-through time.
We worked up an appetite and it was time to head back to our wonderful Airbnb, a Sicilian villa atop a hill that overlooked an orchard and beautiful arid valley. Earlier in the day we hit a seafood market and bought some shrimps, scampi and Marlin steaks. The shrimp were so fresh I ate them raw as we sampled them in the store with the owner proudly showing us the days catch. Albeit a bit expensive our meal was amazing, cooked over a hot grill outdoors and washed down with a Sicilian white wine…. I can taste it now.
If you get a chance to visit yourself the park is open daily from 8:30am until 7pm with extended hours from mid July to mid September closing at 10pm. The address to set your GPS is:
Piazza Archeologica 1, Via Panoramica Dei Templi, 92100
Allow at least 3 hours with extensive walking to visit the whole park over its 2.5 KM route. Tickets are 10 Euros for adults which includes an audioguide and children under 18 are free (they will be asked for ID for proof of age). You can only buy tickets at the main entrances at Porta Quinta Sant’Anna and near the Temple of Juno. Tip: We parked at the lower parking lot near the Temple of Juno and took a taxi for $3 euros each to the top of the hill entrance at Porta Quinta and started our tour here. This way we were walking downhill and ended our day back at the parking lot where we started, otherwise you will have an exhausting walk back to your starting point. Worth the extra few euros.
Make sure to wear good walking shoes and bring your camera. In the summer its very hot so wear a hat, bring sunscreen, water and sunglasses. Have an amazing day! Here is a link to the photo Gallery