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written by Bridget Brackett

Ostuni città bianca

On the second day of your trip, you will want to start your intensive tour of the city. You will wake up to the beautiful vegetation and flora of the Valley of the Temples, consisting of pistachio trees, olive trees, almond trees and wild flowers.

The Valle dei Templi (Valley of the Temple) is the most famous archaeological site in Agrigento housing part of the best preserved Ancient Greek ruins in the globe, more so outside Greece. This may be attributed to the fact that Agrigento had been colonised by Greek since 6th century BC. It is among the most exceptional examples of Greater Greece architecture and art, and is also among the main attractions of Agrigento. By visiting Agrigento, your trip will be incomplete if you do not get to this amazing historical site, which also happens to be a national monument of Italy. The entrance fee is about 8 Euros.

The Valley of the Temples (which is more of a ridge than a valley) is majorly comprised of the beautiful relics of nine sacred temples out of the original ten. The best preserved of the relics was built in the 5th century BC, the Temple of Concorde, which was incorporated into a church. The other temples that you will need to have a glimpse at are the Temple of Juno, Temple of Hercules, Temple of Zeus Olympic, Temple of Vulcan, Temple of Asclepius, Temple of Castor and Polllux.

To the east of the entrance, the first temple is the Tempio di Ercole (Temple of Hercules). It is thin, long and around a third standing. This is the oldest of the temples, built at the end of the 6th century BC. Close to it are some fascinating deep ruts made by ancient carriages.

Next to it, heading east is the large Tempio della Concorda, the most impressive almost whole structure that was built around 440-450 BC. The narrow track continues up the small cliffs on the ridge towards the Temple of Juno. It is partially ruined but offers a perfect spot to look down the ridge at the other temples.

The Temple of Zeus Olympic in the museum together with Gigante recreations show the form and size of the temple. At one time, this temple was supported by 38 gigante. Even though it has been reduced to a mere jumble of large stones, this temple was at one time the biggest known Greek temple in the globe.

Besides the temples, the valley of the Temples holds numerous other archaeological sites that include the 1st century AD Temple of Theron as well as several sanctuaries which were built in as early as the sixth century. At the western area of the valley where the Temple of Concorde lies, are sections of early-medieval necropolis that were constructed on existing cisterns. You will have the chance to see some of the tombs and catacombs in the Grotte Fragapane that date back to the 4th century AD. Guided tours of the Valley of the Temples may be hired and audio tours are available at the entrance.

To complement your trip to the Valley of the Temples you will need to visit the archaeological Museum situated at the city centre as well as the adjacent Roman Quarter. The Museum is approximately half way from the Valley of the Temples to the station and houses various artifacts taken from the site. Interesting exhibits in the archaeological Museum include a large collection of vases, Roman mosaics and lion-head water spouts. When it was built, it was intended to accommodate a large telamon to be constructed from pieces.

The ancient centre of Agrigento is worth a visit as well. The magnificent cathedral is uphill to northwestern corner of the city centre on Via Duomo. It was built around 1000AD and has since been renovated several times. Today, the cathedral offers amazing views across the valley. It is advisable to visit this place earlier in the day because it closes from 12-4 pm.

From the cathedral you may head yet to another church, the Salita Santa Maria dei Greci. It is an interesting Norman church, built about 1000 years ago at the site where an ancient Greek temple had been built. You will not have to worry about entrance cost since it is free.

The historic centre of Agrigento (Girgenti) in itself deserves a tour. It is perched on the Girgenti Hills, a spot chosen for defensive and its proximity to the new port, making it quite favourable to trade. Walking in this ancient centre allows you t explore the piazzas, maze of tiny alleys and side-streets of the old town. The tour begins at the Church of San Calogero, which is located at the corner of Viale della Vittoria, a magnificent vista. You will then proceed to the Via Antenea, the main street and the Porta di Ponte. In case you wish to shop some souvenirs to remind you of your memorable trip to Agrigento, Via Antenea is the place to do so. The street is lined with old palaces, shops and shopping halls on either side.

Right ahead, the Monastero di Santo Spirito and the abbey Church beckon you to have a peep in their art. They are a splendid example of prototype Chiaramonte and medieval art in Sicily. They form the most intriguing monument of the historical centre of Agrigento. The generous nuns at this place offer couscous and sugary sweets as well as almond macaroon, which they prepare according to the ancient recipes. Do not miss to taste them because you will never find them anywhere else in the world; the ancient recipes used to make them are kept a secret and jealously preserved.

Then next exciting place to go is the Pirandello’s house museum. A visit to Luigi Pirandello’s birthplace starts at his House. It was greatly restored after the war and has been converted into a museum, displaying relics, paintings, family photos, manuscripts, theatrical images and editions of theatrical novels and works. From the house you will take a short path leading to the ‘rough stone’ that contains his ashes, as you admire the unique view on the ‘’African Sea’’.

A visit to Agrigento will most definitely expose you to ancient history. By visiting all the exciting places in this amazing city, you will have a life time experience, and you will notice that it is worth the effort.

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The city of Agrigento, with an elevation of 230 m (750 ft), is in the Province of Agrigento (AG). The Patron saint is St. Gerland (Gerlando) on 24 February. Agrigento has Fontanelle, Giardina Gallotti, Monserrato, Montaperto, San Leone, Villaggio La Loggia, Villaggio Mosè, Villaggio Peruzzo, Villaseta as wards and the demonym of natives is "Agrigentine, Girgintan".

In Agrigento there are 41 accomodation.. You may visit 20 places of interest.

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