Agrigento is on just about every tourist’s Sicily itinerary for one overwhelming reason: the Valley of the Temples
Agrigento is situated on Sicily’s southern coast, and the town’s Valley of the Temples (Valle dei Templi) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the greatest legacies of ancient Greece. This parade of well-preserved Doric temples, just outside town, dates back to the fifth and sixth centuries BC and is what remains of the Greek city of Akragas.
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The temples are spread along a rocky ridge a short way to the south of the medieval town centre, in a designated archaeological park. You can walk there, or catch a bus from the railway station. Food options are limited so you might wish to take a picnic lunch.
The town’s Museo Archeologico, between the town and the archaeological site, has a wide range of exhibits from the area, including statues and grave goods. As elsewhere in Italy, there are reductions for EU under-25s and students, and free entry for under-18s and over-65s (bring your passport/proof of status).
A more recent tourist sight is the childhood home of writer Luigi Pirandello (Six Characters in Search of an Author), which has been turned into a museum. His Casa Natale (birthplace) can be visited in the dramatically-named suburb of Caos.
Agrigento offers a full day’s worth of sightseeing, and is a long way from the other major tourist destinations of Sicily. Consequently most visitors stay overnight in the town or nearby – this is especially advisable for those relying on the infrequent public transport.
Travel to Agrigento
Bus services operate to Agrigento from Catania, Siracusa, Palermo and Caltanissetta. Trains to/from Palermo run approximately every hour and the journey takes just over two hours. Check the timetables first as there are some slow trains on the route. Trains from Catania are rarer, take over three hours, and may involve a change. Agrigento’s main railway station, Stazione Centrale, is located in the centre of town on Piazza Marconi.
A company called Lumia run buses from Trapani to Agrigento via Sciacca, a four-hour journey. The bus stops at Trapani Airport.
There’s a good range of places to stay in Agrigento, from modern hotels catering for the tour groups who visit, to quirky little B&Bs in the lanes of the old town centre. I had a wonderful stay, years back, at the Terrazze di Montelusa, a lovely B&B with a charming and helpful owner. Among the hotels, the Hotel Villa Athena stands out as a popular hoice: a five-star historic villa with temple views.
Ancient Sicily – history-themed touring ideas (blog article)
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Useful external links
Parco Valle dei Templi – official website
Valley of the Temples – tour guides & information