Agrigento is the capital of the province of the same name and is located about halfway up the southwest coast of Sicily. Founded in the year 581 BC, the city was one of the most important cities of the Magna Grecia, the Greek civilization in the south of what is now Italy. Later, the city was conquered by both the Romans and the Arabs. The latter rebuilt the city plundered by the Romans on top of a hill. The biggest attraction is the Valley of the Temples.
Agrigento travel guide
ZIP code: 92100. Area code: 0922. Tourist office: Via Empedocle, 73 – 92100 Agrigento (tel. +39 0922 20391).
The historic center of the city is characterized by the many alleys and courtyards that are very reminiscent of North African cities. The most important street is Via Atenea, which is lined with historic buildings and churches. The architecture of these buildings shows multiple influences.
What to see
The main churches are the 14th century Cathedral, the Santo Spirito Abbey and the Santa Maria dei Greci Church, which was built on top of a Greek temple from the 15th century. Columns of this temple can still be seen in the nave of the church. The most interesting museum is the Museo Civico in the Piazza Municipio. The birthplace of Luigi Pirandello, Nobel Prize winner for literature, is also in Agrigento.
The largest and most famous sight, however, is the Valley of the Temples, which can be seen at the foot of the hill. A large number of ruined temples here testify to the power and wealth of Akragas, as the city was then called. The temples all have the entrance on the east side. The most impressive is the Tempio della Concordia, which is better preserved than the others because it was converted into a church in the 6th century. The other temples were often used as building materials during the Middle Ages.
The city’s main squares are Piazza Pirandello and Piazza Marconi. The car-free Viale della Vittoria on Sundays has been the main street of the city for centuries. Another important street is Via Atenea.