Sicily 4 – Agrigento
We walked from our B&B in Siracusa over to the parked car. On the way, we had to cross the fish and vegetable market that was just starting to come to life. Saw the way sea-urchins get processed; the exterior thorny shell gets cut open with a pair of scissors, and exposes multiple orange shaped urchins inside; which are scooped off with a spoon, and placed in a small bucket of salt water; which are then eaten raw as a delicacy or in seafood pasta dishes.
The drive from Siracusa to Agrigento took us on the highway back towards Catania, and then branched off to go west towards Enna, a town in the center of Sicily. The highways and roads were in very good condition, and easily drivable; the only problem came in the center of the towns, when the gully’s were the only roads available, and being narrow and twisty, became difficult.
We stayed away from the large towns like Enna, Caltanissetta etc, and passed thru interesting smaller towns. Near Agrigento, we decided to stop at a small town called Favara, which is supposed to have some interesting artwork. We stopped and found some artwork, but not great.
So we stopped instead for lunch at Pizza Mania which was one of the few places open at this siesta time. The place was a Mom & Pop operation, and a huge delicious veggie pizza (complete with potato’s) was prepared for us; came to 14 Euro’s including drinks, for 4 people. I love Sicily 🙂 .
We then drove to our B&B (Montemare B&B) in a small town called Giardina Gallotti; which was on a hill overlooking the Mediterrean Sea, just outside Agrigento. We arrived and were met by the elderly owners, who spoke no English.
We were shown our rooms (40 Euros cash per night, negotiated beforehand); which had mountain inland views. The rooms were nice, clean, and modern; but since we wanted to add “view” to this list, we went down and asked for sea-view rooms. So after calling his son Micheal on the cellphone (Michael spoke enough English to communicate), we convinced him to give us sea-view rooms, for no extra charge 🙂
After settling in, we decided to head to a small town called Scala Dei Turchi (Italian for “Stairs of the Turks”; the latter part of the name referring to numerous raids by the Moors/Saracens from North Africa in olden days).
The Scala (stairs) are formed in the limestone rock that juts out over the sea, and was eroded by the sea. The whole area here (including Giardina Gallotti) is very windy so feels a little cool. There are windmills here to generate electricity, attesting to year round windy conditions in this area.
We simply had to get down there and chill as well, but the sun was setting and it was getting dark quickly, so instead, we had wine on the cliff behind the Scala, watched the sun go down, and then drove into Agrigento old town for dinner
We walked around the old town of Agrigento and had dinner at the Trattoria Concordia, chosen as it was homely, warm, busy, nicely decorated, and lively.
The seafood and pasta here was excellent, but the Tiramisu took the cake (pardon the pun); it was the best Tiramisu I have ever had. Well worth it. Cost for dinner and wine for 4 was 48 Euros ($59; so $15 per person). Have I said I like Sicily 🙂 ?
Next day, we drove back into Agrigento to see the Valle dei Templi which Agrigento is famous for. This valley of the temples is actually a ridge that stretches east-west on which are the remains of 7 ancient Greek temples, built in the 5th century BC; so very old. A UNESCO heritage site.
To visit this, you park at the east end of the “valley” (5 Euros), and then take a taxi (6 Euro’s per person) to the uphill entrance at the west end entrance, and then walk downhill visiting all the 7 temples and then exit at the east entrance where your car is parked.
The visit took a couple of hours leisurely walk. The most stunning temple is the Temple of Concordia, as it is a model of the Parthenon in Athens and is very well preserved, most likely as it was used by the Norman’s as a church, well after the Greeks were driven out.
Some views below
After the valley of the Temples, we decided to have lunch and then drove along the coast to Eraclea Minoa, a small town with a nice beach and cliffs. There was supposed to be a place here near the white cliffs that had natural mud that was supposed to be good for the skin, but we never found it 🙁
After this, we decided to go back to Scala dei Turchi, and watch the sunset from the cliff steps we could not get to the previous day.
So drove back to Scala, and climbed down the steps from the clifftop to the beach, and came across a wedding that had just taken place on this beautiful location. Had to take a picture with the beautiful couple, on this great location 🙂
Walked over to the steps and climbed them for a beautiful experience and sunset
We then drove into Agrigento to a restaurant (Kokalos) overlooking the Valley of the Temples, for a great pizza/pasta dinner (& wine of course) with views of the temples lit up at night
Back to the B&B in the dark on the small twisty winding roads; for a good night’s rest.
Next is travel to Palermo