What to see in Agrigento and surroundings

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Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Agrigento is a small pearl of southern Sicily, cradle of Magna Graecia for its vast historical and archaeological heritage of ancient Akragas. And the ideal destination for lovers of history and culture, a journey into the past among the ancient churches of the historic center and the Doric temples of the Valley of the Temples for a peaceful holiday in which there is no shortage of crystal clear sea and excellent local cuisine.


  1. Valley of the Temples
  2. Kolymbetra Garden
  3. Archaeological Museum
  4. San Leone beach
  5. Monastery of the Holy Spirit
  6. Luigi Pirandello house-museum
  7. Cathedral of St. Gerland
  8. Porta di Ponte
  9. What to see in the surroundings: 5 places of interest near Agrigento
  10. What to do in the evening: the most beautiful neighborhoods and clubs of the nightlife
  11. Plan your stay in Agrigento: advice + info on flights, hotels and tours
  12. User questions and comments

1 - Valley of the Temples

The Valley of the Temples holds the record for the largest archaeological area in the world. Inserted in 1998 in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it consists of the ruins of Akragas, an ancient city of Magna Graecia which formed the original nucleus of Agrigento. Inside the valley twelve Doric temples are preserved; the temple of Concordia is the best preserved of the whole site, thanks also to its reuse as a Christian temple. Of considerable importance follow the temple of Hercules, the first to be built in Akragas, the Temple of Zeus, which at the time of its construction was the largest in the whole West, and the temple of Juno, burned during an invasion Carthaginian.

We recommend that you visit the Valley of the Temples during opening hours or in the last hours before closing to avoid the hottest and most crowded hours.

  • from piazza Rosselli in Agrigento you can take bus lines 1, 2 and 3 to reach the archaeological site. For those who prefer to reach the site by car, parking is available at a fixed cost of € 3,00 for the whole day - Get directions
  • Opening time: every day from 8: 30 to 19: 00
  • Prices: full ticket € 10,00, reduced to € 5,00 for young people under 25, free for minors
  • Info and advice: wear comfortable shoes to deal with the rough terrain of the area, bring water and a hat with you to protect yourself from the sun given the long duration of the visit (at least two hours)

2 - Garden of the Kolymbetra

In the heart of the Valley of the Temples, in a small valley, stands the Garden of the Kolymbethra, an archaeological area where history and nature come together. It takes its name from the kolymbethra, a pool created by conveying the water that exuded from the porous stone. The space was born as a vacation spot for the tyrants of Akgragas and a meeting place for citizens. Today it is managed by the FAI after having poured for years in a situation of degradation, ed it features a Mediterranean garden with citrus, pistachio and almond trees. It is advisable to visit it in the late morning, after visiting the nearby Temples, to rest in the shade of its shrubs and visit the Temple of Hephaestus and the ancient hypogea.

  • as for the Valley of the Temples, it is possible to leave by bus from Agrigento in Piazza Rosselli with lines 1, 2 and 3 or to reach the site by car, leaving it at the special parking of the Valley of the Temples at a cost of € 3,00 - Get indications
  • Opening time: the garden is closed in January. In the summer months we recommend (July and August) it is open from 9:30 to 19:30. For the details of the timetables, you can consult the FAI website
  • Prices: The full ticket for the garden has a cost of € 6,00, while that for the hypogea has a price of € 10,00. The combined ticket for both routes is € 15,00. The conditions for taking advantage of reduced and free tickets are available on the Giardini website
  • Info and advice: comfortable shoes are recommended. People with reduced mobility can make a partial tour of the area, but advance booking is required.

3 - Archaeological Museum

The archaeological museum of Agrigento was founded in the 60s where the ancient agora of Akragas stood, and the sequel used the villa of Ciantro Panittieri as its seat. It is one of the most visited museums in Sicily and exhibits over 5.600 artefacts connected to the Valley of the Temples and beyond, covering a time span that goes from prehistoric times to the Greco-Roman era. The museum is divided into two sections: the first is dedicated to ancient Agrigento, while the second to the territories of the province of Agrigento and Caltanissetta, in particular at the time before the Greek settlement.

It is advisable to visit the museum at the same time as the Valley of the Temples, to get a complete picture of the Hellenic historical period and the provenance of the finds.

  • by bus lines 1, 2 and 3 from Piazza Rosselli or by car, taking advantage of the archaeological area parking - Get directions
  • Opening time: from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 to 19:30, on Sundays and holidays with reduced hours from 9:00 to 13:30.
  • Prices: the full ticket costs € 8,00, reduced to € 4,00 for young people between 18 and 25 years old.
  • Info and advice: It is advisable to buy the combined ticket for access to the Valley and the museum, for a total cost of € 13,50 for the full ticket (with a saving of € 4,50) and € 7,00 for the reduced.

4 - San Leone beach

The Lido of San Leone it is a few km from the center of Agrigento, and is the reference beach for the people of Agrigento. The beach adapts to the needs of all types of travelers: it is equipped with tennis and volleyball courts for the more sporty, playgrounds for children and numerous bars and clubs for young people looking for cocktails and music at all hours.
The golden beach and the crystal clear water will make you want to dedicate at least a whole day to the Lido of San Leone, whether you are a surf type or a lounger on the water's edge.

  • from the center of Agrigento can be easily reached by car in about ten minutes - Get directions
  • Opening time: always accessible
  • Prices: there is both the free beach and establishments equipped with variable prices.
  • Info and advice: check the regulations of the bathing establishments if you are traveling with animals.

5 - Monastery of the Holy Spirit

The monastery of the Holy Spirit is located in the historic center of Agrigento. Built during the Middle Ages, in the thirteenth century, the monastery it was the home of the Benedictine nuns until the mid-nineteenth century, when the monastery was transformed into an orphanage. Later the monastery also had other functions, first as a canteen for the poor and later as a weapons depot during the Second World War. From the postwar period ad today the monastery has become a civic museum, under the guidance of the Benedictine nuns themselves. Do not miss to taste the homemade almond cakes, made directly by the nuns: they are a great souvenir!

  • the best way to get to the monastery is on foot, given its location (in the historic center) - Get directions
  • Opening time: from Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00. On Saturdays the hours are reduced from 9:00 to 13:00
  • Prices: admission is free, but the nuns usually ask for a small donation to visit the monastery or museum exhibition
  • Info and advice: we suggest you to visit the monastery in the late afternoon to avoid the crowds and above all to take advantage of the sweets handmade by the nuns for the afternoon snack

6 - Luigi Pirandello house-museum

Agrigento was the homeland of Luigi Pirandello, one of the greatest Italian playwrights and poets, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1934. A few kilometers from the city center it is possible to visit his birthplace, now converted into a museum. The structure dates back to the end of the eighteenth century, and suffered severe damage during the Second World War due to the explosion of a nearby ammunition depot. The ground floor of the house-museum it periodically hosts temporary exhibitions dedicated to Pirandellowhile upstairs first editions of his works are exhibited, photographs, manuscripts and personal items of the author.

  • it is located in a country district outside the city center. The best way to reach it is by car, along the state road 115 in the direction of Villaseta - Get directions
  • Opening time: from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 to 19:30, Sunday and holidays the closing is anticipated to 13:00
  • Prices: full € 4,00; reduced € 2,00
  • Info and advice: it is advisable to plan the museum in the late morning or in the afternoon, since the visit to the author's tomb can be carried out up to an hour before sunset

7 - Cathedral of San Gerlando

The Cathedral of San Gerlando it is dedicated to the patron saint of Agrigento and is the largest church in the city. As often happens, the building was built on the remains of previous places of worship: in this case the temple of Athena Lindia and Zeus Atabyrios, from the Greek era. Subsequently there are traces of Roman catacombs between the nd and rd centuries, up to the construction of the church in the Byzantine era with the characteristic plant in the shape of a Latin cross. Visit the church during a non-service hour to avoid disturbing the faithful, and pay attention to a particular acoustic phenomenon: speaking in a low voice at the entrance of the cathedral, in fact, the voice is transmitted up to the apse.

  • on foot given its location (in the historic center). The nearest bus stop is in Piazza Plebis Rea (line 1), five minutes away - Get directions
  • Opening time: Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 13:30 and from 15:30 to 19:00
  • Prices: admission to the cathedral is free, access to the tower costs € 3,00
  • Info and advice: it is advisable to visit the cathedral before lunch, the church is in fact at the top of a steep climb. As this is a place of worship, it is recommended to silence cell phones and wear appropriate clothing.

8 - Porta di Ponte

Porta di Ponte it was the most important gateway to the medieval city, consisting of a drawbridge and surmounted by a Gothic arch bearing the Aragonese coat of arms of King Frederick III. The gate was destroyed in 1868 and rebuilt in a neoclassical style, without the arch, as it still appears today. The door is the access to what is now Via Atenea, the main street in the historic center of Agrigento.

  • it is located at the entrance to via Atenea, within walking distance from the city station - Get directions
  • Opening time: always accessible
  • Prices: free
  • Info and advice: the current door project was made by Raffaello Politi. Of the original door remain two testimonies in the form of a drawing from the s.

What to see in the surroundings: 5 places of interest near Agrigento

  1. Scala dei Turchi: one of the most famous seaside destinations in Italy, a rocky wall overlooking the sea, characterized by a pure white color modeled by the erosion of the wind and the sea. (22 minutes by car from the center - about 16km)
  2. Sciacca: the most populous city in the province after Agrigento, it is famous for its spas, ceramics and beaches. (one hour by car from the center of Agrigento - 64 km)
  3. Catholic Eraclea: today's town houses the remains of Eraclea Minoa, a city of Magna Graecia founded by the Selinuntini in the 44th century BC (44 minutes by car from the center - km)
  4. Torre Salsa Reserve: it is a protected natural area currently managed by the WWF. The coast extends for about 6 km and is home to various species of birds, ideal for birdwatchers. (44 minutes by car - 40 km)
  5. Red Chief: it is a sandy beach near the Scala dei Turchi, in the municipality of Realmonte, ideal for a swim in peace and for photography lovers. (27 minutes by car from Agrigento - 19 km)

What to do in the evening: the most beautiful neighborhoods and clubs of the nightlife

The Agrigento nightlife is mostly concentrated on the coast, in the locality of San Leone. Here the promenade is dotted with numerous bars offering aperitifs, cocktails and live music until late at night, while nin the city center the atmosphere is calmer, and the evenings are animated by pubs and wine bars.

The best clubs

  1. Noctis Disco Club: the most popular nightclub in the province of Agrigento, in Villaggio Mosè. The ideal place if you want a party night. It is 15 minutes by car from the center of Agrigento (8km).
    Address: via Parco degli Angeli - Get directions
    Phone: (+39) 0922606277 / Facebook Fan Page
    Average price of a drink: € 5,00
  2. 12.25 yard: it is the place par excellence where the young people of the city meet in the center, where they can drink wine and beer at reduced costs. You can easily walk to the main places of interest.
    Address: via Neve 10 - Get directions
    Phone: (+39) 334935 3697 / Facebook Fan Page
    Average price of a drink: € 5,00
  3. 'Nzolia: it is a refined wine shop where you can enjoy a quality aperitif with excellent wine, meats and cheeses. The wine shop is easily reachable on foot from Via Atenea, which is 450 meters away.
    Address: piazzetta San Calogero - Get directions
    Phone: (+39) 0922054447 / Facebook Fan Page
    Average price of a drink: € 7,00
  4. Aquaselz café: is an elegant and modern lounge bar on the San Leone area, where you can drink excellent cocktails or dance until late at night, especially suitable for young people. It can be easily reached by car from the center of Agrigento in 15 minutes.
    Address: Lungomare Falcone e Borsellino - Get directions
    Phone: (+39) 0922081225 / Facebook Fan Page
    Average price of a drink: € 6,00
  5. Boca Club: a recently opened club that has rightfully entered the nightlife trends of the area for its themed parties and attention to detail. It is located in the town of San Leone, and can be reached by car in a quarter of an hour.
    Address: Piazzale Luigi Giglia - Get directions
    Phone: (+39) 0922414646 / Facebook Fan Page
    Average price of a drink: € 4,00

Plan your stay in Agrigento: advice + info on flights, hotels and tours

Although it is one very popular tourist destination in summer, the province of Agrigento maintains competitive prices compared to other destinations in Western Sicily, with double rooms starting from € 25,00 per night and dinners with grilled fish for € 15,00. Tickets to access the areas of interest have an average cost of € 12,00, but you can save money by taking advantage of combined tickets for most of the attractions in the area.

  • Recommended period: in the months of June, July or September, when the climate is hot and dry and the influx of tourists is lower than in August
  • Recommended for: lovers of history, religious architecture and quiet holidays, although the city is characterized by numerous stairs and uphill streets, not suitable for people with reduced mobility. Not suitable for those who prefer urban views and intense nightlife.
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 25,00 per room -
  • How to get there and how to get around: agrigento is about two hours by bus from Palermo's Falcone Borsellino airport and Catania's Fontanarossa. The best way to explore the city center is on foot. Most of the bus lines also reach the Valley of the Temples, but the more distant destinations (Pirandello's house and the Scala dei Turchi) are more easily reached by car.
  • Agrigento: Valley of the Temples entrance ticket Agrigento: 2-hour private walking tour

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