Agrigento and its “Valley of the temples” (U.N.E.S.C.O. Heritage)
At the beginning it was a Doric settlement as it was founded in 581 BCE by the Dorians from Rhodes and called Akragas. It extended its power throughout the Tyrrhenian coasts, until Imera (or Himera); it defeated the Carthaginians together with Syracuse in 480 b.C. Between 262 and 210 b.C. it was permanently taken by the Romans who ruled it for five centuries. It was besieged by the Barbarians (Vandals and Goths), until was dominated by the Byzantines, succeeded by the Arabs, who abandoned the old city to build it on the western hill calling it Gergent. In 1087 was conquered by the Normans, becoming then seat of a vast Diocese; afterward it became a Swabian and a Spanish possession; Bourbons ruled it until the Expedition of the Thousand. It actively participated to the Unification of Italy. Agrigento has become a famous tourist center for its great archaeological heritage, as well as for the sea and the literary paths among which that of Pirandello overtops. The Valley of the temples, the old town and its Norman Cathedral and small towns and archaeological sites, the famous vine-yards in its area are unmissable. This latter has a long and interesting history and many traditions of a sweetly Mediterranean nature, both irresistibly charming and deep, just like Capo Bianco near Eraclea Minoa, Sciacca, ancient Sicilian site of coral, Monte Kronio, Scala dei Turchi. Local delicatessens based on fish and a huge variety of pastries are really recommended to taste. The “Valley of the Temples” (U.N.E.S.C.O. heritage) is famous for its well-preserved temples as the Temple of Concordia and the archaeological museum. Here spring comes back yearly (in February) with a great celebration: the “Almond Flower Festival” (sagra del mandorlo in fiore), the international folkloristic festival inside the Valley of the temples. Wines, local delicatessens based on fish and a huge variety of pastries, are representative of this rich and complex island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, that requires and merits more than one visit.