Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Agrigento



I am determined to finish telling you about my trip to Sicily, even if I have been back home for well over a month! The memories may be fading, but I have my photographs and my journal. I haven't told you about the best parts yet, so please bear with me as I slowly plod on...

Thursday morning we slept in a little and then headed on toward Agrigento. In 581 BC the ancient Greek city of Akragas was founded here, and it is the remains of this city's temples that draw so many to Agrigento.


Temple of Concord

We arrived at our hotel mid-afternoon and ate a hurried lunch of packaged snack items from the JFK Alitalia lounge. We could see the Valle dei Templi from our hotel, but it would have been quite a hike. We decided to drive over since the park closed at 6:00 and we were running out of time.


Temple of Castor and Pollux

The ruins in the Valley of the Temples are dramatic and fascinating, but lack the beautiful setting of either Segesta or Selinunte. And unlike either of those sites, you are not permitted to climb around on any of the ruins.


Telamone (an 8 meter high supporting column in the shape of a man)
from the Temple of Zeus, which was the largest Greek temple in the world


View of the modern city of Agrigento from the Valle dei Templi
(That's a huge agave plant in the foreground!)

We didn't have time to visit the archeological museum, but had just enough time to see everything within the park. We returned to the parking lot and stopped for postcards and gelato before returning to the hotel. When we got back to the car, though, we realized the car keys were missing and had a few moments of panic. Fortunately, some kind soul had found the keys and turned them in at the ticket counter.



Back at our hotel (the Colleverde Park Hotel), we enjoyed a little quiet time in the garden before having dinner in the hotel restaurant. The food there was wonderful and the wait staff very attentive. I had a first course of lentil minestrone with croutons, followed by chicken scallopini with Pecorino and arugula. Both were delicious - the minestrone really hit the spot. I'd been craving some beans, but there just hadn't been an opportunity until that evening. The chicken was also very good. Best of all, I had my first-ever (at least that I can recall) cannoli! It was incredible.

After we had returned to our rooms and said good-night, I remembered that my room had a view of the Temple of Concord, which is lit up at night. I opened the blinds to get a peek and then went and got Bob and Chuck. We marvelled at the view for quite a while and took yet more pictures, before finally turning in. What a day.

Next time - Piazza Armerina and Caltagirone

7 comments:

Santos said...

darlin', there's an awful lot of phallic symbolism in the photos of this post :)

enjoying the text immensely as well!

Cathy said...

oh dear...there goes my G rating... the worst part is I hadn't even noticed!

rowena said...

Agrigento! Cathy, thanks for plodding on with your Sicilian trip because it is only making me want to go there soon. The cannoli! OMG!!

I was wondering also if you had seen anything like frozen fruits which were filled with gelato. They are a common dessert offered at southern Italy weddings, where the flesh of the fruit is scooped out, used to make a gelato, and filled back into the fruit, where the halves are re-assembled together and frozen. I had one of those at one of my husband's relatives wedding but he does not know if there is a special name for these things. I would really love to post something on that!

Anyway, forgive me for abusing your comment box here but emails are simply swamping me these days. Take care and have a great summer!

Cathy said...

Hi Rowena - I remember you saying you were planning a trip to Sicily - lucky you!

I don't think we saw anything like you describe - and definitely didn't eat anything like it. It sounds wonderful, though. You'll just have to hunt it down while you're there and tell us all about it!

mary g said...

I totally agree with Rowena--please plod on, except that your posts are not plodding in the least. The text and photos have really made me want to go to Sicily next time I go to Italy.
On climbing on the ruins--I remember I loved this when it was possible. The first time my sister and I went to Rome, the Forum was like this--the ruins very approachable. But then we went in the year after the Jubilee, and the Forum was much more like American sites--lots of signs, fences, and it was neatened up--I missed the shaggy rafts of (I think) wild snap dragons growing everywhere.

Chocopie said...

I have never been to Sicily. But I heard that is very beautiful place. Enjoy your trip with tasting trandional sicilian food. Adn tell us.

Cathy said...

Hi Mary - I loved being able to climb on the ruins. You're right, it's seldom like that here in the US - everything is much more "packaged" - protected with ropes or fences and explained with signs. I guess this approach has benefits, but climbing around is so much more fun!

Hi Chocopie - Yes, Sicily is beautiful, and it really is a perfect place to vacation. I still have lots more of the trip to tell you about!