"Agrigento: The Ups and Downs" Top 5 Page for this destination Agrigento by hquittner

Agrigento Travel Guide: 139 reviews and 296 photos

Our Arrival

We arrived in Agrigento after dark with no clear adea of how to find the street of our hotel. Agrigento is a large(56K pop.) hilltown sprawled out over the upper reaches of a narrow steep ridgetheMonte Camico(300 m alt; also called Rupe Atenea) where the acropolis once stood, and where the city center now is.Our route to the city was rt. off S115 on S118 which took us by the Valley of the Temples entrance (floodlit , but not a time to stop). We wound our way up to the Piazzale Aldo Moro where luckily the Tourist Office was still open. With difficulty (no maps) they explained the double U turn required to get us on the hotel street. Arriving we were informed that our reservations had been requisitioned by the regional police;the hotel was the site of an emergency anti-terrorist training conference! They readily located another place around the corner(with parking) just off the Viale della Vittoria (Hotel del Viale, described).

Getting Around

Our experience may not be helpful. We stayed 2 nights, out of season, and used a car. Parking at the Via Sacra, the Museo, other sites that we were able to find, a trip to a restaurant with a different view (see Ristorante Vulcano tip), and our hotel in town, were no problem. Buses go up and down from town (every 30 min?) and saving your walking and time is critical. Summer heat must be extreme. From what I can learn at VT it seems 90% of travellers are on tours so the bus controls and delivers. But you must plan ahead. To see the (whole) Via Sacra area takes a good 2 hours.the museum 1 hr, getting around 2 hours, lunch(? time and where).We did not walk the town except at night during the giant passagiata on the via Atenea(when we went out for dinner).Of course you could go slower and see more of the present town.

Geography

The major Temples and ruins are distributed along a ridge(100m alt) about 2+km from the coast beyond lowlands containing 2 E-W roads. On this ridge is an E-W paved path (called the Via Sacra) for pedestrians (admission fee).To the N another 2 km carved into and sprawling over the cliff is the modern city of Agrigento (where the Acropolis once was(300 alt.) In between is an area of variably dipping and markedly rising terrain. Here are sited the Museo, a couple of high-class hotels and the ruins of Akragas. Today this land is the subject of a fierce struggle between preservationists (at present winning?) and exploiters (Mafia and others). All the other hotels are in the city far above or in surrounding communities as are the restaurants and the citizens.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The most Greek of ruins that are easy to see.
  • Cons:Everyone who goes down to look must come back up.
  • In a nutshell:See as much as you can
  • Last visit to Agrigento: Nov 2003
  • Intro Updated Apr 26, 2005
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hquittner

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