An Ionian seaside town, Avola is a mix of old and new. The town focuses heavily on the sea, with its history as a tuna fishing port. Today, the remains of the Vecchia Tonnara at the wharf are a stone backdrop to the sandy beaches. Avola dates back to a pre-Greek people called the Sicani.…
Picture this episode: we parked on a roundabout. Some local approached us (my brother and me) – we thought because we should have not park in a roundabout, but then again they all did, so… in fact the guy just wanted to ask if we have cigarettes. Ok Sicily, episode n.
At the roundabout is a Monumento a Don Bosco with a beautiful view on the mountains: Monte Guastanella and Monte Suso.
Don Bosco was an Italian Catholic priest, educator, and writer of the 19th century. He dedicated his life to the betterment and education of street children, juvenile delinquents, and other disadvantaged youth. He developed teaching methods based on love rather than punishment, a method that became known as the Salesian Preventive System.
Exploring the medieval city we noticed how the facades are falling apart as they were made of sand that is blown away by the wind and the ravage of time.
Out of a sudden, some big terrible noise came to us: a grandpa on some old motorbike, decorated like a proper bike (living a life!) asking for directions, more specifically for a museum. We were confused just by the noise, then we had to deal with the appearance and finally became even more perplexed by his question because museums in Agrigento are everywhere. I mean which exactly museum are you looking for, resurrected CheGuevarra?
As I see a bit of my grandfather in every elder, I dedicated this post to this grandpa. May your roads be safe and your destinations just around the corner. Long live you and your Motto Guzzi! 🙂
So breakfast in some most odd but so typical sicilian pasticceria. I will not explain much, I believe it is enough to look at the photos and conclude. I mean, the guy baking the bread, the atmosphere, the decorations… 😀 But the pastries were so delicious. Italians, if they really know something, they know how to dough.
Agrigento Cathedral or Duomo di Agrigento, Cattedrale Metropolitana di San Gerlando) is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Agrigento, Sicily, dedicated to Saint Gerland. Founded in the 11th century, the story actually starts much earlier. In the roman times, there were catacombs and tombs attested to the presence of a solid community of Christians and cults in the city between the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Byzantine period: the church of Santa Maria dei Greci was built on the ruins of the Temple of Athena and Zeus.
We climbed the towers and explored around. I took a photo of the Mediterranean sea. I tried to find the greek temples but no success.
Agrigento was one of the leading cities of Magna Graecia during the golden age of Ancient Greece with population estimates in the range of 200,000 to 800,000 before 406 BC. Quite big, isn’t it? That time it was known as Akragas.
Akragas was founded on a plateau overlooking the sea, with two nearby rivers, the Hypsas and the Acragas, after which the settlement was originally named. Although, there were already some pre-historic settlements.
Around 570 BC, the city came under the control of Phalaris, a semi-legendary figure, who was remembered as the archetypal tyrant, said to have killed his enemies by burning them alive inside a bronze bull. In the ancient literary sources, he is linked with the military campaigns of territorial expansion, but this is probably anachronistic.
In Roman times, the city was disputed between the Romans and the Carthaginians during the First Punic War. The Romans laid siege to the city in 262 BC and captured it after defeating a Carthaginian relief force in 261 BC and sold the population into slavery.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the city successively passed into the hands of the Vandalic Kingdom, the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy and then the Byzantine Empire. During this period the inhabitants of Agrigentum largely abandoned the lower parts of the city and moved to the former acropolis, at the top of the hill. The reasons for this move are unclear but were probably related to the destructive coastal raids of the Saracens and other peoples around this time.
The city is nowadays called the Valley of the Temples.
Empedocles (5th Century BC), the Ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosopher, was a citizen of ancient Akragas.
Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936), dramatist and Nobel prize winner for literature, was born in Agrigento too. 🙂