Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Ever since I came to live in Sicily, I've been trying to get back to Agrigento, whose breathtaking Valle dei Templi should surely be listed among the Wonders of the World. When I first visited Modica, it was just possible to do the journey to Agrigento and back by bus in a day, provided you left Modica at 5 am, changed buses at Gela and were prepared to commence the return journey at around 3 pm. That journey is no longer possible as the connection times have changed and I'm afraid the situation is another example of a lack of understanding of what tourists want on the part of tourism firms in the area. So when my friends Marie-Laure and David announced that they were planning to travel to Agrigento today by car and invited me to go along, I was only too happy to accept.

We left Modica at 08.30 and made straight for the Valle dei Templi, where we arrived just before 11 am. Marie-Laure and David had been amazed, as I had been on my first visit to Agrigento in 1992, to see the Temples rising above us as we drove along. We immediately walked up to the Tempio della Concordia, the best preserved of the Temples, dating, it is believed, from about 430 BC. There has been some restoration work on the lower part of the Temple and I had not seen it without girders around it for many years. And now here it was, its honey-coloured stone gleaming in the sun. We were silent for a while as we gazed at perfection. We spent a good hour at this site and then decided not to venture up or down to the other Temples as it was so hot along the hill [it must have been about 44 C] that we thought we would keel over! We therefore admired the other main temples from afar before repairing to a restaurant we had heard of, La Trizzera, for a much needed lunch.

And now I'd like to share with you some of the images of the day:

I was a hit with the owner of this traditional cart and could have spent the rest of my life in Agrigento! [The notice asks you to leave an offering "for the horse" if you want to be photographed with the cart as a background.]

Tempio della Concordia:

Marie-Laure and me. We'd been discussing shoes Aristotle!

Now lunch: we all had cavatieddi pasta with a tomato and aubergine sauce

then Marie -Laure and I had veal scaloppine

while David had chosen from the fish menu:

Fruit was served for dessert

and then cassata:

Marie-Laure and David outside La Trizzera:

Altogether a fabulous day with great friends!


jmb said...

I am sorry that I missed getting to Agrigento on my one trip to Sicily. One day maybe. You certainly had a wonderful day.

Saretta said...

What an amazing place! The lunch looks great, too! I must get there one day!

annechung said...

i remember Agrigento from our visit 2 years ago. It was around the time of San Guiseppe's day and I remember the wonderful pastry they made to celebrate that day. We took the train from Catania, changed trains at Caltalnesetta Xirbe. After Agrigento we took the train to Palermo. I love Sicily and most of all I love Sicilians. Everyone should visit Sicily at least once in their lifetime.I made 2 visits the same year.

Minnie said...

Thank you so much for telling us more about this fabulous place; I'm glad you got the chance to revisit. It must have been a very happy excursion. Loved the pix of one of the Doric temples - ca donne envie de les voir! Hum, la bonne chere compte, aussi ...;-)!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi WL wow what a fabulous day you had, so great that your friends were going. Not sure I would get up or leave at that time of the morning..but it looks great..!

Your meal looks delicious, I know you cannot eat fish , which is a huge shame considering the fresh fish you get there....mmm and look at that fruit. Delicious.

Jan Pag said...

..oooh Welshcakes, it looks fantastic. Here in Cardiff it is cold, wet and windy. I dream of sunshine.....

Whispering Walls said...

I'm hoping to go there at some point - it's supposed to be particularly beautiful amongst the wild flowers in spring.

Trubes said...

That was extremely interesting Welshcakes, what place Sicily is!
The picture on the Temples site is awesome, is it a painting or photo?
I would like to know more, please?
Again, the food looks delicious, particularly the Veal dish.
The first authentic Italian meal that I had, in an authentic Tattoria, in the City of Chester, looked very similar.
That was in the Seventies, when everything was freshly cooked on the premises.
Chianti was served from a straw flask and the Proprietor Sergio oozed charm, along with his wonderful Family.....
Arr, 'Golden Days' as Mario Lanza used to croon.
I Like your new Boyfriend,btw, I do hope Simi likes horses!


Lucia said...

I went to Agrigento when I was 5 and 11! When I went to Sicily when I was 18 I said I pass. Now I'm kicking myself. I think i would appreciate it more now. When I went it was unbearably hot too I remember it was hard to find shade. The food looks absolutely delicious!

CherryPie said...

Ahh what wonderful day out that sounds and I love the pics.

Ellee Seymour said...

It sounds like a very special day out with delicious food and fantastic company.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Sorry about the late replies. Spent yesterday cooking up a feast for Marie-Laure and David!

Hi, jmb. I hadn't realised you'd missed Agrigento. Next time! Saretta, you would love it. Hi, Anne. Thanks for that description. It must have been lovely to see the altars for San Giuseppe. I agree: everyone should see Sicily! Hi, Phidelm. My pleasure. You would adore Agrigento, too. Hi, Anne. It was a fabulous day. Yes, it's a shame about the fish but there is much here to make up for it. Hi, KQ. Sorry it's rainy over there. Here it's really hot again today! WW. Yes, it's lovely in spring and there's also the almond festival there. Hi, Trubes. That's a painting on the home page of the Tamples site. There's a lot of info on Agrigento on Wikipedia and I'm going to try to get back there soon and post on it again. That first Ital meal of yours sounds exciting! I asked Simi what she thinks of horses and she said they are funny looking bow-wows! ~Hi, Lucia. Never mmind. You'll enjoy it more when you revisit Sicily as an adult, which I'm sure you will! Hi, Cherie and Ellee. It was a very special trip indeed.

sally in norfolk said...

wow what a fabulous looking place :-)


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