No one is going anywhere for a very long time. So a look back at past adventures.
Sicily was one of the best.
Once called Akragas, modern Agrigento is a place to wander and sample the ice cream. So we did this several times, this is the best ice cream and you need to try lots of flavours!
Akragas was founded in 580BC but destroyed by the Carthaginians in 406 BC leaving it’s ruined Greek temples, now known as The Valley of the Temples, on the edge of the city.
Valley of the Temples
There are eight Doric temples built for the Greek gods between 510 – 430 BC. Plus lots of tombs and necropolises.
The Temple of Concordia, named after the goddess of harmony, is the best preserved and most famous. It has seventy eight Doric columns and survived because it was converted for Christian use in the sixth century so it wasn’t deliberately destroyed for being pagan. In the eighteenth century it was restored to its original form again. In front of it there is a modern statue of Icarus by Igor Mitoraj.
Siracusa was one of the richest cities of the ancient world. Cicero called it “The greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all”.
In the heart of Syracusa is the small island of Ortygia connected to the mainland by three bridges. Later it was the home of Archimedes, a mathematician, astronomer, and inventor. Here is the Piazza Archimede designed in his honour with a fountain dedicated to Diana in its centre. Ortygia is tiny and easy to walk around. We ended up at the Piazza Duomo. Sitting looking at the Santa Lucia church was the perfect place for lunch.
The Must See Sights
The Ear of Dionysius is interesting. This huge man made limestone cave represents a human ear. The acoustics created by the unusual shape of the cave amplify sound. Legend says Dionysius took advantage of this to eavesdrop on his prisoners from above. Teatro Greco and The Roman Ampitheatre are nearby although to be honest if you’ve seen one (or lots) of round ancient ruins they need to be pretty spectacular to stand out.
You have to see the famous Temple of Apollo. These ruins had been built over and incorporated into more modern buildings but partly restored in the nineteenth century.
Then a walk to photograph the Castello Maniace, a citadel standing on a promontory.
Then to slightly more modern remains.The Villa Romana de Casale is just outside this town. It belonged to an important Roman family in around 4 AD. The owner was probably a senator. The villa was inhabited for about one hundred and fifty years but it was abandoned in the twelfth century when it was buried by a landslide. This helped to preserve the mosaics.In 1929 the site was first excavated and this is still going on. We really enjoyed this and the arancini in the cafe were brilliant!