Are you making a trip to Sicily with your family? If so, be sure to add The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento to your list of must-see places. Known as the Valle dei Templi in Italian, the archaeological site, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most popular attractions in Italy. The temples are some of the most beautiful examples of Greek art and Architecture outside of Greece. The whole family will have a memorable day touring the site!
The Valley of the Temples is not a valley in reality, but a ridge where the Ancient Greek city called Akragas sat. The set up in the Valley of the Temples is really neat – a narrow road basically connects all the sites, which makes it incredibly easy and convenient to explore. So you can walk it one way and then just simply take the train on your way back. Bring a stroller if you have small children because the distance between temples is significant. We were able to navigate the site with a double stroller with some effort.
During our tour, we started off by visiting the Temple of Hera (or Juno in Roman mythology), who of course was the wife of Zeus. Built-in 450 BC, parts of the temple was damaged by fire in 406 BC and restored during Roman times. The temple is in good shape considering how old it is, and according to our tour guide, a lot of this had to do with its Doric style that is better suited to combat earthquakes.
From the vantage point of the temple, we were able to observe the beautiful countryside around Agrigento and the remains of the old walls of the Ancient city, which were carved from out from the mountain. Nearby, were ancient tombs, called arcosolia (pl. of arcosolium) that were also carved out from the mountains. I can’t even imagine how you would do that!
We then stopped for a little snack to refuel and chat with a friendly passer-by, to then get to the Temple of Concordia. This Temple is incredibly well-preserved, and a real treat to explore. It is one of the most notable examples of Ancient Greek buildings existing anywhere today! A reason for why it was so well-kept can be attributed to its conversion into a Christian church.
They also have Girgentana goats on the premises brought to Sicily and Agrigento all the way from Afghanistan in the 4th century BC! They were very friendly with our tour guide and came as soon as he called them over. Ava really enjoyed their unique twirly horns, that are incredible to see in person. You can even adopt one while there!
We then explored the Temple of Olympian Zeus, but sadly this temple was more or less destroyed. We toured this area quickly because it was extremely hot on the day we visited and by the time we arrived we were all tired. Still, we loved seeing one of the atlas giants in the Olympeion.
Finally, we took the train back, which was a welcome ride after a long day of sightseeing! Honestly, it was like seeing water in a desert. The ride back was fun for the kids and you see all the beautiful sights you have just learned about, so it’s a great conclusion to the day.