10. Agrigento: Walking Tour of Ancient Akragas with Local Guide
The guided tour of the oldest and most characteristic area of Agrigento, known as the Valley of the Temples, will take you to travel back in time among the Doric temples of the Hellenic period, visiting one of the largest and most spectacular archaeological areas in the world. We start immediately by visiting the Temple of Hera Lacinia or Juno erected 120 meters high in 450 BC. on the hill of the Rupe Atenea with Doric columns; the temple in which he used to celebrate the wedding is dedicated to Juno because inside it was kept a painting that probably depicted the goddess protector of women and fertility. A few steps away we find one of the symbols of Agrigento, the majestic Temple of Concordia, the second best preserved temple in the world after the Parthenon in Athens.
Dating back to 430 BC. today it is in an excellent state of conservation thanks to the transformation of the temple into a Christian church. In the front part of the temple we can admire the suggestive bronze statue of Icarus, donated by the famous Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj, representing the fall of Icarus who disobeying his father and flying too close to the sun, burned his wax wings and fell into the Mediterranean. We continue the guided tour exploring the oldest of the Doric temples of Agrigento, the Temple of Hercules or Heracles for the Greeks, which owes its name to a bronze statue of Hercules, the strongest and most valiant of the Gods, inside the temple .
During the visit you will see prickly pear trees and breathtaking panoramic views over the valley. We then arrive at the Temple of Jupiter or Zeus, originally one of the largest temples of classical antiquity which over time was damaged due to earthquakes and therefore used as a quarry for the construction of the Porto Empedocle pier. Among the ruins of the temple we will see the reconstruction of one of the Telamons over 7 meters high, stone sculptures of giants placed outside the temple to protect the divinity, which with its majesty gives us an idea of the beauty of the temples originally. After a few steps the guided tour continues to the Temple of the Dioscuri, of which only a corner with four columns remains but which despite the few remains that have come down to the present day has become one of the most representative monuments of Agrigento.
The guided tour ends by admiring the Kolymbetra Garden from the outside, an extensive citrus grove of orange and lemon trees where nature and silence make it a heavenly place in total harmony with the temples that surround it.