Agrigento district guide







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Agrigento district guide                                    (Back to Agrigento main information page)

Agrigento is one of most beautiful site of Sicily and a UNESCO World heritage site for be one of the greatest cities of the ancient Mediterranean world.

Located on a plateau overlooking Sicily's southern coast the city is almost medieval at its heart. Its landscape is quite unique in Italy as its tiny stepped streets and fine churches look down over the archeological remains of the Valle dei Templi and beyond to the sea.

At the center of the city, the Romanesque Gothic Cathedral, built during the fourteenth century, still displays some of its medieval character.

The facade is very scenographic. Built in year 1000, it was transformed more than once between then and the 17th century.

The interesting XV century bell tower has a double order of blind single openings dating to Gothic-Catalan times, while the balcony belongs to the Arab-Norman period. There is a statue of the Virgin Mary (end XV century) in the right aisle, and a Gothic San Gerlando chapel, housing the patron saint?s silver reliquary (mid XVII century). A rare acoustic effect in the presbytery is called "voice carrier", since the murmurs of someone at the door of the cathedral can be heard in the apse.

The main street is the Via Atenea, which start at the eastern edge of the old town towards the city?s Palazzi and the Church of Santa Maria dei Greci. The Church was built over a Greek temple of the fifth century BC with the compressed columns visible in the nave and an underground tunnel which reveals the church's foundations. It incorporates a Doric temple dating to 480-460 B.C. A little courtyard in front of the church has bits of ancient columns; some of the vertical elements and part of the capitals are conserved in the atrium; the portal dates to the l3th century. The interior is divided into a central nave and two aisles on pointed arches.

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