Exploring Agrigento: Uncovering Sicily’s Hidden Gems – Valley of the Temples, Scala dei Turchi, and more! – Video

Exploring Agrigento: Uncovering Sicily’s Hidden Gems – Valley of the Temples, Scala dei Turchi, and more! – Video

Agrigento, a city in Sicily, may not be a well-known tourist destination, but it is definitely a hidden gem waiting to be explored. This travel vlog takes you on a journey through the city, highlighting the best things to do and places to visit. From the famous Valle dei Templi to the lively atmosphere of the San Calogero festival, this video gives you an inside look at why Agrigento should be on your travel radar.

One of the must-visit attractions in Agrigento is the Valle dei Templi, or Valley of the Temples, where you can explore ancient Greek ruins with the best tour guide in town. The video also features local eateries like Le Cuspidi, known for its delicious gelato and traditional Sicilian pastries.

With stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and a rich history that dates back to ancient civilizations, Agrigento truly has something for every traveler. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a foodie, or simply seeking a hidden gem off the beaten path, Agrigento has it all.

So, if you’re planning a trip to Sicily, make sure to check out this video for an in-depth guide to Agrigento and get ready to be captivated by this enchanting city.

Watch the video by Tourist to Local

Video Transcript

Ah, Sicily, Italy’s overlooked masterpiece. Here,  olive trees stretch their arms towards the sky,   and vineyards quilt the landscape. But  don’t let the postcard views fool you;   this island has layers, my friends. The people  are as warm as the island’s famous Arancini,  

And its history as complex as its Nero d’Avola  wine. From the Greeks to the Romans, the Arabs   to the Normans, everyone wanted a piece of this  paradise. And who can blame them? That’s Sicily   for you. There’s Palermo, there’s Catania, but  that’s not where we’re starting this adventure.  

We have our sights set on Agrigento, a place  that’s more than just a dot on the map for us. You see, I spent a couple of summers here visiting  family and falling in love with the culture and  

The food. I guess you could say it defined me as  a traveler, and I haven’t shut up about this place   since. And now, I’m back with Juliana, staying  with my family, living the Sicilian lifestyle,   sharing this place with you. This ancient city  has been called many names by those who’ve  

Conquered it: Akragas to the Greeks, Girgenti to  the Normans, Agrigentum to the Romans. But to us,   and to Martin’s family, who’ve called this place  home for generations, it’s simply Agrigento. And so, we made it to Agrigento. The journey to  get here was long, but you don’t care about that,   and to be honest, we don’t either, because we’re  here. Martin’s hugging his family and friends   again, and even though I haven’t been here before,  this place feels like home. And so, we settle into  

Our accommodations, my family’s bed and breakfast,  La Casetta. It’s a new business, actually. This   used to be their home when I last stayed over  here, but it’s been completely remodeled,   and they gave us the bathroom with views of the  Mediterranean Sea because I’m the favorite nephew,  

After all. So, give us a second to sleep off  our jet lag, and then we’ll start exploring. Now, Sicily is a stunning island at the tip  of Italy, and the primary language is Italian,   but you’ll often hear the beautiful, rhythmic  Sicilian dialect. Spanish and English can  

Get you pretty far, as well as plenty of  hand gestures. Now, about money, Italy,   and thus Sicily, uses the Euro. It’s always  handy to have some cash for small purchases,   although cards are widely accepted in  most places. The best time to visit is  

Spring or fall due to the great weather and  fewer tourists. Now, let’s get exploring. Well, we’re in Sicily! I cannot believe  that we’re actually here, Martin. Yes, I’m very excited to be here. The first  video that we’re going to record over here   is in Agrigento, and there’s a reason behind that.  In 2011, I spent an entire summer over here trying  

To learn Italian, and I kind of did. So, we’re  extremely excited to be spending a couple of weeks   here. And here in Agrigento, we have a plan to  show you guys a lot of things to do in the city,  

Make you fall in love with it, make you consider  traveling here. And what’s up first on the agenda? First, if you guys know us, it’s  going to be coffee, but right now,   it’s going to be the Italian way. So, let’s go. Lesson number one: if you  drink your coffee over here,   you have to drink it very fast and  standing up. That’s the real Italian way. That’s a concept I have to get used to. I’m  still taking forever to drink my drink. But  

What’s great is that they serve it at the perfect  temperature, so you’ll never burn your mouth. We have the goods. So, we already showed you,  we started with the coffee, but we also have   this. This is so good right now. We’re at  Le Cuspidi, which is a Sicilian tradition.

Oh yeah. So, it’s a chain. They have a few  different locations all throughout the island. That’s right. But over here, it’s also well-known  because of their, uh, ice creams. Well, gelato. Okay, got it. So, you’re going to probably  have to come back here later, many,  

Many times. But in the meantime,  we got… What is this called? Cornetto. Oh my gosh. So, it’s like basically  a pastry that is full of, um,   pistachio inside. How do you say that? Yeah. Now, Martin hasn’t stopped raving  about this. The whole time I’ve known him,  

He’s always talking about how great  these are, so I have high hopes. Wow, the inside is not what  I expected. The pistachio,   it’s almost as if there was a pistachio  Nutella. That’s like the consistency of  

It. And they actually do sell it in jars to go,  so I think we’re going to have to grab a jar. Martin, I’m addicted. Does it feel weird to be back here? Not at all. Not at all. Agrigento always feels  like home. It’s weird, that feeling of returning  

Over here after many years, and it looks like  the time doesn’t pass through here, you know what   I’m saying? It looks like everything is the same,  same places, same people. Well, I wish some of my   friends were still here, but they moved to other  parts of Italy because they finished their studies  

And now they’re working. That happens. That’s  life. But Agrigento per se is still the same. In front of Le Cuspidi, there’s this street  that is very good for la passeggiata. That’s   something that Italians do after the meals,  and it’s actually just walking to see the  

Different people that you know and say “Ciao,  buona sera.” Normally, it’s after dinner,   but you see over here, all the locals just  walking around. But right now, we’re walking   in the morning because, look, the beautiful  Mediterranean Sea. It cannot get better than this. Hey, look, I made a friend.

Next spot is Via Atenea. The people are  starting to come out. Town’s coming alive,   which is perfect ’cause we’re going to walk down  the street, see what we can find. It’s apparently   the most, uh, it’s like the main street in town.  Lots of bars, lots of shops. And along the way,  

There’s a few other stops we’re going  to show you guys. So, let’s get walking. So, over here, I’m going to say it in  Italian. So, welcome to the art street. So,   we’re going to see a couple of things  that they paint over here. And you know,  

Juliana and myself, we really like  street art. So, let’s explore. It’s easy to get lost in this city, but  that had a purpose. Because when the   Arabs dominated this island, they built the  city with that purpose: to defend themselves   from the attacks from different pirates.  They modeled the city after their own,  

And you can see that influence right now. A lot  of stairways, tiny alleys, but it’s charming. Oh, I have to show you something over here.  This is very important for the people in   Agrigento. This is the Church of San Calogero,  and it’s very, very important. I don’t remember  

If it’s at the end of July or the beginning  of August, but it’s crazy. The city goes mad,   and it’s a big saint. They carry it, but they  need more than 100 people to take it out. So,  

If you can see the stairs, sometimes just imagine  100 people taking it out and then they go back,   and they’re just fighting to take it out, and  then they go all around the city, taking this   heavy saint all around, while they throw, um,  some bread. It’s a beautiful, beautiful festivity.

So, in summary, this town is adorable. Got  it. But like we said, the Mediterranean is,   like, right there, and there’s a spot  Martin and his family want to take me. So,   we meet up with his aunt for a Sicilian beach day.

So, right now, we’re heading 10 km away from  Agrigento, the city, but we’re still in the   province of Agrigento. We’re going to one  place that is beautiful. Take a look at the   Scala dei Turchi, aka the Stair of the Turks.  It’s not just a beach to swim at; it is an  

Impressive cliff made of soft limestone and marble  that’s been eroded into steps over centuries. For our first stop, a lookout  point that offers a panoramic view. Viewpoint check. Now we want  to make our way to the beach,  

So we head to the main parking lot. And once  you park, you’re going to hop into one of the   most Italian-looking ways of getting around,  and this will take you down to the beach. Maybe this driver watches our videos or something  because his impression of me was spot-on.

Wow, oh my god. Wow, oh my god. So, my question is, why is  it called Scala dei Turchi? Oh, because it looks like steps,  and we’re, this island, we’re under   the level of the sea for a long time. So,  that is the erosion of the wind, the salt,  

Etc. But because between the two hills,  it’s a very nice and protected beach. So,   every bandit came here for stealing this place,  for robbing the richness of the town. And for us,   every bandit who speaks different from us  is a Turkish. Oh, so would I be Turkish? They call me Turkish.

They call you Turkish. Still today, we say in our  Sicilian dialect, “Mamma dei Turchi,” because they   arrive for stealing everything. So, that’s why  they arrived, and it’s a safe place to remain,   and it’s not visible from our sea. So, it was  a free, protected, very strategic place to be. Oh, cool.

A couple of years ago, whenever I was living  over here, people could go over there,   and just, you can see all that big rock full  of people. Sometimes, I brought my two cousins,   a couple of friends, we grab a couple of  paninis, we go over there, even without a towel,  

We just sit over there, just take the sun, jump  to the water, have a blast. Then, we just ate our   panino, and we were having such a great day. But  because people didn’t take care of this place,  

They forbid now people to go over there. It’s a  shame, but well, you can see how beautiful it is. So, instead, for us, this afternoon,  the hangout spot is this beach club,   where the Aperol spritzes  flow, and you ask yourself,  

How all these people look so beautiful when  the food here is this good? Speaking of which,   time for lunch. A hole-in-the-wall place called  Bar del Porto, off the road back to Agrigento. See, this is what I love about coming  to a town that has a local who’s lived  

Here for decades. Who would have  never known to stop here? And uh,   it’s time for lunch, and you know what  time that is for us. Arancini time. We’re going to make a whole video talking  about all the food you need to try in Sicily,  

So stay tuned next week for that.  But in the meantime bon apetite… Next step, we’re visiting one of the most  famous places in Agrigento and in Sicily.   That is Valle dei Templi. Luckily for us, we  have one person with us that knows a lot about   this place. That is my aunt, and she’s a  tour guide. So, let’s meet up with her.

So, Martin has this family here,  right? And you may be wondering,   what the connection here is exactly.  Well, Martin’s aunt is his mom’s sister.   She’s from Mexico originally, and  during Mexico’s World Cup in 1986,   she fell in love with a visiting Sicilian.  The rest is a story as old as time.

So, she’s the family’s traveler, working  as a flight attendant for many years,   and eventually settling down in Sicily. My  uncle has an eerily similar story. And for   both Martin and I, these two family members  were the reason we were inspired to travel  

And live abroad. Maybe you have an aunt  or uncle like this too. Maybe we all do. Anyways, now she’s living in Agrigento,  maybe one of the only Mexicans living here,   and she’s found a way to use her multilingual  skills by being a certified tour guide in  

Valle dei Templi. I mean, the process  to become a tour guide here is rigorous,   and she’s got hustle and a unique talent  at giving this tour in English, Spanish,   Italian, even Portuguese. We’ll leave her  info below, but in the meantime, we’re going  

To enjoy following her around on today’s  unofficial “bring your nephew to work” day. So, it’s the biggest archaeological  site in entire Europe. That’s wonderful. And you haven’t seen it all yet, even  though you’ve been here 12 times. Yep, imagine that.

To really understand Valle dei Templi, we  got to go back a few centuries before Christ.   Picture this: ancient Greece, but not just  any old town. We’re talking about Agrigento,   or as it was called back then, Akragas. This was  the third most crucial city in the Greek world,  

Just behind Athens and Syracuse. And  it had everything: lush agriculture,   bustling fish markets, booming trade,  and yes, even the drama of war. When the poet of the era, Pindar, came to visit,   he was so blown away that he dubbed it  “the city of the golden temples” and called  

It “the most beautiful city of the mortal  world.” Talk about a five-star Yelp review. Here’s where it got complicated. By 406 BC,  Akragas caught the eye of the Carthaginians,   and let’s just say they weren’t here to sightsee.  The city took a hit, big time. Fast forward to 210  

BC, enter stage left, the Romans. And boy, did  they know how to make an entrance. They chopped   down every cypress and pine in sight. Why?  Because they could. And they’d much rather   grow wheat and turn this into an agricultural  town. The result? Desertification. And with that,  

A name change to Agrigentum, or Farm Nation.  After the Romans had their fun, it was like   a revolving door of rulers. Arabs, Normans, and  finally the Spanish, before Italy said, ‘Alright,   enough. Let’s wrap it up.’ Fast forward a few  centuries, and the ruins of this once glorious  

Greek city are what we now call Valle Dei Temple.  Each temple here, from the majestic remains of the   Temple of Concordia to the fragments of the Temple  of Zeus, stands as a testament to human ambition   and reverence. This was their way of reaching for  the divine, of trying to touch something greater  

Than themselves. And yet, time has done its number  on them. But these ruins, well, they are some of   the best-preserved temples of the Greek that we  still have today. And amidst all this talk about   history, Martin’s aunt pulls us over to grab  something from a tree. She mentions something  

About getting ready for the goats. We won’t ask  too many questions. So, there are some goats   here that are almost extinct in the rest of the  world. They’re just here. Apparently, they really   like to eat these little seeds that we picked up  earlier. Look at the horns. Wow, I’ve never seen  

A goat like this. His little tongue. You smell  kind of bad. Both of us are in the same boat.   We’re hungry, and let’s be honest, we stink in  this heat. But let’s tackle one issue at a time.  

We haven’t explored even half of this place yet,  so a shower is off the table for now. However,   there’s a cafeteria right here that can definitely  take care of our hunger. Alright, so about midway   through our tour, there’s a little stop at a  little cafe. Well needed. Yes, well needed. And  

It’s my first time trying this. This is a granita,  and you can have it in different flavors. So right   now, Juliana had one of watermelon, which sounds  so good in this heat. Yeah, and for me, I have  

The traditional, that is, lemon. Oh my God, it’s  delicious. And also, pro tip, they serve a special   type of coffee here with almonds and pistachio.  That’s right, the only place pistachio, the dust,   let’s say like that. It’s totally unique to this  spot right here. And you might not realize that if  

You’re coming here as a tourist, you think, ‘Ah,  it’s just a spot to grab a snack.’ No, that’s like   something you definitely need to try. We wrap up  our snacks and decide to keep exploring. I don’t   know if you recognize this? This is Temple of  Concordia, so it’s the best-preserved temple over  

Here in this valley. And, uh, curious thing, this  is a symbol of the UNESCO, so this is a big thing,   and it’s beautiful, beautiful right now. So, I  think we are very lucky that we can see this,  

This, and hopefully, you can also do that. Oh,  wow, look at the shell. Check this out, guys.   Sicily used to be underwater many, many, many  years ago, and when you’re still walking around,   you can see shells everywhere, which is super  cool. But anyway, that’s not what I’m here to  

Talk about now. Check this out. This temple, not  only is it so well-preserved, but there’s actually   a fun little optical illusion here as well. See,  if this was designed how you’d think, it would be   perfectly straight at the top. The human eye would  actually morph it, so it looked arched. But the  

People who designed this knew that and accounted  for it, so they overcompensated with how they   structured the top. It’s actually slightly  curved this way, which with the human eye,   it makes it look perfectly straight. Same concept  applies to the columns as well. If they would  

Have just designed them perfectly straight, they  wouldn’t look perfectly straight. They actually   have them a little bit bigger in the middle. So,  there’s so much to say about this place, but just   look at it, it’s gorgeous. Valle dei Temple was  definitely a highlight of our trip, so much so  

That we went back for a second visit. For those  thinking of going, it costs €13 to get in, and a   word of advice: bring a hat, water, sunscreen,  and maybe an umbrella. It gets seriously hot,   and you’ll be walking for hours. Just when we  thought our visit couldn’t get more memorable, as  

We reached the Temple of Hercules, the sky started  to put on a lightning show, like we’re straight   out of a Greek myth. We bolted for shelter faster  than you can say Arancina. Which brings us to our  

Next lifesaver, a little shop where we grab some  more of those delicious rice balls to go. [Music]   And where did we enjoy this impromptu snack?  Back at our cozy hideout, Martin’s family’s bed   and breakfast, which by the way, had killer Wi-Fi  and a kitchen that saw more of us than the local  

Eateries some days. Speaking of our Sicilian  lifestyle, we were juggling our actual jobs on   this trip from 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. So, by  the time we were able to actually go outside,   most of the restaurants in Agrigento had already  been closed. Where do you go when you’re in search  

Of dinner and things are closed? Wherever  people party. We’re currently in San Leone,   and we’re grabbing just a big sandwich over here.  We met up with Martin’s friend Alessandro and his   fiancée, and they took us to this little fair food  truck park where they say they come all the time,  

Every time after they’re done partying on the  beach in San Leone. What did he say? He said like,   ‘Alessandro doesn’t like to dance; he likes to  eat.’ Yeah, I like to eat, me too. Actually,   brings me a lot of memories over here because I  used to spend every single night in this place.  

Oh my gosh, I bet. And now, take a look at what we  have to. It’s cheap, it’s huge, looks delicious,   and we would never have known about this place if  it wasn’t for them. That’s right. I take a moment  

To realize here I am, catching up with an old  pal from 2011, while my wife, who’s never seen   this side of the world, takes it all in around  us. Carnival rides spin in the neon light,   and in my hands, I got an absurdly delicious  sausage sandwich buried under a mountain of fries,  

While the Mediterranean Sea sparkles under  the moonlight. This is what made me fall   in love with this place, these unassuming  nights. Just another Tuesday for the locals,   yet an extraordinary moment for a nomad like  me. I hope you enjoy and love Agrigento the  

Same way I do. Yeah, and you guys are in luck  because this is only video number one of our   entire series through Agrigento. So, we’ve left  this video for you guys to watch next if you’re   watching this in the future. So long, and make the  world your neighborhood. See you guys next time.

Video “Why Agrigento is Sicily's BEST Kept Secret – Valley of the Temples, Scala dei Turchi, and more!” was uploaded on 01/07/2024. Watch all the latest Videos by Tourist to Local on Gretopia