This weekend my husband and I went on an amazing tour to the ancient Greek temples in Agrigento, we had our first 5 course Italian meal, and we saw the beautiful Marl formations that make up the Turkish Steps. There was TOO much that happened for me to write about it in one day. Instead, over the next few days I will write about each area in detail and post about it.
From were we live, the Agrigento Temples are about a two and a half hour drive away. You drive through gorgeous rolling hills of Sicilian farmland. This drive was exactly what I had pictured when we were told we were moving to Italy. As we wound around hillsides you could look up and see old castles and brick towns sitting on hilltops. Everywhere you looked there was something beautiful to see. I tried to take pictures throughout the drive but the photos did not do it justice.
Just as I started to feel content with my views for the day, we twisted around another hill and right in front of our eyes was this stunning turquoise colored ocean meeting the soft sky blue above. The ocean was so clear you could see different shades of turquoise varying based on the depth of the water and what was underneath. It was stunning to look out towards your left and see the clear water and sky. Then turn to your right and towering above you are Greek temples that you have only ever seen in pictures and movies.
In Sicily they called this place the Valle Dei Templi or the Valley of the Temples. It is currently an archaeological and restoration site and they are continuing to search for what may still remain under the sand. They have found neighborhoods, graveyards, the Olympeion field, but the most well known are the temples found in this area.
We went through three of the Doric style Temples. The first was The Temple of Juno. We were told that this was the temple of marriage. Newly or soon to be married couples would seek out this temple together. It seemed to be a smaller temple with four small steps leading you inside. According to our guide, the building had been damaged by a fire and was restored by the Romans and it is evident when looking at the various materials remaining.
Next we walked past many tombs to reach the Temple of Concordia. This is the Temple of friendship. It was much more in tact than the last with 13 columns along the sides of the temple and 6 columns lining the front and back. Many years ago this Temple would have marble lining the roof and intricate carvings along the top. We were told that this temple survived much longer because of the walls in the interior that helped to maintain the structure of the building.
We ended with the Temple of Heracles. Sadly, apart from a few standing columns, this temple has mostly fallen. Although my guide was knowledgeable and shared with us what he knew, I found myself wanting more information about the people who had come here to worship, the people who had designed the building, and the people who lived in the ruined city just behind it. There seemed to be a lot of information on how the buildings were made and their purpose, but little information about life in this area or life during the creation of these temples.
After we finished our tour, we were off to lunch….