Italy without Sicily leaves no image in the mind: This is just the key to everything.
J. Wolfgang Goethe
On the first Sunday of each month entry to the Valley of Temples is free for everyone
I am a tourist guide in Agrigento since 1998. I have a regular official license (SE084//44) as a tourist guide and I have always worked in the tourism since I left University. I studied in Palermo University integrating literary studies with exams in Art History and History of Sicily.
After I took the degree in English and German Literatures, I spent one year abroad in UK and Ireland to get The Proficiency Certificate in English Studies released by the University of Cambridge. In Germany I worked for an year as an assistant of italian courses in a high school for classic studies, the Goethe Schule in Bochum.
As I started the activity of tourist guide I realized it really suits me because it conjugates the passion I have for history and arts with the pleasure to meet people from around the world.
After my work my other passions are classical guitar and drawing. I like painting aquarel cards and bookmarks of Agrigento. You can have them as unique souvenirs.
Why should I have a guided walking tour in Agrigento?
How to arrive in Agrigento
Valley of Temples: Coordinate:
From Palermo Airport take take Highway A 29 to Trapani. Than take the exit to Castelvetrano and subsequently the national road S.S. 115 to Sciacca and Agrigento. (Km 177)
Once in town I suggest...
To visit Agrigento's old town you need an half day time, a comfortable pair of shoes and an open and inquisitive mind.
Park your car in the closest parking to via Atenea, the gateaway to your tour. Leave aside guide books and maps: you will never get one enough detailed about the crazy, entangled subcession of "cortili" and "vicoli" (courts and lanes of arabic origins). Instead of map consulting try to take the best of the poor but enthusiastic english spoken by locals.
Don't give up at the sight of the 110 steps that separate via Atenea from Santo Spirito cloister and go for it. The surprise of an enchanting gothic monastery (XIII century) will reward your efforts. And the convent home made almond cakes will return to you more than the calories you burned.
Go straight up. Look for the norman Cathedral. Don't care about people warning about it possibly being closed. Its severe and imposing fassade deserves a visit. And please pay attention to the several baroque fassades that you will meet on the way to the Cathedral: Palazzo Del Carretto, Celauro, Borsellino, Xerri, Casa Filippazzo...splendid fanthoms of a noble life, gone for ever.
Explore the crypt and the basement of Santa Maria dei Greci church. You'll find out a greek temple in the underground. A temple still supporting a different faith, but a faith, anyway.
And then start finally to go down the steps: hundreds of steps, up to plunge in the most arabic quarter of the town, the "Rabatu". Smell its spicy odours, listen to the voices in the houses (always too loud to be ignored) smile at the children asking you "Yu spiiik inglish?". Stop and look at the faces of people. You will see a lot of Tunisian and Moroccan faces...Araby is back! Araby has never left here.
Now turn your eyes southwards, on the brilliant blue of the Mediterrean and you will suddenly realize how close Africa is.