Agrigento sits in hilly countryside very close to the southern coast of Sicily, and because of its superb temple ruins, it’s one of the most rewarding places to visit in Sicily. The numerous ancient buildings stand in vivid contrast to the modern high-rise blocks that predominate, especially in the southern part of the old town.

Agrigento is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy and capital of the province of Agrigento. It was one of the leading cities of Magna Graecia during the golden age of Ancient Greece with population estimates in the range of 200,000 to 800,000 before 406 BC.


Tempio di Concordia

The Valley of the Temples, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dates back to 500 BC and consists of a series of temples, cemeteries, and tombs. Three of the temples in the eastern group stand together in a row and are illuminated in the evenings.

Tempio di Juno Lacinia

The Temple of Juno (in Greek Hera) Lacinia, sits at the upper end of the eastern row of temples and has a circular hall of six by 13 columns. Of its columns, 25 are still upright. The cella was a room without inner columns. It was given its marble floor later, probably in Roman times.

Tempio di Giove Olimpico

One of the western temples, the one dedicated to Zeus is today an enormous mass of shattered stone blocks and pillars that an earthquake has scattered over an area of 6,000 square meters. It is difficult to form a picture of the building in its original state without plans or the suggested reconstruction supplied by the Archeological Museum, but it was clearly the largest of the temples.

Tempio di Castore e Polluce

To the west of the Olympieion extends a vast area dating back to the Sicans and extended by the Greeks in the sixth and fifth centuries BC. The Temple of Castor and Pollux at the northwest corner has four columns and a fragment of entablature and pediment standing, rebuilt between 1836 and 1871.


The cathedral in Agrigento was built in the 11th century by the Normans on the highest point of the site of the ancient Acropolis, where the Temple of Zeus Atabyrios once stood. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the cathedral was extended, and in the 17th century, it was altered in the Baroque style. Next to the massive bell-tower (be sure to notice its ornate balcony), a grand flight of steps leads up to the main doorway.


Agrigento is a major tourist centre due to its extraordinarily rich archaeological legacy. It also serves as an agricultural centre for the surrounding region. Sulphur and potash were mined locally from Minoan times until the 1970s, and were exported worldwide from the nearby harbour of Porto Empedocle (named after the philosopher Empedocles, who lived in ancient Akragas). In 2010, the unemployment rate in Agrigento was 19.2%, almost twice the national average.

Main sights

Ancient Akragas covers a huge area—much of which is still unexcavated today—but is exemplified by the famous Valle dei Templi (“Valley of the Temples”, a misnomer, as it is a ridge, rather than a valley). This comprises a large sacred area on the south side of the ancient city where seven monumental Greek temples in the Doric style were constructed during the 6th and 5th centuries BC. Now excavated and partially restored, they constitute some of the largest and best-preserved ancient Greek buildings outside of Greece itself. They are listed as a World Heritage Site.

The best-preserved of the temples are two very similar buildings traditionally attributed to the goddesses Hera Lacinia and Concordia (though archaeologists believe this attribution to be incorrect). The latter temple is remarkably intact, due to its having been converted into a Christian church in 597 AD. Both were constructed to a peripteral hexastyle design. The area around the Temple of Concordia was later re-used by early Christians as a catacomb, with tombs hewn out of the rocky cliffs and outcrops.Temple of Hera.Temple of Concordia, Agrigento

The other temples are much more fragmentary, having been toppled by earthquakes long ago and quarried for their stones. The largest by far is the Temple of Olympian Zeus, built to commemorate the Battle of Himera in 480 BC: it is believed to have been the largest Doric temple ever built. Although it was apparently used, it appears never to have been completed; construction was abandoned after the Carthaginian invasion of 406 BC.St Lawrence Church.

The remains of the temple were extensively quarried in the 18th century to build the jetties of Porto Empedocle. Temples dedicated to HephaestusHeracles and Asclepius were also constructed in the sacred area, which includes a sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone (formerly known as the Temple of Castor and Pollux); the marks of the fires set by the Carthaginians in 406 BC can still be seen on the sanctuary’s stones.Porta di Ponte.Palace of the Giants and the Church of San Domenico.

Many other Hellenistic and Roman sites can be found in and around the town. These include a pre-Hellenic cave sanctuary near a Temple of Demeter, over which the Church of San Biagio was built. A late Hellenistic funerary monument erroneously labelled the “Tomb of Theron” is situated just outside the sacred area, and a 1st-century AD heroon (heroic shrine) adjoins the 13th century Church of San Nicola a short distance to the north. A sizeable area of the Greco-Roman city has also been excavated, and several classical necropoleis and quarries are still extant.

Much of present-day Agrigento is modern but it still retains a number of medieval and Baroque buildings. These include the 14th century cathedral and the 13th century Church of Santa Maria dei Greci (“St. Mary of the Greeks”), again standing on the site of an ancient Greek temple (hence the name). The town also has a notable archaeological museum displaying finds from the ancient city.

Agrigento is one of the oldest cities in Sicily and has risen several times on its ancient remains. The Valley of the Temples tells us one of its most fascinating faces, linked to the classical world, along with the extraordinary finds kept in the Regional Archaeological Museum. The city, founded in 581 B.C. by Greek settlers Rodio-Cretan and became Akràgas in the following century, has represented in the past one of the most shining Centers of the Mediterranean. This is why UNESCO inscribed it on the World Heritage Site in 1997.


  • Empedocles (5th Century BC), the Ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosopher, was a citizen of ancient Akragas.
  • Tellias (Ancient Greek: Τελλίας) of Akragas, described in ancient sources as a hospitable man; when 500 horsemen were billeted with him during the winter, he gave each a tunic and cloak.
  • Karkinos (Ancient Greek: Καρκίνος) of Akragas, a tragedian
  • Tigellinus (born c10 AD), a Prefect of the Praetorian Guard and infamous associate of the Emperor Nero, belonged to a family of Greek descent in Agrigento – although he may have been born in Scyllaceum in southern Italy, where his father is supposed to have lived in exile.
  • Paolo Girgenti (1767–1815), a painter active in Naples who served as president of the Accademia di Belle Arti di Napoli, was born in Agrigento.
  • Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936), dramatist and Nobel prize winner for literature, was born at contrada u Càvusu in Agrigento.
  • Vinnie Paz (b 1977), the Italian-American rapper and lyricist behind Philadelphia underground hip-hop group Jedi Mind Tricks.
  • Larry Page (b 1973), co-founder of Google, became an honorary citizen of Agrigento on August 4, 2017


Municipality of Agrigento
Piazza Pirandello, 35
+39 0922 590111