A Lesser Known “Must See”

Ciao a tutti,

Before I delve into the actual purpose of this blog, I must share some important news. Today, I made my very first “lifetime”, special purchase. I have been wanting one of these for a long time because of everything that it means to me, and I’m so ecstatic and proud to finally have it. Today, I bought myself a testa di Moro as a celebration of all that I’ve accomplished this year. I cannot wait to have it in my new apartment, and in every place that I live, forever. I’ll share the story of the testa di Moro in another blog, but if you do happen to know the story, it’s that kind of female feisty-ness that I love.

So, the actual focus of this blog… Agrigento! This is a town along the west coast of Sicily that has the Valley of the Temples, the Scala di Turchi, and so much history! It is the most “old fashioned” and traditional city of the better known spots in Sicily, so there was no English spoken… anywhere. However, I loved the challenge! I feel that despite the incredible sights and history of Agrigento, most tourists don’t know to visit this place, or simply don’t know about it at all. Palermo, Catania, Cefalu, Modica… they all receive their worthy attention, but not Agrigento. Every angle of the city has a different “feel” to it… if you visit other places in Italy before coming here, you’ll know what I mean. If you come to Sicily, you MUST see this town!

We began our day in Agrigento by visiting Scala di Turchi, which is technically about 15 minutes north of Agrigento. I wanted to visit Scala di Turchi last year, but we just didn’t have time to go! It is totally free to see Scala di Turchi, the only thing that you may need to pay for is parking nearby. The beach leading up to the “stairs” is beautiful, and you can see how much salt is in the sea from these stairs. When you are finally able to see the stairs, it is breathtaking. They are so pure white, and the sky is incredibly blue. For me, I essentially stripped to my bathing suit and sprinted down the beach to get to the stairs because I was so excited. It takes about 10 minutes walking on the beach to arrive at the stairs, and I recommend just going barefoot. It’s salt, so it’s soft and smooth to walk on! We were truly amazed at the beauty of this place. After spending some time on the stairs and beach, we ate lunch at the restaurant / chalet. It was actually the best food that I’ve had at any beach restaurant!

From the Scala di Turchi, we drove to our hotel to check-in and clean ourselves up before going to the Valley of the Temples. We stayed at what could be called a Bed & Breakfast, called Maremosso. It was a cute little place that was about 5 minutes from the temples. Cleaning ourselves up was a bit counter-productive because our feet were covered in dirt, and we were covered in sweat, by the end of the experience.

The Valley of the Temples was another dream place to visit. I know that I’ve mentioned it before, but places like this and the Colosseum have fascinated me since I was young. I always wonder what it was like to be a person living in ancient times when these monuments were new, what life was like, whether or not these people found life to be difficult. Believe it or not, Sicily actually has better preserved and more grand temples than what you can find in Greece… not just in Agrigento, but in multiple cities. We entered on the Temple of Juno side of the valley, but you could enter from various locations. Between the first and second temple is an almond tree garden that was absolutely magical. Every temple is so grand, warm, and breathtaking against the perfect blue sky.  My favorite was the Temple of Concordia because it was the most complete, and sat dramatically on a cliff. It had a long dirt path as its entrance, and it really allowed me to put myself in the shoes of an ancient citizen approaching this incredible structure. At the end, Grampy and I went into the Kyoto Gardens… Grammy was too pooped. The gardens are citrus orchards and vegetable gardens that sit lower than the temples. It was an incredible moment to be under orange and lemon trees, and to know that ancient Greek temples were just a few hundred yards away. My tip for visiting the Valley of the Temples – wear shoes that you don’t care about. I wore gladiators and did as the Romans and Greeks did, but my feet were very dirty by the end. There are many dirt paths and rocks, so make sure that you’re comfortable. It’s also extremely hot, so make sure that your clothes are light.

To end our night, we ate dinner at La Posata Federico II. It was FABULOUS. I loved this restaurant so much because it truly represents Sicilian cooking. A bystander may think that the menu seems hodge-podge and has strange combinations, but that’s what true Sicilian cooking is. In the past, and still now, they try to use everything that they have and will not waste anything. Although some combinations do seem like they wouldn’t work together, the Sicilians know how to make it taste amazing. Every little detail of our dishes was perfect, the wine was amazing, and the service was wonderful. The owners were so sweet to us, and were sure to steer us in the right direction with our dish choices to ensure that we tried some typical Sicilian dishes at their best. Overall, it’s a must go.

A funny experience from Agrigento – I had three different men ask me to be their girlfriend or marry them, and stay in Sicily with them forever! Honestly, I couldn’t tell if they were joking. The men here are funny… the old men just find me funny I think. The younger men are direct and flirtatious, but harmless. They are never creepy, just very kind and complimentary. And no…. I did not say yes to any of them, but a kiss on the cheek made up for it. :’)

On Sunday, we drove back to Marina di Ragusa, and I spent the day at the beach. After a very busy few days, starting on Friday with a pizza party for 100 people, I was happy to take a sunny nap on the beach. The next blog will be extremely special to me, so please stay tuned for the next one. 🙂

Grazie mille,

Abby

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