Our Blog - Sicily, February 2008

Shortly after arriving in Sicily we took a 2 hour bus ride to the city of Agrigento. Agrigento is well know for the "Valley of Temples" where there are a large number of well preserved Greek Temples.

The temple of Concord pictured here is the largest and best preserved of the monuments in Agrigento. It was built in the 5th century BC but there is no record to whom it was dedicated.

Another picture of the temple of Concord, this time a side view. Once again you can see how much of the temple has been preserved despite being built 2500 years ago.

A different perspective of the temple, this time a good distance away. In the background you can see some of the modern city of Agrigento as well as the Mediterranean ocean, showing how scenic Sicily can be in spots.

The temple of Juno is obviously not as in as good a shape as the temple of Concord. As you can tell by the name it was dedicated to the goddess Juno and it was built in the 5th century BC.

As before, the temple of Juno is shown but this time from the opposite side as previously.

The temple of Hercules is best known for its immense size. Tom is standing next to one of the eight columns that are still upright, showing clearly how big the structure was. Based on the architectural style, it has been dated at about 100 years older than the temple's of Concord and Juno.

The temple of Castor and Pollux is interesting for the remains of the white plaster decoration that are still visible on the columns and the top of the temple.

Another view of the Castor temple showing the extent of the white plaster remains.

One last picture of the temple, this one a close-up of the fine detailed handiwork.

Walking through the city of Agrigento (or wandering aimlessly) we would run into some old church or building. Pictured here is a fine example of the old churches we would see.

As you can see here Agrigento is built on the side of a hill, above the old Greek remains. Here is a nice view of the temple of Concord with the ocean in the background.

We spent most of our time in Palermo and one of the more impressive sights was the church of Santa Caterina built in the late 16th century. As you can see, the inside is just a bit ornate.

We called this church the one with the "red golf balls on top", but it is otherwise known as San Cataldo. The church was built in the 12th century in the style of the Normans who had been in Sicily during the 12th century.

Right next to the San Cataldo church is a church called La Martorana, built in the 12th century. Unfortunately we did not get any good pictures inside, but there are a number of 12th century Greek mosaics decorating the interior.

In the Piazza Pretoria is this fountain from the 16th century of Florentine design.

In the middle of the city is the Quattro Cantini or "Four Corners". It was built in 1611 and on each corner there are three statues, 1) a season, 2) a king of Sicily and 3) a patron of the city.

The largest church in Palermo is the Cathedrale, founded in 1185 by Palermo's English archbishop. Pictured here is the Catalan-Gothic facade and arches and if you look closely you can see the original Norman carvings.

Here is another view of the Cathedrale, this time from the right side.

Sicily's main opera house is the Teatro Massimo, built in the late 19th century it is the largest theater in Italy. After having been closed for 20 years, it was reopened in 1997, although it was reopened briefly to film the climactic opera scene for the Godfather III.

Near the Teatro Massimo is Palermo's other large theater, the Politeama Garibaldi. In addition to housing a theater there is also a modern art gallery in the Politeama.

Susan is standing in front of one of Palermo's old gateway's into the city. This was at the end of a long day of walking and despite the smile, Susan was not happy.

Our last picture in Palermo is of a nice old church. As we often do on our trips, we were wandering around the city and stumbled upon an old church that looked impressive so we decided to take a picture of it.