20 May 2014 Valley of the Temples in Sicily: an Italian World Heritage Site
The Valle dei Templi (in English Valley of the Temples) is a world-famous archaeological site in Agrigento, Sicily.
This area of the historic island that is located off the south of Italy has made it on to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, and this accolade is a clear message to the rest of the world that the whole area is well worth a visit.
The local Sicilians refer to it as ‘Vaddi di li Tempri’ in their native dialect, and any Agrigento resident would passionately sing the praises of the six key temples, or the Templi di Agrigento that are scattered around the area.
The most interesting fact about the Valley of the Temples in Sicily is that in reality, it is actually situated on a ridge. This minor detail hasn’t deterred the many thousands of visitors to the area every year, and the Temple of Juno Lacinia is a fascinating place to start. The Tempio della Concordia in Valle dei Templi is a real sight to behold, and the Temples of Asclepius, Heracles, Dioscuri and Vulcan all have their own unique qualities.
To reach the island of Sicily and the Valle dei Templi in Agrigento, there are a number of suitable routes by both air and sea. The two main airports are located in Catania (Catania-Fontanarossa) and Palermo, while ferry routes operate from mainland Italy to Messina, Palermo and Catania – visitors are spoilt for choice by the range of accommodation that is on offer in Sicily.
Within 20 hectares of olive groves and beautiful scenery in Ragusa, La Palazzola provides an intimate setting of just eleven bedrooms and a private swimming pool. To give the villa a unique and rustic atmosphere, many of the living areas have open walls that can be protected with plastic curtains if necessary. This is the perfect location to feel truly in touch with nature, and it is only 10km from the beach.
For a real sense of luxury, Villa Normanna in Taormina has an eye-catchingly modern design that provides an intriguing contrast to other older buildings in the area. Gunvor Advocaat and her husband Thurmann Nielsen Oistein built the property in 1968, and their artistic influences can be found in every single corner. The panoramic views of the sea at Taormina add the perfect finishing touch.
Moving into the hills above Taormina, Villa Antal has just five bedrooms – however the biggest attraction is the three-tier garden with exotic features. During sunrise or sunset, visitors simply do not know where to look, and they face an agonizing choice between Mount Etna, Taormina and Contrada Mastrissa.
Moving closer to the sea, the Villa Blue in Donnalucata has recently benefitted from extensive renovations. The whirlpool tub provides a great place to relax, and the ‘loggia’ enables all guests to indulge in the Italian tradition of ‘al fresco’ dining. This property is located at the very end of its road – as close to the clear blue sea as possible.
The panoramic view of the opal-blue sea from the Villa San Vito may be enough to persuade guests to stay outdoors. Located in San Vito Lo Capo, this traditionally-built villa is ideal for visiting a variety of fine dining establishments – naturally the perfect end to an entire day spent on the beautiful beach.