History, facts and travel tips about Agrigento
The summit of a nearby hilltop affords a pleasant view of the ancient city of Agrigento, inherited by the Romans from the Greeks who had founded it in 581 B.C..
Since that time, Agrigento has had various occupants who have contributed to its name and characteristics. The Greeks originally named the city Akragas, followed by the Romans, in 210 B.C. who developed and enlarged the city till occupying Arabs changed its name to Girgenti. These two previous names were combined during the occupation of the Norman invaders, who remained in control of the city until they were expelled by Frederic II in the thirteenth century. Since then, and throughout the Middle Ages, the city attracted no further occupants, as trading routes changed and its low position rendered it vulnerable to thieves and marauders.
Thus Agrigento closed its gates and fell into decline, remaining much as it was, retaining its ancient flavour and characteristics. The original city centre has lost little evidence of its inspiring origins to the effects of modernization. Thus Agrigento, in name, and architectural style bears witness to its Greek Byzantine, Latin and Norman heritage.
Agrigento then, is as rich in diversity and history as it is in beauty, as well as being the subject of poets and birthplace of the famous Italian writer Luigi Pirandello.
Writing of Agrigento, the poet Pindaro described it as "The most beautiful city of mortals".
This multicolour panorama of Agrigento stretching toward the horizon; this "monument in palaces" to antiquity, connecting ancient rural life to the roots of urban civilisation, is a feast for the eye and imagination from your hilltop perspective. Notwithstanding evidence of irregular and regrettable urban expansion and building plans over recent years, it remains a feast of history, and a veritable archaeological treasure chest.