We finally have a plan for Sicily and it was time to move on from Marsala. It was a short drive to Agrigento for our first stop.
We had heard a lot about the poor quality of Italian roads and particularly those on Sicily. The road today was on the whole good, the only problem was I spent the whole trip more or less not knowing what the speed limit was. The road was controlled access most of the way and while it was only two lanes there was very little cross traffic. But the speed limit was a total mystery, sometimes really good stretches were posted at 50kmh, some other stretches were posted at 70, and once in a while we would see a short stretch of 90. Near the end just to add some variety there was an 8 or 10 km stretch posted at 60. The problem was there was no rhyme or reason to the speeds, and the Italians around here are pretty stingy with signs. The Garmin was no help as it seemed to have a different opinion than me and was also frequently different than the signs. You cannot judge by the local drivers as they bomb along at any speed they feel comfortable with, but they know where the speed cameras are. I think it will be a miracle if I do not end up with a ticket somewhere along the line, if I did not get one today, even though I was one of the slowest cars on the road.
The purpose of todays trip was to visit the Valley of the Temples near Agrigento. The area around here has been an urban site since the Greeks and there is a large area with different versions of mostly Greek temples, with an area of Roman development thrown into the mix. Ton and I counted 8 different temple sites, but we may have missed a couple. The entire Valley is about one and a half miles, and is one of the most extensive archeological sites I have seen.
The highlight of the valley is the Parthenon like Temple of Concorde which dominates the valley. Originally built by the Greeks 2500 years ago it has been repurposed over time as Carthaginian, Roman, and Christian Temples/Churches which is why it has survived in such good shape. Many people say it is in better shape than the Parthenon in Athens.
The Valley of Temples is one of the most impressive World Heritage Sites we have visited. For me it was pretty awe inspiring.