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coat of arms
Agrigento (Italy)
Country Italy
region Sicily
Free community consortium Agrigento  (AG)
Local name Girgenti
Coordinates 37 ° 19 '  N , 13 ° 35'  E Coordinates: 37 ° 18 '45 "  N , 13 ° 34' 30"  E
height 230  m slm
surface 244 km²
Residents 58,273 (Dec. 31, 2019)
Population density 239 inhabitants / km²
Factions Fontanelle, Giardina Gallotti, Monserrato, Montaperto, San Leone, Villaggio La Loggia, Villaggio Mosè, Villaggio Peruzzo, Villaseta
Post Code 92100
prefix 0922
ISTAT number 084001
Popular name Agrigentini
Patron saint San Gerlando
Website Agrigento

Agrigento (Italian: Agrigento , until 1927 Girgenti; ancient Greek: Ἀκράγας, Akragas , or Ακράγαντα [ς], Akraganta [s] ) is a town with 58,273 inhabitants (as of December 31, 2019) on the south coast of Sicily , 4 km from the sea located away. It is the capital of the Agrigento Free Community Consortium .


The city is located at 213  m slm on a steep rock height to the east and north and slowly falling to the west and is surrounded by two rivers, the S. Anna or Fiume Drago and the S. Biagio. These unite below the city, halfway to the sea.

The urban area is divided into two halves by a deep valley, of which the north-western part rises up to 328 m, the southeast part up to 351 m above sea level. The Acropolis is in the northwestern part. The urban area in the form of an irregular rectangle covers an area of ​​about 450 hectares. The total area of ​​the municipality is 244  km² , the population density is around 217 inhabitants / km².

The neighboring municipalities are Aragona , Cattolica Eraclea , Favara , Joppolo Giancaxio , Montallegro , Naro , Palma di Montechiaro , Porto Empedocle , Raffadali , Realmonte , Sant'Angelo Muxaro and Siculiana .

Panorama of Agrigento (2014, photo from the southwest)


Concordia Temple, 1836

It is assumed that the place was occupied by a settlement of the Sicans early on , as the system of corridors carved deep into the rock is ascribed to them. A pre-Greek necropolis was also found west of the city.

Around the year 582 BC Emigrants from Gela and Rhodes established the city of Akragas here , which was later called Agrigentum in Roman times .

For the history of the ancient city, see: Agrigento Archaeological Sites

San Calogero around 1800

When the Arabs conquered Agrigentum in AD 829, only a village stood on the northern hill of the ancient settlement, the former Acropolis, on the site of the ancient city. A Berber settlement developed there under the name of Kerkent or Gergent , which developed into a center of Muslim settlement in Sicily and competed for supremacy with the Arab city of Palermo .

In 1087 Gergent was conquered by the Normans . Roger II established a diocese here. Among other things, through trade with North Africa and agriculture, Gergent became a wealthy city. The place initially concentrated on the western part of the Girgenti hill. There are also the oldest churches in Agrigento, the Cathedral of San Gerlando and S. Maria dei Greci. To the east of the original location (about east of Via Bac-Bac), a new quarter was built in the 13th century, which was mainly built by the Chiaramonte family , who were one of the most important noble families in Sicily in the late Middle Ages. The Chiaramonte family also had the late Gothic monastery of S. Spirito built.

With the expulsion of the Arabs by Frederick II , the city lost its economic importance. Therefore, there was no major construction activity in the following centuries. Under Spanish and Bourbon rule, Girgenti, as the city was called in the meantime, became a less important provincial town again. Only the sacred architecture experienced an upswing from the 16th century, which is attested by churches such as San Calogero, San Lorenzo and San Domenico. In 1927 the city adopted the Latinized name Agrigento.


Old town

San Gerlando Cathedral

The Cathedral of San Gerlando was built in the 11th century on the highest point of Girgenti Hill. Assumptions that the archaic Temple of Zeus was built over with the cathedral could not be confirmed by archaeological finds. The cathedral was rebuilt several times, including in the 16th and 17th centuries. Century, and through a restoration completed in 1980 largely returned to its medieval state. A wide flight of stairs leads up to the facade. To the right (south) of the facade there is a massive bell tower in the Chiaramont style . The interior has three aisles with the plan of a Latin cross. The front part of the central nave is covered with a cantilevered ceiling from 1518, the slightly higher central part with a coffered ceiling from 1682. A silver urn with relics of St. Gerlando is kept in a chapel in the right side wing, which has a Gothic portal .

The church of S. Maria dei Greci was built around 1200 on the remains of a Doric temple, probably the temple of Athena. It was the main church of the Greek Orthodox Christians in Agrigento in the Middle Ages. A small, overgrown courtyard is in front of the pointed arched portal. The plan of the church is in the shape of a Greek cross. The interior has three naves with three flat rounded apses. On the beamed ceiling there are still traces of paint from the 14th century and on the right side wall there are remains of medieval frescoes. On the north side of the church, below the level of the church, parts of the excavated crepe and six Doric truncated columns of the Temple of Athena can be seen.

Chiesa San Lorenzo

Other attractions in the old town include:

  • S. Spirito (13th century), Cistercian church and monastery in the Chiaramont style (late Gothic), inside stucco work by Giacomo Serpotta
  • S. Calogero (16th century),
  • S. Lorenzo (17th century), also called Chiesa del Purgatorio (Church of Purgatory), most important baroque church in Agrigento
  • S. Domenico
  • Porta Atenea, city gate from the 19th century
  • Via Atenea, the main street in Agrigento
  • Museo Diocesano, museum with fresco paintings and reliquary shrines from the Byzantine period

Valley of the Temples

The most outstanding attraction in Agrigento is the so-called "Valley of the Temples", which has been designated an archeology and landscape park. Actually, it is a high plateau at a distance of four kilometers southeast of today's old town of Agrigento, although the plateau with the archaeological park is lower than the city itself. As a "valley" it only appears from the perspective of the height of the Old town to the lower lying region. The Valley of the Temples Archeology and Landscape Park is part of the archaeological sites of Agrigento, which show the remains of the ancient city of Akragas and are among the most impressive archaeological sites in Sicily. In 1997 the archaeological sites of Agrigento were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The buildings on the slope edge of the high plateau include the temples of Hera and Heracles as well as the Concordia temple, which is completely preserved except for the roof. In the park is also the Archaeological Museum , which shows finds from prehistory and ancient times from the Agrigento area.


About 4 km south of the old town is the district of San Leone, which has several beaches.

The house where Luigi Pirandello was born can be visited about 2 km west of the old town, in the district of Villaseta . It was declared a National Monument by the Italian state in 1949. Inside you can find furniture, personal belongings and photos of Pirandello as well as first editions of his books.

7 km southeast of the city center, where members of the community Agrigento fraction Cannatello remains were of a fortified prehistoric discovered settlement. It existed from the advanced middle to the late Sicilian Bronze Age (14th to 13th / 12th centuries BC) and was located on a flat hill about 1.5 kilometers from the coast. The settlement was an important trading center, of which finds of foreign objects that u. a. come from Sardinia, Malta, Crete and Cyprus. During the excavations, fragments of an ox skin bar of Cypriot origin came to light. The settlement consisted of round and rectangular buildings that can be divided into three phases, while the fortification wall has two phases.


Almond tree near Agrigento

The Almond Blossom Festival Sagra del Mandorlo takes place every year between the 1st and 2nd Sunday in February . The Almond Blossom Festival was set up in Naro in 1934 based on the idea of ​​Count Alfonso Gaetani to celebrate the splendid blossom. In 1937 the festival was moved to Agrigento in the Valley of the Temples (Valle dei Templi) and is now considered an annual cultural event.

Town twinning

sons and daughters of the town

Alexander Hardcastle (1872–1933), a captain in the British navy and amateur archaeologist, has close ties to Agrigento .


Agrigento hosted the 1994 UCI Road World Championships . At this world championship, the discipline of the individual time trial was included for the first time , in which Chris Boardman won ahead of Andrea Chiurato and Jan Ullrich .


  • Brigit Carnabuci: Sicily. Greek temples, Roman villas, Norman cathedrals and baroque cities in the center of the Mediterranean (=  DuMont art travel guide ). 6th, updated edition. DuMont Reiseverlag, Ostfildern 2011, ISBN 978-3-7701-4385-6 .
  • Ferruccio Delle Cave, Marta Golin: Agrigento, the Valley of the Temples. With the archaeological museum . Folio, Vienna a. a. 2004, ISBN 3-85256-275-9 .
  • Gero von Wilpert : Goethe-Lexikon (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 407). Kröner, Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 3-520-40701-9 , p. 9 (penultimate entry).

Web links

Commons : Agrigento  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Statistiche demografiche ISTAT. Monthly population statistics of the Istituto Nazionale di Statistica , as of December 31 of 2019.
  2. Ernesto de Miro: Archai della Sicilia greca. Presenze egeo-cipriote sulla costa meridionale dell'isola. L'emporio miceneo di Cannatello. In: Actes de la rencontre scientifique en hommage à Georges Vallet organisée par le Center Jean-Bérard, l'École française de Rome, l'Istituto universitario orientale et l'Università degli studi di Napoli «Federico II» (Rome-Naples, 15 -18 November 1995). Rome 1999, pp. 71-81 ( online ).
  3. Concerning the Cypriot jugs especially: Peter M. Day, Louise Joyner: Coarseware Stirrup Jars from Cannatello, Sicily. New Evidence from Petrographic Analysis. Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici (SMEA), 47, 2005, pp. 309-314 ( online as PDF ).
  4. ^ Anthony Russell: In the Middle of the Corrupting Sea. Cultural Encounters in Sicily and Sardinia between 1450-900 BC University of Glasgow 2011, pp. 129ff.