Sicily-day five

Today was the day with our furthest trip – all the way to the other side of the island and Scala dei Turchi.

We got up early, after all 160 km were ahead of us. We had to get through the horrible traffic of Palermo again, this time with a new curious thing. We saw small trucks staying on the traffic lights and men selling peaches to the drivers of the stopped cars 🙂

Overall, the trip wasn’t really interesting and we tried quite hard not to mind the horrible roads and the holes in the brand new highways. It was hard but the beautiful views were a nice distraction.

Our whole navigation was with the help of google but the road was well marked and there was no problem with the orientation. Here’s our first meet with the Scala dei Turchi, from a specially made platform for views and photos:

The cliff is in the middle of nowhere, there are only few villas and cafes around it. After you pass the terrace, a few hundred meters down the road there is a huge paid parking where you can leave your car. A lot of people left theirs on the road but I do not recommend to do the same. Here’s the parking site, there are bathrooms, toilets and a cafe. The price was an euro per hour, standard as always.

Opposite of the parking there are a lot of stairs, near another cafe, which leads you to the beach near the Cliff. But first, some information 🙂

This white cliff is located along the stretch of sea between Realmonte and Porto Empedocle (Agrigento) and its rock is made of a soft, limestone and a blinding white marl. The nature, as a great artist, has worked this material over time, making it soft and sinuous, with the help of the sea and the salty breeze, creating terraces and smoothing every corner. When you ascend the staircase, you will have the feeling of being in Wonderland, on a huge white meringue. The sea, taking advantage of this sparkling white, will be showing off his blue.  A very intense blue, and while sitting on the steps admiring the sea, you will be surrounded by the most pleasant thoughts. The local boys are often diving from the most prominent steps, racing to decide who is the braver; I would not recommend imitating them even though looking at them is a real show.

Here the sun becomes dazzling, but to climb safely you should go barefoot or with your slippers, you just have to be careful not to slip, especially on wet rocks. The more daring will reach through the stairway the beach to the west and will then be rewarded with a less frequented place for bathing.

By the way, the name Scale of the Turks seems to derive from the fact that in ancient times the ships of marauding Arabs and Turks found shelter in this bay.

We enjoyed the beach as much as this impressive cliffs.

As you can see from the photos, it wasn’t as organised as the others we visited on the island, but was beautiful with clear, clean and shallow water, simply perfect for us and our son.

The only unpleasant fact was that there were too many traders, selling scarfs, hats, bathing suits, towels and just everything and had taken big part of the beach.

As you can imagine, we spent many hours here and around mid afternoon we left. You can spent all day here, around a kilometer down the road there is another beach, more organised, if you don’t like this one. Climbing the at least hundred stairs back wasn’t nice but we had to do it.We had another site planed and then few hours ride back to Mondello.

Around 14 km away is the famous Valley of the temples. But before I tell you about it, I’ll give you some information as the site is quite confusing. There’s a huge parking on one of the entrances, but to see all of the valley you should have at least four hours. There is a lot of walking under the hot sun and almost no shade. There are taxis, offering to take you to the other side of the valley and that way saving you half of the walking. We didn’t used them so I can’t say if they are worth it. You can pay the parking only on machines, but keep in mind that they take only cash, no credit cards.

The entrance for the valley is at different cost, from 17 to 12 euro, depending on the included sites.

One of Sicily’s most famous historical attractions is without a doubt the Valley of the Temples, just outside Agrigento.
 This splendid archaeological park consists of eight temples (and various other remains) built between about 510 BC and 430 BC

The temple of Castor and Pollux (Dioscuri),  the legendary twin brothers, born from the union of Jupiter and the queen of Sparta, nowadays has only four columns left and has  become the symbol of Agrigento.

The temple of Olympian Zeus (Jupiter) was built to thank Zeus on the occasion of the Agrigentines’ victory over the Carthaginians, in 480 BC .  Here are the famous atlases, some gigantic statues with human shape, once used as columns o pilasters.

The temple of Concordia, also built around the 5th century, is located along the via Sacra and is among the best preserved temples. In the sixth century it was transformed into a sacred building. The name Concordia comes from a Latin inscription found near the temple itself.

The temple of Heracles (Hercules) is the oldest one.  Inside it kept a bronze statue of Hercules himself, which  the Akragantines loved very much.  The temple, destroyed by war and natural disasters, today has only eight columns left

The temple of Aesculapius was built far outside the ancient walls of the city, a place of pilgrimage for the sick who asked to be healed. The walls of the temple were covered by the words of the sick who obtained healing.

The tomb of Theron, near the Golden Gate, is an imposing pyramidal monument made of tuff stone. It was built in memory of the fallen of the Second Punic War.

The temple of Vulcano whose remains make us suppose it once was an imposing building, dates back to the fifth century.  In its foundations, the remains of an archaic temple were found.

The temple of Juno (Hera Lakinia) – Its name, like that of the nearby Temple of Concordia, is conventional as a result of a wrong interpretation of a Latin inscription that  aligns it with the temple of Hera, in Crotone. Placed spectacularly in the easternmost part of this  magical hillside, it housed the cult of the goddess of fertility. The traces of fire, amazingly still visible in the walls of the cell, remind us of 406 B.C. when this magnificent temple, almost identical to that of Concordia, was destroyed by the Carthaginians. Nearby, there is also a clearly visible big altar for sacrifices (in the East side) and a section of street deeply furrowed by carts coming from the city’s  “Gate III”.

Here are some more photos of the beautiful place:

Although there was no much to tell about, or at least as much as for Palermo, this day was tiring and impressive.

The road back was quite upsetting because the road pavement wasn’t good at all and was bothering my husband and on the highest points of the road fog and clouds appeared. But the views were gorgeous again…

I forgot to tell you that we saw a lot abandoned buildings, from cottages to castles… I don’t know why they have such and unfortunate destiny, but it was really sad…

These views marks the end of my travel diary and. Stay tuned for our trip to Erice and the most windy lift I’ve ever traveled with 🙂

I wish you a lovely new 2020 year and don’t stop traveling!

Author: marinelapetrunova

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