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Agrigento

Agrigento

During its millenary history, the city had four names including (for the Normans) “Girgenti”, which remained the city’s official name until 1927. During Fascism, it was chosen to Italianise the name attributed to the city during the Roman domain (i.e. Agrigentum) and to call it Agrigento.

The city was founded in 581 BC. by some inhabitants of Gela originally from the islands of Rhodes and Crete, with the name of Akragas. Initially the tyranny of Phalarides (570-554 BC) was established which was characterized by a policy of expansion towards the interior, the fortification of the walls and the beautification of the city.

The maximum development was reached with Terone (488-471 BC), during whose tyranny the city had between 100,000 and 200,000 inhabitants and its territory expanded to the northern coast of Sicily. Akragas managed to defeat Carthage several times during the war for control of the Strait of Sicily.

After the death of Theron, a democratic regime finally began (471-406 BC); it was established by the philosopher Empedocles, by the way he refused the power offered him several times by the people themselves. During this period we witness the huge construction of temples and a great economic prosperity that unfortunately in 406 BC, the Carthaginians led by Hannibal, destroyed when they invaded the city, literally razing it to the ground.

The Corinthian Timoleonte, in 339 BC, was the one who rebuilt the city. In 210 BC with the Second Punic War the city came under the control of the Roman Empire.

The Valley of the Temples is the most important archaeological site and the largest in the world; just think that the temple of Olympian Zeus was the largest temple in the whole Magna Graecia! On the site there are ten temples in Doric order, three sanctuaries, several necropolis, water works, fortifications, two Agora (lower and upper), as well as an Olympeion and a Bouleuterion (ie a council hall).

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