Friday, October 08, 2010


(an oasis in a not so lovely desert)...

We had been told that the southern part of Sicily, west of Vittoria, was a rather sad and dangerous part of the island. In fact, most of these warnings came from people who had themselves grown up in the area. Still, I have to admit I was surprised by just how bad (and yes, sad) it became around Gela and extending all the way to Agrigento. Mamma mia.

Busloads of tourists flock to Agrigento for one purpose. To visit the incredible Valley of the Temples that sit strangely out of place in front of the hillside concrete jungle that makes up the city. The “Valley” is the remains of a greek settlement dating back to the 5th century b.c., including 7 temples built out of the tufa rock below them. It is an amazing site and a must if you are spending a good amount of time in Sicily.

The big problem is where to stay. Villa Athena, recently re-opened 5-star hotel is located about 200 meters from the main entrance of the Valley and had amazing views of it. Not bad for a quickie one-night stay, see the Temples and then "get out of dodge".

But for a truly pleasant and relaxing experience, just a sort 1/2 hour drive away is the very lovely Mandranova agriturismo. In located in the midst of hactares upon hectares of olive trees (olive oil is there main product), you will find a high-end bed and breakfast with 12 rooms and suites, all decorated differently with a touch of class. The owners, Giuseppe and Silvia, are warm and welcoming hosts, who love to show you around the property, telling you fun stories of its evolution as well as the history of the surrounding area. Dinner is served nightly by Silvia who, in my opinion, makes the best cassata in all of Sicily. Two huge pieces were necessary to make that statement! :)

It may not be located in the greatest of areas (and there is some noise from the superstrada nearby), but between the gardens, walks through the olive tree farm, two wonderful hosts, a divine kitchen and lovely rooms, it gets my vote as the place to stay when visiting Agrigento.

An add-on to your stay in the area, can be a visit to the Morgante winery featuring some of Sicily’s most excellent Nero d’Avola wine. It’s not a fancy place, but the Morgante brothers are thrilled to have visitors and teach them the wine making process, and of course, give you an opportunity to enjoy the “fruits of their labor” ~ Cin, cin!

Azienda Agricola Mandranova
Contrada Mandranova
S.S. 115 - Km 217
92020 Palma di Montechiaro (AG)
mobile +39 393 986 21 69
fax +39 0 393 986 21 69

Morgante Winery

Contrada Racalmare, 92020 Grotte

Tel: 0922 945 579


Anonymous said...

Have loved reading about your recent trip. Can't wait to see it- maybe on next visit. Your writing wonderful!

Mutuo Prestito said...

I will be visiting Italy very soon with some friends. Your post is inspiring and I will make sure to add this location in our list :)

Anonymous said...

I've just discovered your blog but wanted to comment how much I've enjoyed reading your post thus far. Looking forward to reading more!


karen said...

Did you have a chance to visit Licata, not too far from Agrigento? The beaches between there and Agrigento are really beautiful and there is an unlikely (but delicious) Michelin stared restaurant there, too, for an unusual culinary feast.

Confronta le carte di credito prepagate e ricaricabili gratuitamente. said...

Adoro leggere i messaggi grande. Avete appena mi ha spinto a fare un viaggio ancora in Italia, grazie al tuo post meraviglioso.

Situ utile sui prestiti cessione del quinto said...

Credo davvero che mi consiglia i tuoi messaggi ai miei amici che intendono visitare l'Italia. Essi potranno beneficiare molto da esso. Continuate così.

accountant in italy said...

Liguria is a fantastic place, Ive been there many and many times and what I love most is the food!!

Telephone Rose said...

This pot is very helpful for the people who visit Italy

Telephone Rose said...

I like this post!

Anonymous said...

thanks from mandranova

Anonymous said...

thanks from mandranova :)