Sicily 2016 - 7: Agri-gated Antiquity (50 p.)

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Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
Sicily 2016 - 6: Good Friday in Cefalù (50 p.)

To the video:

March 26 2016

Still a proper village gas station in Cefalù centre on Easter Saturday morning.

Our R 12769 Messina - Palermo already was expected.

But first had to wait to cross IC 728, the first daytime express Palermo - Rome. E656.033 has seen better days.

Then it was time to board ourselves.

For a half-an-hour-ride to Termini Imerese.

R 12769 leaves the junction.

These pictures were taken with permission of police officers who were running my passport through the system at the same time. ;-)

Between Palermo and Termini Imerese, suburban traffic is denser operating every hour. First R 8792 arrived to reverse here.
Only 10 minutes later our R 3924 towards Agrigento followed.

We rode the oldest railway line of the island into the green heart of Sicily.
More info (in Italian):

Roccapalumba-Alia is the junction with the line from Caltanissetta Xirbi and Catania. On a siding, construction vehicles were stabled including a nice old class D341 diesel.

Various Italian DMU liveries at Agrigento Centrale terminal.

The station had been constructed in neoclassical style of the fascist era, including an opulent station chapel.

The old town of Agrigento otherwise dominated by modern high-rises is first and foremost: steep.

Due to lack of space, backyards have spread into the streets.

The church of Cistercian monastery Santo Spirito is decorated by vivid plasterwork from the late 17th century.

Monastero Santo Spirito does not only offer sustenance for the soul, but also for the stomach: the monastery bakery sells these soft almond treats which we enjoyed later on the ride home.

The Greek town of Akragas, lat. Agrigentum, is a treasure trove of antiquity. Museo Archeologico Regionale - which we reached by city bus - exhibits a comprehensive collection of finds starting from prehistory.

The third largest Greek temple had been constructed at Agrigento in 480 BCE. Parts of the Temple of Olympian Zeus were carried by almost 8 metres tall atlantes - only few of the statues and some ruins of the structure remain. However, you can imagine the dimensions if you see how small these giants were in comparison to the whole temple in this model.
More info:,_Agrigento

Touching scene on a child's sarcophagus.

As it rained outside, we went for lunch - but after it stopped walked to the archaeological park and found that Sicily in springtime after a rain shower is just beautiful!

Past sheep we entered the Valley of the Temples, a copy of a fallen atlas was displayed in front of the modern city backdrop.
More about the whole site:

These ruins are all that's left of the huge Olympieion.

To the left a controversial reconstruction of the Temple of the Dioscuri, to the right the gardens of the Kolymbéthra in a valley where probably the basin providing water for the town was located. In the background of both images you can spot the railway line to Porto Empedocle.

We changed to the other side of the road, to the Temple of Concordia from 440 BCE, the best-preserved Greek temple on Sicily.

Old and new in Agrigento.

Panoramic pictures at Temple of Concordia and the station, the sun was coming out.

After arriving back at the railway by city bus, a ray of sun exactly hit the Valley of the Temples (which is actually located on a ridge).

From the old town above the station the view stretches to the coast around Porto Empedocle. This section of the line and Agrigento Centrale only had been completed in 1933, until then Agrigento Bassa outside town served as main station.

Nostalgic Fiat DMU ALn668.1936 in good condition serving on specials to Porto Empedocle.

Sun after the rain.

R 3935 from Palermo approached between high-rises at 4:50 p.m.

Then it was time to board our R 3908 back to Termini Imerese.

The first overnight express to Rome was expected.

E656.497 entered the station hauling ICN 1954.

Although traffic is sparse, these sleeper trains cannot be used by daytime travellers - so we had to wait another half an hour for R 12766 to S. Agata di Militello.

At 8 p.m. we had returned to Cefalù, time to close shop for the day. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.