I love beautiful gardens. And if anything, Italy and Sicily have some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen (take Villa d’Este near Rome for instance). And the Giardino della Kolymbetra at the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Sicily is no exception.
This garden was sadly abandoned for many years until late when much effort was made to restore it to its former glory.
The history of the garden dates back to around 500 BC when the Greeks occupied Sicily. The garden was established as part of the ancient town of Akragas (today, Agrigento), once home to some 200,000 people. Because the area was mostly arid at the time, an extensive irrigation system was developed and as a result, a lush garden conceived.
What makes the garden so unique is the combination of ancient ruins and flora and fauna as well as many plants no longer cultivated in the Agrigento region but still grown here.
You’re even allowed to pick citrus fruit off the trees and consume it right there on the spot! There are small bins all over to avoid littering as well as streams where you can wash your sticky fingers thereafter. The citrus fruit is as fresh as anything and there is nothing like sitting in the sun eating a freshly plucked piece of fruit in utter tranquility. Thank heavens there were no tourists around either! As you can imagine this made the experience even more special.
Below is our tour leader, Giovanna Zagarella, a local Sicilian helping herself to some of the fruit!
Here she is again feeding my translator Umberto Cilia and having a ball!
Patricia Khalil (Descobrindo a Sicília) and Marco Cittadini (Piceno On the Road), fellow travel bloggers on this trip, told me about the region’s citrus fruit. The lines it seems, when it comes to the names of these fruits, is a little blurred (much to my metaphoric delight)! You have to taste it to believe it!
Shortly after filming the above video I myself made a dash for the nearest citrus tree and devoured the ‘orangerine’ whilst viewing the final stretch of the garden (full of giggles and happiness!).
Giardino della Kolymbetra is an experience that arouses the senses – an experience that feeds both the mind and the stomach. After visiting the Valley of the Temples make your way to this spot for a refreshingly sweet sit-down in the sun.
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