Baglio della Luna, Agrigento
A visit to the extraordinary Valley of the Temples archaeological park just outside Agrigento is a highlight of any self-drive tour of Sicily. The Foresteria Baglio della Luna has a peaceful countryside setting with distant views over the temples which are around 3km from the hotel.
The hotel’s medieval watchtower and separate hotel building are clustered around a beautiful sun-drenched inner courtyard and encircled by lush gardens with shady seating spots among wisteria, olive, lemon and palm trees. A Jacuzzi, set amidst sweetly-scented honeysuckle, is ideal for some post-sightseeing relaxation but the hotel’s top spot is a large terrace with temple views that are particularly dramatic at night.
Breakfast and dinner is served on the terrace or in the restaurant on the ground floor of the watchtower, accompanied by gorgeous views of the gardens and, at night, the floodlit temples.
Breakfast on granitas, juices, fruit and homemade pastries. The dinner menu is excellent, with plenty of fish and locally sourced produce.
Bedrooms are located in the watchtower (accessed via a spiral staircase) and the Foresteria, traditionally furnished with antique wooden furniture and some with balconies. For maximum atmosphere, pick a room in the tower where the high ceilings are frescoed and there are views over the garden and the Temples.
Having a car to get around is essential. The Valley of the Temples is approximately 3km away. One of Sicily’s most spectacular attractions, the park comprises eight temples, built between around 510BC and 430BC.
There are several beaches close by – in fact, Maddalusa beach, the nearest to the hotel, is just 500m away. Other local beaches include Palma di Montechiara in the Punto Bianca nature reserve and the vast deserted beach at the edge of the Torre Salsa nature reserve.
The dazzling white steps of the Scala dei Turchi is 11km from the hotel at Realmonte. For a great day out, take a private boat trip along the south coast and get the best view of the steps from the water. Boat trips are also available to the Pelagie islands (Lampedusa and Linosa), departing from Porto Empedocle.
The city of Agrigento is a few minutes away from the hotel by car. Whilst modern Agrigento is rather ugly, the old town comprises a maze of small streets and narrow alleyways, with elegant shops, bars and trattorias, that converge on the main Via Athenea. The Cathedral and the Santa Maria dei Greci churches are worth visiting.
Fans of poetry, drama and literature may enjoy visiting Luigi Pirandello’s home which has been transformed into a museum dedicated to his life and works, with his tomb in the garden.
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