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Seeking advice about transportation mostly

Seeking advice about transportation mostly

Nov 13th, 2019, 04:26 PM
  #21  
 
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I don't know much about Agrigento having only briefly stopped in the town but I felt very comfortable in the main center of town and at the temples. I do know several natives we met in Palermo said Palermo feels much safer now than it was 20 years ago.
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Nov 13th, 2019, 04:31 PM
  #22  
 
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When you hear claims like a certain place is unsafe always ask why is it unsafe, how unsafe is it compared to places both of you know and how does he get this information(personal experiences, hearsay, satistics, news).

Agrigento may not be safe if you're running a small business/shop there and struggle to pay the pizzo to the mafia, but a traveller is totally unaffected by this. I can imagine that pickpocketing is more common in Rome and bag snatching in Naples, than in Agrigento.
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Nov 13th, 2019, 07:07 PM
  #23  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by Nepheline View Post
We have more feedback from a native Sicilian who encourages us not to stay in Agrigento and says it can be unsafe. There certainly seem to be differences of opinion about it. Still not sure what we'll do about that.
You've heard a lot of us speak to our experiences, but if you still can't decide, you might try asking for input on Trip Advisor. I don't use TA for trip advice, but many Fodorites over the years have said that there's a poster there -- vagabonda -- who is particularly helpful with questions about Sicily.
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Nov 13th, 2019, 07:11 PM
  #24  
 
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In addition to TA you could also go to the Thorn Tree forum of LP, Western Europe branch. Lucapal is a regular user from Palermo.
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Nov 15th, 2019, 09:17 AM
  #25  
 
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Yes, Luca gives always excellent advice.
I suppose he will tell you that Agrigento is not less unsafe than Paris or Pristina and in any case much safer than most Latin American cities.
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Nov 15th, 2019, 11:08 AM
  #26  
 
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I'd actually expand that to most American cities, including North America.
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Nov 15th, 2019, 12:26 PM
  #27  
 
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Stop at Selinunte on your way to Agrigento from Trapani. Book the golf cart transportation around the huge site.
Agrigento, as I wrote before, the city itself up on top of the hill, is gritty. We are used to cities and homeless people. But these were aggressive, and we finally turned around, skipped walking to the cathedral down a lonely alleyway as we didn’t feel safe, and that is very, very unusual for us to do.
But we loved the area near the temples and our whole stay at The Colleverde Hotel which served wonderful food too.
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Nov 15th, 2019, 12:29 PM
  #28  
 
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On TripAdvisor Forum ask for help from the wonderful Vagabonda.
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Nov 15th, 2019, 01:48 PM
  #29  
 
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"Agrigento, as I wrote before, the city itself up on top of the hill, is gritty. We are used to cities and homeless people. But these were aggressive, and we finally turned around, skipped walking to the cathedral down a lonely alleyway as we didnít feel safe, and that is very, very unusual for us to do."

When did this happen, in daytime or after sunset?

Did they look like locals?
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Nov 15th, 2019, 07:22 PM
  #30  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by HappyTrvlr View Post
On TripAdvisor Forum ask for help from the wonderful Vagabonda.
Gee, why didn't I think to say that? Oh, I did! See post # 23.
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Nov 16th, 2019, 06:23 AM
  #31  
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Interestingly, both people who suggested to me (outside this Forum) that Agrigento can be “unsafe” are travel agents and both are Sicilian, one who currently lives there and works as a guide and one who has a business in the U.S. as a travel planner. I have lived in a rural area for 45 years. My “grit tolerance” is probably lower than some of yours. I am not looking for a Disneyfied experience, but would like to avoid unpleasant interactions of the pickpocketing and purse-stealing variety. I always take the precautions suggested by Bilboburgler when traveling (including in cities here in the U.S.).

I agree with BDKR that listening to advice of fellow travelers is worthwhile, that is why I posted on Fodor's. You guys have the experience and I wanted your opinions. But just like parental advice, giving good travel advice doesn't mean the recipient isn't going to question it, does it?

I am having trouble picturing the general layout of Agrigento. People have mentioned “up in the town,” “the top of the hill,” “the main center of town,” “the historic district.” I would find it helpful if someone could describe briefly the relationship between these different areas of town. Which site is where? I can look at maps of Agrigento which identify different landmarks but don't use these more general descriptions.

KJA – thanks for TA suggestion. I had found Vagabonda's posts a few weeks ago and kind of lurked, reading what was there. I may post a question there, too.

BDKR – I have never read Thorn Tree forum of LP (Lonely Planet?) and will check it out.

HappyTrvlr - I have Colleverde Hotel on my list of possibilities but several reviews commented on the really hard beds which is a deal breaker for us. The location certainly seems ideal and your recommendation makes me want to give it a second look.

Again, thanks to all for your time and thoughts.

Neph
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Nov 16th, 2019, 09:51 AM
  #32  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by Nepheline View Post
I am having trouble picturing the general layout of Agrigento. People have mentioned “up in the town,” “the top of the hill,” “the main center of town,” “the historic district.” I would find it helpful if someone could describe briefly the relationship between these different areas of town. Which site is where? I can look at maps of Agrigento which identify different landmarks but don't use these more general descriptions.
You might try the satelite view in google maps, or in either the satelite or map view, if you plot a walking route from any of the temples to the town, you should see a graphic showing the change in altitude. For example, plot a map from the Temple of Juno to the Temple of Concordia (two of the temples on the ridge) to the archeological museum and on to the town -- you might select the restaurant PerBacco for that. But I'll try giving a verbal description. The three main temples of the "Valley of the Temples" are not in a valley, but are, instead, on a ridge. The sea is some distance to the south and can be seen from some parts of that ridge. The main town of Agrigento is on a separate ridge to the north. From the ridge with the temples, heading north, one descends just a bit to the street where there is an entrance to the ancient site; there's another large section of ancient ruins on the other side of that street. And then, heading north, one climbs up hill, passing the Hotel Villa Athena near the bottom, to the museum and beyond that, the town. Hope that helps!

Last edited by kja; Nov 16th, 2019 at 10:00 AM.
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Nov 16th, 2019, 10:02 AM
  #33  
 
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kja nails it
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Nov 17th, 2019, 12:26 PM
  #34  
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KJA - Thank you for the verbal topo map. That does help.

We are looking into staying at a villa which seems to be located on or near Via Giuseppe La Loggia (based on the orange blob on the Via Michelin map). The listing states that it's a 15 minute walk from the temples. So it sounds as if we could walk to the museum, and then continue on to Agrigento Centrale as shown on the Via Michelin map.
More questions:

HappyTravlr posted “Regarding the grittiness of Agrigento. That is correct for the city way up on the hill. We did not feel comfortable there. Lots of aggressive panhandlers, shuttered stores. And, we usually take those in stride. .However, the area down below near the Valley of the the Temples is very nice.

Is the part of Agrigento described in this post as “way up on the hill” the part that is labeled Agrigento Centrale on the Via Michelin map?

Is Agrigento Centrale the historic part of town?

Is the area HT described as 'nice' and “down below near the VoT” the part of Agrigento labeled Villaseta on the Via Michelin map? Or is this just a characterless new-ish suburb? We're not interested in a shopping mall which is what Citta dei Templi seems to be.
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Nov 17th, 2019, 12:44 PM
  #35  
kja
 
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I would trust the walking times on google maps more than I would trust the walking times in a lodging's listings. Simply telling us the street name doesn't help us know where, exactly, you would be, or which entrances to the archeological site you would use. .

The google maps that I'm looking at don't use the label "Agrigento Centrale" -- labels change with different zooms and foci. But if you look at the map, you'll see an area with lots of streets. (Zoom in an out if necessary.) That's the main part of the city up on the hill. You don't have to go there AT ALL unless you want to so so. And I'm sorry, but I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "the historic part of town." The ruins are in the Valley of the Temples, the location of which I have already described. There is a city, Agrigento, just a couple of kilometers up on the hill, and I'm sure it has a historic center; its my guess that that's what is meant, but I don't know for sure. I can't speak at all for what HappyTravlr meant, and I do wish she would specify the year in which she visited.

A good guidebook, like the Rough Guide, should present all of this information in both text and map form, and it's cost will be nugatory in comparison to the cost of your trip. You might want to make that investment.
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Nov 17th, 2019, 02:28 PM
  #36  
 
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I think you're wasting way too much time on this issue, Book a hotel close to the ruins if you drive or close to the railway station if you go by public transport, go and see the ruins and if you don't like the vibe in the city(chances are that you'll be left wondering why did you worry so much about being unsafe) retire to your hotel room, pull the curtais shut, push the wardrobe to block your room door, load your gun, first round in the chamber and if you survive the night get the hell out of the city in the morning.
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Nov 17th, 2019, 02:39 PM
  #37  
kja
 
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I don't think Nepheline is the one spending too much time on the issue. If she isn't accustomed to cities -- and she said she lives in a rural area -- it's perfectly reasonable, IMO, to seek information to maximize the chance of feeling safe. Anyone who doesn't think so, or can't answer respectfully, is free to decide not to respond. JMO.
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Nov 18th, 2019, 04:47 AM
  #38  
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Thank you, KJA.
At the moment, I have the Eyewitness Travel guide to Sicily (and, from a previous trip, ET guide to Italy, and Insight Guide to Italy). There is a small map of the area of the temples and some of the streets in the section of town from San Biagio to the cathedral. No mention at all of safety or parking. As you all have mentioned, advice from folks who have been there can be more valuable than travel guides. Every old city I have ever visited has a historic center which gets progressively less interesting and uglier as it gets built out over the years. If we are on foot, then walking a couple of miles to arrive at the newer and less interesting neighborhoods is a disappointing waste of our limited time and energy. I have read the Thorn Tree post (and others) mentioning parking in Agrigento being very tight. I am just trying to focus on getting us to places that are, for example, like the barrio historico in Seville. Nice to walk around, savor the architecture, stop for coffee now and then. Why would I want to take the car (if we rent one) into a part of town that is difficult to find a place to put it or likely to be broken into? I have been studying Spanish and can pretty much get by in any spanish-speaking country but don't speak a word of Italian. This leaves me feeling a little vulnerable and wanting to be more prepared than I would otherwise.

I can't get walking times to come up in Google maps using the street address listed on the house rental's website. I emailed the owner to get the street address, who replied in Italian asking me to send him/her my phone number for whatsapp, which I have no idea how to use.

I think we can put this thread to bed. I'll figure it out.

Thanks for all advice.

Neph
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Nov 18th, 2019, 05:20 PM
  #39  
kja
 
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Agrigento is nothing like stunning Sevilla. One visits Sevilla for its barrio historico and the many glorious sites it holds. One visits Agrigento for the Valley of the Temples and the museum. Some of us (like me) like exploring old towns that don't offer any thing in particular worth seeing, but Agrigento is NOT the kind of place you are describing, and many people go to Arigento without ever venturing into the city.

You won't need Italian for the area near the ruins, although a few pleasantries always go a long way.

I'm sure you will figure it out.
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