Words by Michelle Fabio

On the first Sunday in February, Agrigento, Sicily celebrates the first almond blossoms of the season in its Festa del Fiore del Mandorlo.

The almond blossoms are celebrated as harbingers of spring; once the delicate pinkish-white blossoms appear, spring can’t be too far behind—at least in Sicily. Planting spring crops begins in earnest, and here in the south we can start to taste the promise of fava beans for the Festa di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph), Italian Father’s Day, on 19 March.

Agrigento, founded by Greek colonists in 6 B.C., is one of Italy’s most under-appreciated spots with its Valle dei Tempii, home to five ancient temples: Concordia, Juno, Jupiter, Hercules, Castor and Pollux. They are official World Heritage landmarks, glow gorgeously golden at sunset, and provide an amazing backdrop for the Almond Blossom Festival.

Although most of the rest of Agrigento is quite modern, it still retains quite a bit of its ancient allure from the temples to its cobblestone streets that wind through the town. It is also home to some of the most impressive ruins in the Bel Paese.

As for the Festa, sure to bring your walking shoes for a procession and your dancing shows for an international folk dancing fest as seen here: