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Porto Empedocle is a Mediterranean port town facing Strait of Sicily, named after the philosopher born in the ancient Akragas (Agrigento) in 492 BC. It was founded in the mid 16th century following the will of the Spanish viceroy as the maritime outlet of Agrigento with the construction of the Torre del Caricatore (maritime tower).
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The impressive building, that was part of the coastal defense system against pirate attacks, has the form of a truncated pyramid, with thick walls over 2.50 meters large and topped by a terrace used as an observation post.
The port was further enlarged and fortified with the construction of three piers and Porto Empedocle became one of Sicily's most important commercial and fishing ports and the main departure port to the Pelagie Islands. The old town boasts monuments and buildings of major interest, such as the town hall, the mother church dedicated to the Santissimo Salvatore, Immacolata and San Gerlando, and the church ''del Carmelo'', where the Madonna del Carmine is worshiped, patron saint of fishermen, celebrated with an important religious festival.
Every year in July the evocative ''v'archiata a mari'' is organized. A procession of the patron saint's statue at sea on a fishing vessel accompanied by a joyful parade of boats.
The cuisine of Porto Empedocle is mainly based on fish. The most popular fish dishes are ''pasta con le sarde'' (with sardines) or with sea urchins, stuffed squid, ''sarde a beccafico'' (stuffed sardines) and swordfish rolls. Delicious desserts are sweet couscous with chocolate, pistachios and candied fruit, ''cubbaita'', the Sicilian nougat with almonds, honey and sesame seeds, and the marzipan Easter lamb stuffed with pistachio.