Want to learn about ancient Greece? Come in Sicily!
This old slogan of the 60s explains Sicily’s richness in Greek monuments. An excursion from Segesta to the Valley of the Temples through the Cave of Cusa and Selinunte, will give you a sense of what it means.
The first thing we notice is the temple. On the plateau, between the two peaks of the mountain, in the V-IV century BC, stood the ancient city; of this city today we can still visit the Temple, the Theater and the Sanctuary of the Mango.
The Doric temple, a magnificent structure in an outstanding position, ennobles the surroundings. For the remarkable artistic quality and stylistic features, the temple can be dated in the last three decades of the V century, between 430 and 420 BC.
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The Segesta Theater
The theater is located higher up, on the northern slope of Mount Barbaro. Quite well preserved, it has a cavea (auditorium) of about 63 meters in diameter, partly cut in the same rock, and partly built and supported by a wall with blocks of limestone. The upper part of the auditorium, now lost, was once surrounded and supported by a massive semicircular wall. Under the auditorium there is a cave, called sacred, where they carried out, perhaps, rites.
The Sanctuary of Mango
The Sanctuary was unearthed in an area outside the urban context, near the Mango district. It is surrounded by a temenos (wall) and by blocks roughly squared. The place is very nice and worth seeing. Inside the sanctuary, there had to be several sacred buildings, as evidenced by the discovery of many architectural parts (capitals and columns), as well as a rich collection of pottery ranging from the eighth to the fifth century BC: some also show inscriptions or graffiti.
At Segesta, new recent excavations have revealed, in the north and south acropolis, the remains of the medieval city, Islamic and Norman
Would you like to visit the factory of the temples? It is located 13 km from Selinunte, it is where the columns to build the temple of Selinunte were derived from limestone. The place, sometimes used for performances, retains all the charm of the past. It seems to travel through time and find yourself in a factory of temples still active, an unforgettable emotion
More information about archaeological site of Segesta
Impressive for its scenery and for its cultural importance. The excavation of this archaeological site is very large but there is a transport service with electric vehicles to take tourists to places, which would be difficult to reach by foot. The ruins are able to pass a magic hardly describable.
Selinunte was a city and stretched out over a fairly wide area: here, in the eastern hill, are the three temples called E, G, F.
The G Temple, located more to the north (to the right, entering the area), was destined to be one of the most impressive religious buildings of classical architecture, like, for example, the temple of Olympian Zeus in Agrigento. The construction of temple G began in 530 BC., but was not completed before the fall of Selinunte. His exceptional height reached about 30 meters. The long period spent in the construction, about 40 years, brought in the same temple, a diversity of the Doric style, more evolved in the west wing.
The F Temple is the smallest one, had to have 6 columns on the front and 14 on the sides; the cell is preceded by a pronaos (front vestibule), the opisthodomos (back porch) is missing.
The E Temple , dated from 460-450 BC; it has a doric shape, 6 columns on the front and 15 on the sides; the cell is preceded by a portico, supported by two columns, and is followed by the adyton: a sacred part, reserved and inaccessible, just above the cell. The E temple raised in 1960, collapsed because of an earthquake. The metopes, wonderful mythological subject, belong to this temple, and are now in the Archaeological Museum of Palermo.
Traces of two other temples have been discovered.
Going now to the south, to the other ruins, you meet the remains of the powerful fortifications that protected the city since the archaic age. Here is Punic city: a sacred area for sacrifices, and the town walls; on the floors there is the sign of the goddess Tanit, the caduceus, the god Taurus.
The series of temples with the remains of the temple O, Doric, and the temple A, similar to the above, both of uncertain date (between 490 and 460 BC). The houses and shops in this area will attest, together with the temples, the dual public and private function. There are also the remains of two other places of worship, the temple B and the Megaron with Ionic columns and Doric frieze. At the center of this vast space, the temenos, stands the magnificent temple C, which began in 560 BC., raised partly around 1939, with the usual intervention of anastylosis. Doric archaic, shows the remains of his 6 columns on the front and 17 on the sides; the cell, above, is preceded by a adyton with 4 columns.
Three metopes of the front are in the Regional Archaeological Museum in Palermo and represent the best examples of selinuntina sculpture; in the same museum, is the clay decoration, geometric and floral tympanum, culminating with the magnificent Gorgone head in coroplastica that decorated the front of the temple.
A little to the north, are the remains of the temple D, similar to the temple C. At the southeast of the temenos there is a great porch, delimiting the entire area. The northwest area hosted a market, with shops, the agora, and housing buildings. Continuing northward again, we arrive at the door that closed the Acropolis, with several towers and fortifications, the fulcrum of the Selinuntino defense system.
More information about archaeological site of Selinunte