Valley of the Temples
The Valley of the Temples (Valle dei Templi) sits below the modern city of Agrigento. The ancient city of Agrigento was a Greek colony in the 6th century BC and became one of the leading cities in the Ancient Greek world. Doric temples were built in the 6th and 5th centuries BC along a hilltop overlooking the sea. City walls surrounded the temples and the city. Many of the temples remain and can be visited.
Location: Italy - Sicily - Agrigento - Agrigento
Category: Ancient Greek
Tags: Temple, UNESCO World Heritage Site
From the E931 coast road, the SP4 to Agrigento goes through the Valley of the Temples, but there is no place to park along this road. There are two large parking lots, but they are not well marked. At the large roundabout before you drive up to the main entrance on the SP4, turn left and you will see the parking lot on your left, near the Clinica Sant'Anna. From here you can take a taxi to the far end of the valley, at Temple of Juno (Tempio di Giunone), and then walk downhill back through the valley ending up near the parking lot (cost 3 Euro per person).
The other parking lot is at the eastern end of the valley at the Temple of Juno. From the same roundabout, turn right and follow to the temple.
It is a two km walk along the ridgetop to see three main temples and other ruins. There is an Archaeological museum. There is much to see in this area and it is well worth more than a day trip.
The visitor center and road are between the Temple of Hercules and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. There is a snack bar here (and toilets).
Website: Valley of the Temples
Day trip contributed by Pauline Kenny
The Valley of the Temples is not a valley, but a hilltop. Starting at the eastern gate (Gate II or Gela Gate) you follow a gentle downhill path for two kilometers and see the main temples.
The temples were built in the 5th to 6th centuries BC. Originally they were coated in marble and painted bright colors, but only the limestone remains. Three temples are well preserved, but others are in ruins as their stone was used to build Porto Empedocle. As you walk along the path you see remains of the 6th century BC Greek city wall. It was about 12 km long, surrounding the temples and the town.
- Temple of Juno (Tempio di Giunone), built around 460 BC.
- Temple of Concord (Tempio della Concordia). Doric style (440-430 BC) on a base of four steps, six columns front and back, 13 columns along the sides. This is one of the best Greek temples in the world.
- Palaeochristian necropolis (Necropoli Paleocristiana), extends from the Temple of Juno to the Temple of Hercules. Large burial area used between the 3rd and 6th centuries AD.
- Temple of Hercules (Tempio di Ercole). The oldest temple in Agrigento, dating back to the end of the 6th century BC. Doris style with a base of three steps, six columns front and back, 15 along the sides.
- Temple of Olympian Zeus (Tempio di Giove Olimpico Zeus). It was the largest Doric temple in the western Greek world, constructed around 480 BC, but not much remains. Large base with five steps, external wall with Doric half columns - seven on the front and back, 14 along the sides. Two stone giants that once stood upright lay on the ground.
- Temple of Castor and Pollux. A reconstruction of four columns.
- Temple of Vulcano. Two columns remain.