One of the most important polis of Ancient Greece was Akragas, located in the current Province of Agrigento, in Sicily.
Founded as a Greek colony in the 7th century BC, Agrigento became one of the most important cities in the Mediterranean world.
The excavations of the polis are located in the area that is today called Valley of the Temples.
It is perhaps the most fascinating archaeological site in Sicily, undoubtedly the most valued and visited ever, awarded the recognition of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This area was appreciated by important men of culture such as the great JW Goethe, who visited it during his trip to Sicily. Here is everything you need to know to visit the Valley of the Temples.
- Where is it and how to get there
- Hours and prices
- Tours, guided tours and tickets online
- What to see and how to visit the Valley of the Temples
- Useful tips for visiting the attraction
- Historical notes, curiosities and practical info: what to know in brief
- User questions and comments
Where is it and how to get there
- From Agrigento: The site is 4 minutes by car, but can also be reached by bus via lines 1, 1 /, 2, 3, 3 /. The cost of the route is € 1,10 (stop on request at Clinica Sant'Anna - Porta V ticket office) - Get directions
- From Palermo: The site is just over 2 hours by car, and can be reached via the state road 121/189 - Get directions
Hours and prices
- Archaeological Park Hours: 8: 30-19: 00. In the summer months there are visits in the evening and at night, with postponed closing at 22:00.
- "Pietro Griffo" Museum Hours: Mon-Sat 9: 00-19: 00, Sunday and holidays 9: 00-13: 00.
- Ticket costs: park entrance € 10,00, museum entrance € 8,00. Combined ticket € 13,50.
- Reductions: EU citizens between 18 and 25, handicapped and accompanying persons, students and teaching staff € 5,00 park, € 4,00 museum, € 7,00 cumulative.
- Free: Free visits on the first Sunday of each month (including summer evening visits).
Tours, guided tours and tickets online
What to see and how to visit the Valley of the Temples/ 11
Surrounded by olive trees, nestled on a ridge near the sea, are the remains of temples dating back to the period between the 6th and 5th centuries BC.
But they are not the only attraction linked to the Valley of the Temples. The whole area is a magnificent collection of historical and cultural evidence.
Among the things to see we point out:
- Temple of Concord: one of the best preserved Doric temples in the world. Mostly spared by the Carthaginians and later transformed into a church, it is almost entirely intact (only the roof is missing).
- Temple of Hercules: the first temple built in the Agrigento valley. Originally made up of 38 columns, today only 8 remain standing.
- Temple of Zeus: built following the victory of the battle of Himera against the Carthaginians in 480 BC. It was one of the largest Doric style buildings, but was never completed due to the Carthaginian attack of 406 BC. Instead of the usual colonnade, it was surrounded by a solid wall decorated with with huge male figures between the columns, the Telamons.
- Temple of Hera: The Temple of Juno occupies a particularly elevated position on the ridge at the southeast corner of the ancient city. Most of its original colonnade has been restored. It was burned during the Carthaginian attack, and traces of combustion are still visible today.
- Temple of Castor and Pollux: Also known as the Temple of the Dioscuri, it was built in the 5th century and dedicated to the twins of Zeus. Only four columns of the original 34 still remain standing. It is the most photographed temple of all, as well as the symbol of Agrigento.
- Temple of Asclepius or Aesculapius: Dedicated to the son of Apollo, Greek god of medicine. It was built during the 5th century BC and its remains are located in the middle of the countryside.
- Temple of Hephaestus: very little is left of this temple dedicated to the god of fire Vulcan, who according to legend lived in his forge located below Etna.
- Temple of Demeter - San Biagio Church: Built in 480 BC this temple was dedicated to the goddess of wheat and harvest. The small medieval church of San Biagio now incorporates what remains of the temple.
- Temple of Athena - Church of Santa Maria dei Greci: This temple was located in the center of the city of Agrigento, therefore far from the Valley of the Temples, precisely in the place where today stands the Church of Santa Maria dei Greci.
- Temple of Isis - Church of San Nicola: once stood where the seat of the San Nicola archaeological museum complex is today, which also includes the Oratory of Falaride
- Tomb of Theron: pyramid-shaped structure was built to honor those who bravely perished during the Second Punic War. Scholars initially thought it was the tomb of the tyrant Theron.
- Kolymbetra Garden: about five hectares of agricultural variety typical of the Valley of the Temples, with a riot of citrus fruits, banana trees, pistachios, carob trees, while along the river, flanking the limestone walls, there are almond trees, olive trees, vegetable gardens and Mediterranean scrub
- Pietro Griffo Archaeological Museum: seventeen rooms for an extraordinary collection of archaeological treasures
- Ekklesiasterion: seat of the assembly of all free citizens, found in the Theatron area
Useful tips for visiting the attraction
- Downloadable map: for orientation within the area it is recommended to download the map
- Minimum visit duration: at least 2 hours
- Recommended visit duration: 3-4 hours taking the guide
- Waiting time: To avoid the queues, an early morning visit is recommended
- Ticket offices: there are two ticket offices, one in Via Panoramica dei Templi at the Tempio di Giunone (Get directions) and the other and in the Sant'Anna district at Porta V (Get directions)
- Parking: Car parks are available near the ticket offices - Get directions
- Special tours: Some agencies organize private excursions by quad, bike and electric scooter within the valley (E-scooter tour in the Valley of the Temples from € 50,00)
- Movements in the Valley: a shuttle facilitates travel between the two ends of the valley (cost € 3,00 per person)
- Clothing and equipment: In summer, light clothes and comfortable shoes, hat and sunscreen. Trekking shoes are not necessary as long as they are comfortable
- Reservation request : in the case of a guided tour, advance reservations are recommended, especially for summer evening visits
Historical notes, curiosities and practical info: what to know in brief
Akragas (or Ackragas) was founded in 580 BC by Greek colonists from nearby Gela (Sicily). After a period of tyranny, Akragas flourished as a democracy and was known for its high quality wines, olives typical of the area and handsome horses.
It had a population of around 200.000 in the 5th century BC, when most of its people were built famous temples.
In 406 BC, it was besieged by the Carthaginians, and after eight months of hard battles it was razed to the ground, ed its temples were brutally mutilated.
Akragas was rebuilt but has never regained its original glory since. In the historical course it was inhabited by the Romans and the Normans.