The most amazing ancient remains found in Europe, not just in Italy, but across Europe, include Greek temples and Roman theaters.
These seven ancient sites are a must-see in the south Sicily.
Agrigento’s Valle dei Templi
A ridge is located near Agrigento, where you will find some of the most well-preserved temples of ancient Greece. These are the remains of Akragas which was a strong and well-known city that the Greeks founded in the 6th Century B.C.
It is a vast archaeological site that includes both Greek remains and a large portion of the Roman quarter, which was built in the 4th century B.C. The 5th century A.D. Greek remains are the most beautiful and fascinating. one of the most well-preserved Greek temples is the Temple Of Concord. The temple dates back to the 5th Century B.C. It was converted into a Christian basilica during the 6th century. Today, it is still stunning! Or the Temple Of Juno,another Doric temple that was built in the 5th Century B.C.
While the Temple for Olympian Zeus has been demolished, one of its Telamons remains, which are giant stone figures that once supported the temple. A copy of the original is still found at the site. You can still see the original at the Archaeological Museumhere.
Ancient Greek theatre of Taormina
The stunning views of the ocean and Mt. Taormina, Sicilia’s picture-perfect town, is Etna. It’s also famous for its Greek theatre,beautifully placed to overlook the ocean and the volcano. It was built in the 3rd Century B.C. and was rebuilt largely by the Romans in 2nd century. It still looks exactly as it did then. It is the largest theater of antiquity in Sicily, after the one in Syracuse.
Segesta’s ancient theatre and a Greek temple
The archaeological park Segesta is second only to Agrigento’s Valle dei Templi, and it is located at the western tip Sicily. Its main temple is one of the best examples of Doric architecture in the world, and dates back to the 5th Century B.C. It’s even more well-preserved that the temples of Greece. As if that wasn’t enough, an ancient theatre, dating to the 4th Century B.C., is also still in remarkable condition.
Roman mosaics on Piazza Armerina
There have been many ancient Roman mosaics that we’ve seen in our time, but none like the ones found at Villa Romana del Casale in Piazza Armerina. The world’s largest collection, dating back to the 4th century A.D., of ancient Roman mosaics is housed in this villa. They are still in remarkable condition today.
The most well-known? The so-called “Bikini Girls”,more commonly known as the “Coronation of the Winner,” is the most famous. It depicts 10 young women wearing bikini-like clothes. It gets its name because they are all competing in an athletic competition. One throws a discus, the other bats a baseball, and another carries weights. One is declared the victor. It is a rare representation of ancient women taking part in athletics.
Temples of Selinunte
It was established in the 7th century B.C. ; despite being wrecked by the Carthaginians, conquered by Rome, and devastated by an earthquake in the Middle Ages, major pieces of it have–somehow–survived… even though what the buildings were actually used for have not. The largest ruins are “Temple C”, constructed in the 6th Century B.C. Although much of the structure is gone, twelve monolithic columns still remain to show how large the temple was once. “Temple Eis the true highlight of the city’s grandeur, even though its current state is largely due to (controversial!) Modern restoration.
Syracuse’s Ruins and Archaeological Museum
Syracuse (or “Siracusa”, in Italian) was one of the most important colonies under the Greek empire. It still has many amazing ancient ruins. The Greek Theater,the largest theater in Sicily, was built in the 5th Century B.C. It was dismantled in order to be used for building material in 16th century, which was common practice at the time. However, it is still spectacular. The ruin of the Temple of Apollo,the oldest Peripteral Doric temple in Sicily and dating back to the 6th Century B.C., can be found right on Piazza Pancali. Altar of Hieron II is another must-see. This is the largest altar in ancient Greece. It measures 75×650 feet and was used to sacrifice 450 oxen to commemorate the defeat of Thrasybulus, the city’s tyrant. Although the altar is no longer in existence, its structure gives you an idea about its size. Don’t forget the archaeological museum with its treasures, including Greek statues and ancient Roman sarcophagi.
Palermo’s Regional Archaeological Museum
Many of Sicily’s greatest ancient treasures, including booty from the Valle dei Templi and Selinunte archaeological sites, are now on display at the Palermo archaeological museum. What are the different types of gems? You can find pieces like the Rosetta Stone of Sicily, or the Pietra di Palermo, a stone slab that was carved in Egyptian hieroglyphics around 2700 B.C. It was brought to Sicily. Or the metopes andelaborate carvings depicting scenes such as Perseus killing Medusa, which were once displayed in the temples.
Continue reading: Things To Do In Palermo, Sicily: The Walks of Italy Insider’s guide