Selinunte Archeological Park

tempio di selinunte

Selinunte is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular sites of the ancient world. It stands on a plateau by the sea and takes its name from the selinon, the wild parsley that is very prevalent in the area and an emblem of the city, so much so that it was also reproduced on the coins.

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History of Selinunte

The city of Selinunte was founded by Greek colonists from Megara Hyblaea, a city in constant conflict with nearby Syracuse, around the middle of the 7th century and was later expanded. Located on the border with the western area of Sicily controlled by the Carthaginians, it did not have an easy existence, especially when it decided to intensify trade on the Tyrrhenian coast by expanding into the territory of Segesta. Selinunte and Segesta were indeed great rivals and continuously at odds.

It was precisely in 413 BC that another attempt by Selinunte to penetrate the borders of Segesta triggered a war that also involved the great powers of the time: Athens and Carthage came to the defense of Segesta, while Selinunte turned to Syracuse, Agrigento, and Gela for support.

Hannibal landed in 409 BC on the promontory of Lilybaeum with a mighty army, while the Selinuntines were left to fight alone, as the aid from Syracuse and other allied cities was delayed in arriving.

The city was thus destroyed by the Carthaginians, who enslaved or killed about 21,000 of its male citizens. This date marks the decline of the city: it was indeed rebuilt only in the area of the Acropolis but was again occupied by the Carthaginians and by Pyrrhus until it was finally evacuated in 250 BC.

Selinunte what to see

selinunte

The archaeological park of Selinunte is among the largest in Europe. Indeed, Selinunte had an urban plan on the scale of a megalopolis and was dominated by the acropolis where we find the archaic temples named C and D. On the eastern hill, we find the sacred buildings, denominated as temple G, E, F. Specifically, the archaeological park is divided into four areas: the Gàggera hill with the Sanctuary of Malophros, the acropolis with the temples and fortifications, the Manuzza hill with the ancient settlement, and the eastern hill with other temples.

Temple C is the oldest on the acropolis and one of the primary examples of Greek architecture: perhaps dedicated to Apollo, it has a peristyle of 6×17 columns, an elongated shape typical of the archaic age, and very similar to that of temple D possibly dedicated to Athena.

In addition to the acropolis, there is also the sacred area on the eastern hill, where another 3 temples rise. The most spectacular is temple E probably dedicated to Hera. Dating back to the mid-5th century BC, it also has an elongated shape, and there we also find an Adyton (a small rear chamber with access forbidden due to the presence of the oracle – only priests could enter).

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From the excavations in the archaeological area, two earlier structures have also emerged: this has been very important for studies on the building techniques of the ancient age. The buildings of Selinunte have been damaged by the various earthquakes that have struck the island. In fact, Temple E has been reconstructed through anastylosis.

The sculptures found in the archaeological site of Selinunte are located in the National Archaeological Museum of Palermo, except for the Selinunte Ephebe, which is found at the Museum of Castelvetrano.

Download the map of the Selinunte park.

Selinunte’s Cusa Quarries

About 13 km from the ruins of Selinunte are the Cusa Quarries: stone quarries characterized by banks of calcarenite from which material was extracted for use in the city’s construction. They were in use from the 6th century BC until the tragic destruction of the city in 409 BC. The most interesting aspect is the abrupt interruption of work due to the landing of Hannibal.

The sudden flight of the quarry workers has allowed us, even today, to recognize and reconstruct all the various phases of processing, from the initial incisions to the finished drums that were to be taken away.

If you want to visit the two great enemies, Segesta and Selinunte, Get Your Guide offers a tour to discover the two cities starting from Trapani.

Orario di apertura: 9.00 – 19.00 (ultimo ingresso 18.00)
Dal 1 ottobre: 9.00 – 17.00
Dal 28 ottobre: 9.00 – 16.00

Cusa Quarries: Temporarily Closed.

Check the official website for any changes to the schedule.

Near Selinunte you can also visit the archaeological park of Segesta. In Sicily you also have many other truly spectacular archaeological sites such as the Valle dei Tempi in Agrigento and the Roman Villa del Casale in Piazza Armerina. Look at all the archaeological parks in Sicily reviewed on the platform.

Tickets

Ticket: Full price €8.00; Reduced €4.00

You can purchase park tickets online at Get Your Guide or you Tiquets with return shuttle service.

Free entry for European citizens under the age of 18 and every first Sunday of the month.

REDUCTIONS

For all concessions, consult the concessions page.

Guided Visits and Tours

Here are some proposals for guided tours and tours of Selinunte and nearby parks:

How to reach the Selinunte archaeological park

ON THE TRAIN

If you travel by train you can arrive with Trenitalia at Castelvetrano station and then continue by bus or taxi towards Selinunte.

BY BUS

You can arrive by bus to Trascina di Selinunte and then continue on foot for about 500 metres.

BY CAR

The Park can be reached from the main Sicilian cities. From Palermo: take the A29 Palermo-Mazara motorway, exit Castelvetrano. From Trapani:  travel along the A29 motorway, after the junction for Segesta proceed towards Mazara del Vallo until the “Castelvetrano” exit. From Agrigento: take the Strada Statale 115 until the junction for “Castelvetrano-Marinella di Selinunte”. After taking the exit, continue straight as indicated until you reach Marinella di Selinunte.

Contacts

Email: urp.parco.archeo.selinunte@regione.sicilia.it

URP: 0924 1911583 int. 207

INFO: 09231990030

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