Valley of the Temples

sicilia agrigento valle dei templi

The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento is undoubtedly a unique place, telling a story more than two thousand years old. The area of historical interest, noted for its exceptional state of preservation, spans over 1300 hectares, making it the largest archaeological site in the world. Since 1997, the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

tour valle dei templi di agrigento

Valley of the Temples: ticket and guided tour on Get Your Guide

The History

The ancient city of Akragas (Ἀκράγας), nestled in an agricultural landscape of extraordinary beauty dominated by centuries-old olive trees and almond trees, was one of the most important Greek colonies in Sicily, founded in 581 BC by settlers from Gela, originally from the islands of Crete and Rhodes.

The plateau, which was naturally suited for building the town, was naturally protected to the north by the Athena Rock and the Hill of Girgenti, and to the south by the long Hill of the Temples, bordered on the sides by the Akgras and Hypsas rivers.

In the 5th century BC, Akragas experienced a phase of military expansion, particularly significant during the reign of the tyrant Theron (488-473 BC) and the victory over the Carthaginians. During this period, the great temples were erected, testifying to the city’s importance and prosperity. In 406 BC, the siege of Agrigento by the Carthaginians, which lasted more than eight months, marked the end of the city’s golden age, initiating a long phase of decline. From 262 BC, Akragas came under Roman rule, which for centuries made it an important center in the Sicilian area.

From the 7th century AD, the city faced a new phase of decline, a period of progressive impoverishment and the consequent demographic decline reduced the urban center to only the area of the acropolis hill, and the population, after more than a millennium, abandoned the urban area and the temple zone.

Valley of the Temples: What to See

In the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, one can admire the remains of many Doric temples, some of which are in an excellent state of preservation, three sanctuaries, a large concentration of necropolises, fortifications, hydraulic works, and part of a Hellenistic Roman quarter built on a Greek plan.

Also visitable are two Agoras, an Olympeion, and a Bouleuterion (council hall). In 2016, remains of a Greek theater were also discovered.

Additionally, one can admire the Tomb of Theron, the tyrant who gave a particular impulse to the city, an imposing pyramidal-shaped tuff monument.

Among the monumental temples, the Temple of Concordia, built in the 5th century and probably the best preserved, partly due to the fact that from the 6th century AD it was converted into a Christian church. Equally important and evocative are the Temple of Hera Lacinia or Juno, the Temple of Heracles or Hercules, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, built after the victory at Himera over the Carthaginians (480-479 BC), the Temple of the Dioscuri or temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of Hephaestus, the Temple of Athena, the Temple of Asclepius, the Temple of Demeter, and the Temple of Isis located in the San Nicola museum complex.

Walking in this truly evocative place, you can observe the magnificence of ancient Greek civilization, in a breathtaking natural context that, especially just before evening twilight, when the fiery light filters through the columns of the temples, creates unique atmospheres and takes on mystical, dreamlike features.

It is a place to walk slowly, appreciating the silence and vastness of the space.

We also recommend a visit to the “P. Griffo” Regional Archaeological Museum in Contrada San Nicola, which displays 5688 artifacts illustrating the history of the Agrigento area from prehistory to the end of the Greco-Roman era.

Also check out the other archaeological sites of Sicily reviewed on the platform or our archaeological itinerary of western Sicily.

Valley of Temples Opening Hours

Valley of the Temples

Weekdays: 08:30 – 19:00 (exit by 20:00)

Holidays and days before holidays: 08:30 – 19:00 (exit by 20:00)

In July and August, guided tours and special evening and night openings are usually organized. For all information on these initiatives, we recommend visiting the website www.lavalledeitempli.it

“P. Griffo” Regional Archaeological Museum, Contrada San Nicola

Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 9:00 – 19:00; Sunday and holidays 9:00 – 19:00

Tickets

Archaeological park tickets can also be purchased online at Get Your Guide with Pemcard.

Valley Ticket Cost:

  • Full price: €10.00 from August 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023, including the exhibition “The Virgin of the Rocks and the workshop of Leonardo”
  • Reduced: €8.00

Combined Ticket (valley and archaeological museum):

  • From August 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023, including the exhibition “The Virgin of the Rocks and the workshop of Leonardo”
  • Full price: €16.50
  • Reduced: €10.00

Entrance Ticket (only Archaeological Museum):

  • Full price: €8.00
  • Reduced: €4.00

Free admission on the first Sunday of each month for #domenicalmuseo.

Guided Tours

Here are some tour and guided visit options selected for you:

How to get the Valley of the Temples

BY TRAIN

You can reach the city of Agrigento by train. From the station, it’s a short walk (450 meters) to Piazza Fratelli Rosselli, where you can catch a bus (see “by bus” section).

BY BUS

Most urban bus lines departing from Piazzale Rossellii pass by the Valley of the Temples, particularly lines 1, 1/, 2, 3, 3/.

BY CAR

From Palermo: After Aragona, follow the signs for Caltanissetta, Canicattì, and then merge onto the 640 (Caltanissetta-Porto Empedocle) towards Porto Empedocle. Upon reaching the Giunone roundabout, beneath the Temple of Juno, take the tree-lined avenue until you reach the Sant’Anna parking area or near the Temple of Juno.

From Trapani/Erice/Selinunte: Take the state road 115. After passing Porto Empedocle, follow the signs for the Valley of the Temples.

From Taormina-Catania-Siracusa: Take the Catania-Palermo motorway. After Enna, take the exit for the 640 Caltanisetta/Agrigento, initially following signs for Caltanissetta and then Porto Empedocle until you reach the Giunone roundabout under the Temple of Juno. Follow the signs for the Valley of the Temples to get to the parking area.

From Ragusa: Follow the state road 115 until you reach the Giunone Roundabout.

Contacts

Via Panoramica Valle dei Templi, 31 – 92100, Agrigento

Tel: (+39) 0922 62 16 11

Email: urp.parcoag@regione.sicilia.it

Where to stay in Agrigento

Booking.com

Near the Valley of the Temples, you can also visit the parks of Segesta and Selinunte, and the Roman Villa of Casale in Piazza Armerina. Check out all the archaeological parks of Sicily reviewed on the platform.