Valley of Temples: Open from Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 7 pm, Saturday from 8 am to 7 pm.
Archaeological Museum of Agrigento: Open from Tuesday to Friday from 9 am to 7 pm, Monday and Sunday from 9 am to 1 pm.
Cashier closes thirty minutes before the site closure.
Reserved tickets must be picked up showing the confirmation voucher at the cashier. for the museum, at the bookshop of Piazzale Hardcastle for the Vallery.
PRIVATE Guided visits:
Languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish, German and Portuguese
Number of persons: 1 to 40
Duration: 3 hours and a half
Meeting with the guide: bookshop at Piazzale Hardcastle for the Vallery, cafeteria for the Museum
ATTENTION: the cost of the guide is established by the Sicily region; it is due for the whole group, not per person, and must be paid at the moment of the visit.
Cancellation policy: cancellations must be made at least 1 working day before the visit to get the refund of the unused tickets minus the service fee; further cancellations and no shows are not refundable.
Guided visit of the Valley of Temples and the Archaelogical Museum of Agrigento
Stretched out along a ridge, inappropriately referred to as "valley", and nestling in the area to the south of it, are a series of temples which were all erected in the course of a century (5C BC), as if to testify to the prosperity of the city at that time. Having been set ablaze by the Carthaginians in 406 BC, the buildings were restored by the Romans (1C BC) respecting their original Doric style. Their subsequent state of disrepair has been put down either to seismic activity or the destructive fury of the Christians backed by an edict of the Emperor of the Eastern Empire, Theodosius (4C). The only one to survive intact is the Temple of Concord which, in the 6C, was converted into a Christian church. During the Middle Ages, masonry was removed to help construct other buildings, in particular, the Temple of Zeus, known locally as the Giant’s Quarry, provided material for the church of San Nicola and the 18C part of the jetty at Porto Empedocle.
All the buildings face east, respecting the Classical criterion (both Greek and Roman) that the entrance to the cella (Holy of Holies) where the statue of the god was housed could be illuminated by the rays of the rising sun, the source and blood of life.
On the whole, the temples are Doric and conform to the hexastyle format (that is with six columns at the front), the exception being the Temple of Zeus, which had seven engaged columns articulating the wall that encloses the building. Built of limestone tufa, the temples provide a particularly impressive sight at dawn, and even more so at sunset when they are turned a warm shade of gold.
The museum is located just outside the town at Contrada San Nicola, with a panoramic view over the Hill of the Temples. This area has recently been identified as the site of the upper agora of the ancient city and there are archaeological and architectural remains to be seen.
The museum is housed in a complex of buildings redesigned in the 1960s in a perfect blending of the new site of the museum with the restored Convent of San Nicola (14th c.), containing the library, the conference hall and the auditorium.
The museum illustrates the history of the ancient city of Agrigento and its territory from prehistory to the period of Hellenization.
The collections. The original collection, from the Civic Museum, consisted of numerous items discovered during excavations conducted at the beginning of the 20th century. Other exhibits were ceded by the Archaeological Museums of Palermo and Syracuse. The most important material is however from excavations conducted by the Soprintendenza of Agrigento.
The museum is arranged both chronologically and topographically, in two separate but complementary sections, and the exhibition is richly documented throughout.