Valley of the Temples Archaeological Area

Your ticket to the Valley of the Temples - one of the most sublime examples of Greek art and architecture in Italy - is the perfect complement to the Museum of Agrigento.

Overview

Ticket valid for visiting the Eastern Hill, the area of the Temple of Zeus and the Graeco-Roman area.

The archaeological park of Agrigento - the largest in the world - spreads over an extensive area. Within its confines rise the magnificent remains of the once powerful Greek colony - walls, necropolises, houses, public buildings, and open sanctuaries. But what attracts millions of visitors every year to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is above all the amazing series of beautiful Doric temples.

The name “Valle dei Templi” (Valley of the Temples) is something of a misnomer, since the temples lie on a ridge. The archaeological area, however, does lie below the modern city of Agrigento. The main focus of your attention will be the series of seven monumental temples in Doric style. They were constructed during the time when Akragas was one of the most powerful cities of Magna Graecia (the "Greater Greece" colonies), during the 6th and 5th centuries BC. The temples of ancient Akragas are some of the best-preserved ancient Greek temples outside of Greece and are inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997 - and the UNESCO symbol was even shaped in the image of the temple of Concordia.

 

Valley of the Temples

The foundation of the sub-colony of Akragas originated in 581 BC, at first as a outpost of the Rhodio-Cretan colony of Gela founded at the beginning of the 7th century (689-688 BC). Akragas was founded by the two oikistes (colonial leaders) Aristonoo and Pistilo, traditionally seen to represent the dual provenance of settlers from Rhodes and Crete.

The city’s period of greatest splendour coincides with its first two centuries, which were marked by the rule of the tyrants Phalaris and Theron (6th to 5th century BC). Beyond bringing an enormous loot to Akragas, the historic victory of the Greeks over the Carthaginians at Himera (northern Sicily), in 480 BC, marked for the city a period of prosperity and power that brought about great public works, temples, and aqueducts. The court of Theron (tyrant of Akragas between 488 and 471 BC) was frequented by great poets such as Simonides and Pindar who would praise Akragas as being "the most beautiful of the cities of mortals; friend of opulence, home of Persephone”.

The time of the democracy (471-406 BC), which saw the rise of the authority and personality of Empedocles, brought about a renewal of building activity with the construction of the majority of the Akragas temples. A border conflict between Segesta and Selinunte provoked a second Carthaginian intervention in Sicily at the end of the 5th century (409 BC) and Akragas was directly attacked. After a long siege, it was taken by the Carthaginians in 406 and abandoned by the inhabitants who could return there in 405 BC under the condition that they would not fortify and pay a tribute to Carthage. With Timoleon (338-334 BC), a period of growth and prosperity returned for Akragas, when new settlers from Elea-Velia (Salerno region in southern Italy) were added to the previous population and the walls were rebuilt. During the Punic Wars, Akragas (together with Eraclea Minoa) became the base of Carthaginian operations against the Romans.

This period is marked by the Roman siege of 262 BC which caused the capitulation of the city after about six months, in 261 BC, and by the Carthaginian siege of 255 BC for the reconquest of the city. During the latter, a Roman garrison and the surviving inhabitants barricaded themselves in the temple of the Olympian Zeus turned into fortress for the occasion. During the Second Punic War, Akragas was still on the side of the Carthaginians who placed a garrison there (214 BC) until the city, betrayed by Numidian mercenaries, was taken by the Roman consul Levi in 210 BC and soon named Agrigentum.

In the Roman order of the provinces of Sicily, Agrigento was included among the “Civitas Decumanae” required to give Rome every year a tenth of their agricultural income. The city had a municipal “status” under Augustus. Excavations document a particularly prosperous period because of the thriving sulphur trade between the 2nd and 3rd century. Sources in writing as well as the presence of necropoles and places of worship bear witness to the Byzantine era: In the area of the catacombs, where the Temple of Concord was reused as a church; in the abandoned city area and at the northeastern slopes of the hill of the temples, where a "suburban Basilicula" is located.

 

Opening Hours

Open from Monday to Sunday from 8:30 am to 8:00 pm.

Cashier closes thirty minutes before the site closure.

Reserved tickets must be picked up showing the confirmation voucher at the bookshop located at the rest stop on Piazzale Hardcastle.

Prices

Only full ticket

Cancellation Policy

Once a confirmation code has been assigned to the reservation we can refund the cost of unused tickets minus a service fee (reservation fee and online booking fee) up to 1 business day before the visit. No refund is possible for a cancellation less than 24 hours before the visit, and for no-shows.

Before You Book

PLEASE NOTE: Immediately after submitting an order, you will receive two emails. The first email contains your order summary (this one you receive immediately after placing your order), the second email confirms your successful payment (one business day after placing the order). In order to receive these two emails, please make sure that you enter your email address correctly and check that antispam or antivirus filters do not block emails from our [email protected] address. Users of AOL, Comcast and Sbcglobal.net need to pay special attention to this, please. Vouchers will also be available, one business day after the request, at your dashboard.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The time you select on the order form is your preferred time. The closest available time, which can be anytime during opening hours on the selected date, will be automatically confirmed if your preferred time is no longer available.

Prices Detail

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