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.
By selecting "audioguide" visit will also include this service; audioguides are provided with historical information, art, mythology and architecture so that the visitors can discover the mysteries and secrets of the Valley of the Temples. Languages â??â??English and Italian.
Reserved tickets must be picked up showing the confirmation voucher at the bookshop in Piazzale Hardcastle for the Valley.
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.
Valley of Temples and Archaelogical Museum of Agrigento
The Valley of the Temples
One of the richest and best preserved examples of Greek art and architecture outside of Greece, and a legacy of Magna Græcia, the Valley of the Temples is also one of the most visited places in Sicily and a national monument of Italy.
The Valley of the Temples is really a ridge – comprising a large area to the south of the ancient city of Agrigento, on the south-western coast of Sicily. Seven monumental temples in the Doric style were constructed here during the 6th and 5th centuries BC, testifying to the city\'s prosperity at the time.
After the Carthaginians partially destroyed the edifices by setting them ablaze in 406 BC, the Romans restored the temples during the 1st century BC.
The subsequent disrepair of the temples has been ascribed partly to seismic activity, and partly to the destruction brought about by early Christians acting upon an edict of Theodosius, Emperor of the Roman Empire, during the 4th century AD.
The only temple to have survived these many centuries practically intact is the Temple of Concord, which was converted into a Christian church during the 6th century AD.
During the Middle Ages, building material was removed from the site to supply the construction of other buildings. In particular the Temple of Zeus , known as the “Giant\'s Quarry,” was plundered for building material for the church of San Nicola and the 18th century part of the jetty at Porto Empedocle.
All the temples face east, according to the both Greek and Roman criterion 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, source of life and representative of the divine.
On the whole, the temples are Doric and conform to the hexastyle format – meaning that six columns create the front part. The Temple of Zeus is an exception to this rule, having seven columns articulating the front wall.
Built of limestone tufa, the temples are a particularly impressive sight at dawn, and even more so at sunset, when they are turned a warm shade of gold.
Now excavated and partially restored, the Temples constitute some of the largest and best-preserved ancient Greek buildings outside of Greece itself, and are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Archaeological Museum of Agrigento
The museum is located just outside the town at Contrada San Nicola, with a panoramic view over the Valley (or rather, ridge) of the Temples. It forms the perfect counterpart to your visit of the archaeological site of the Valley of the Temples.
The area of the museum has recently been identified as the site of the upper agora (town center) 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 century), which contains 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 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.