Going Greek in Sicily

When Magna Grecia was flourishing, the Greeks built colonial cities all around the Mediterranean and some of the best preserved (even compared with those in modern day Greece) are in Sicily. The Greeks brought their democracy, values and culture (including wine) and what a gift that we still have these archaeological remnants.

I couldn’t make a visit to Segesta between Trapani and Marsala, but did get to Selinunte and Agrigento.
I was actually stunned to see how enormous the archaeological park at Selinunte is. It includes the entire area that in 409 BC was a flourishing port city of more than 30,000 people. Of the eight temples that remain, the temple of Hera has been partially reconstructed. The park has a well-organized paved parking lot next to the entrance. You can either walk the 5-km circuit out to the farthest temple or ride in the park “train”.(Link to Website)

The Greeks also had an important city at Akragas, now Agrigento, halfway down the western coast of the island. The road to get there is a statale, two-lane road, not an interstate. Impressive and beautiful temples remain in a national park that surrounds them, but a modern city has been built on the hill above.
Unfortunately, the two parking areas are not paved and one is a bus ride away. I used the west entrance where you can park and walk in. Once you are in the park, there are well-defined paths to visit the temples. (Link to Website) In the summer, the park is open until late in the evening and visits are possible when the temples are illuminated.

The Greeks were also on the eastern side of the island, most importantly at Taormina and Syracuse. This photo of the Greek amphitheater at Taormina looks down the coast toward Syracuse where another Greek amphitheater hangs over the sea.

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