This blog post was updated on October 5, 2018.
To meet Sicily, you must meet the past. This meeting is never hard to accomplish for the traveler. History is all around the Italian island. The touches of the Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Spanish and even the Italians are all around Sicily. What moves many visitors about this island is the layers of its past, best seen from the beginning with its ancient temples and theaters. Travelers won’t want to miss these ruined sites on the island for a meeting with Sicily’s past.
Teatro Greco di Siracusa in Siracusa: Glowing in white, Siracusa’s Teatro Greco is one of Sicily’s most well known ancient sites. Built during the reign of Hieron I, it was the largest Greek theater of the West and is today the largest in Sicily. The masterpiece of classical architecture could hold up to 16,000 people, many of which came to enjoy the work of Sophocles, Euripides and Aeschylus. Set up in the Parco Archeologico della Neapolis, the Greek theater rests near a famous ancient quarry, Latonia del Paradiso and a Roman amphitheater.
Teatro Greco-Romano in Taormina: The Greeks did have a flair for drama, as best seen in Taormina’s main attraction, the Teatro Greco-Romano. Built in the 3rd century B.C. by the Greeks, the theater remains the second largest ancient theater in Sicily. The Romans would add their touches when they took over the space, expanding the amphitheater a great deal. However, what makes this ancient site in Sicily truly dramatic is its location. Carved into the town and hillside, Taormina’s Teatro Greco-Romano looks out on Mount Etna and the sea. A visit to the ancient theater affords travelers with one of the best views in Taormina.
Valle dei Templi in Agrigento: Perched on a plateau gazing out to the Sicilian sea, the temples of Agrigento have enjoyed this view for around 2,500 years. Agrigento’s Valle dei Templi composes of the ruins of the ancient city of Akragas, one of the most important Greek colonies in Sicily. Valle dei Templi is home to several notable temples, including the Temple of Concordia. Visitors won’t have to use their imaginations with this ruined structure. The temple is one of the best-preserved temples in the Mediterranean and possibly the world. Built in 425 B.C., many credit its days as a church for contributing to its almost immaculate preservation. The Temple of Zeus is also worth a look for it was once the largest Doric temple in the western Greek world.
Tempio di Segesta in Segesta: If you are looking to get a little bit off the beaten path in your search for ruins in Sicily, Segesta is your spot. The former ancient city of Segesta is home to the Tempio di Segesta, isolated in a pasture-like setting. Built around the 5th century B.C., the limestone temple is jaw dropping in its preservations with each of its columns still in fine form. What makes this ruined site so magical is perhaps the mystery attached to it. Many believe the temple was left incomplete due to the fact that a roof was never added. The Tempio di Segesta rests near the Teatro Greco of the ancient settlement. Up on Monte Barbaro, the theater is believed to date back to the 3rd century B.C.
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