Discovering the ancient temples in Western Sicily – Road.Travel

Discovering the ancient temples in Western Sicily

Road Trip Route. WHL UNESCO sites, Segesta, Selinunte and Agrigento Greek ancient Temples, Adventure, Typical food and starred cuisine experiences, .

Dear travellers, I'm Sebastiana Denise Cultrera and I will take you to discover the ancient temples of eastern Sicily! First I will let you discover the beauties of Trapani and its coast up to Marsala, then together we will discover the magnificence of the temples of Segesta, then those of Selinunte, arriving up to the spectacular Valley of the Temples of Agrigento, included in the World Heritage UNESCO List since 1997. Returning to Trapani, we will stop at the Tonnara di Scopello and in Castellammare del Golfo. Are you ready to go? *Credits: This tour was made by Denise Cultrera, as a multimedia tourist and storytelling project for the "Laboratory of formal technical writing (storytelling and gamification)", under the coordination of Prof. Elisa Bonacini, within the ITS 2-years COURSE "Higher Technician for the management of tourist accommodation facilities and cultural activities", 2019-2021, founded by the ITS Archimede Foundation at the CUMO Eastern Mediterranean University Consortium, in Noto (Syracuse).*

History and Culture, Arts and Creativity, Families with Kids, Gastronomy. From: Trapani

ITS Fondazione Archimede Turism&Culture. Travel Expert.

Travel Itinerary and Road Trip Route

Day 1: Welcome to Sicily!

Welcome to Sicily! Today you will land in the land of the sun and, leaving your luggage at the chosen B&B, you can spend your first day visiting the splendid city of Trapani, pausing to enjoy a delicious lunch based on local specialties and, after your lunch, you can move a few kilometers and enjoy the wonderful sunset at the salt pans of the city of Marsala.

Vincenzo Florio Airport Trapani–Birgi (Aeroporto di Trapani Birgi (TPS))

When you arrive at Trapani airport, rent a car and go to the Tramonti B&B in Trapani.

Torre di Ligny

Leave your luggage, bring comfortable shoes and a camera and drive to *Torre Ligny*, easily reachable and only 20 minutes from your B&B. The extreme point of the city is controlled by a tower, built in 1671 by the viceroy Claudio La Moraldo, prince of Ligny, from which it takes its name. The shape is quadrangular and the structure is made of stone and tuff. The main facade faces the city, showing itself to it with the small entrance door, a low arched window with three coats of arms and a plaque and a balcony. Currently inside is the [Trapani]( Museum of Prehistory and Protohistory. I recommend to book the Tower tour in advance to find a place.

Mura di Tramontana

After your visit to the Tower, in just 5 minutes by car you can reach the *Mura di Tramontana*, which are fortified walls, along the entire perimeter of the ancient city of Trapani. They were built during the Spanish domination in the 16th century, and below them is the beach, accessible from the historic center.

Ai bastioni

At the end of your tour, 5 minutes by car and finally you can have the experience of tasting the typical dishes of Sicilian cuisine in this restaurant, with loving, friendly but professional staff and very quick service. Also suitable for celiacs. Famous for its generous portions, it is renowned for one of its main dishes, a must try: traditional busiate alla pescatora, which is a very typical trapanese pasta with fish.

Castello di Venere

With your stomach full, you can better appreciate the world and then you can move to [Erice](, a town about 40 minutes by car from Trapani, where the stop that you absolutely must do is the *Castle of Venus*, with its evocative name and breathtaking view! This was the area of an open-air sanctuary dedicated to the worship of the Greek goddess Aphrodite and [Venus Ericina]( for the Romans. What remains of the ancient fortress today was built by the Normans, in the 12th century, as shown by the architectural remains, now lost. They can tell how the construction of the castle has gone through many eras: that of medieval reconstruction, which embraced the remains of the ancient sanctuary and evidence of rebuilding of the temple during the Roman era. Here you can comfortably park your car on the street or at the cable car station and walk up to the castle, an ideal activity after a rich lunch like the one you had before! The work of men has made this place enchanting but nature beats every human action: the view from the castle embraces Trapani, [Marsala](, the Saline in Marsala and the [Egadi Islands]( to the east and Monte Cofano, Bonagia and Cornino.

Le saline dello Stagnone

The breathtaking view and the walk along the rooms of the ancient Castle of Venus will surely have tired you, so why not taking the car to get around to see the sunset at the *Saline dello Stagnone* in Marsala? I assure you that the 50 minutes that separate you from this place of other times are worth it. Absolutely! Along the [Via del Sale](, through white salt dunes, ponds and windmills, you can witness one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world, so wonderful that it seems to have been created by the skillful palette of a greatest artist. Do not miss the visit to the Windmill, a marvel of industrial archeology with multimedia installations.

Assud - Morsi&Sorsi

Assud is more than a restaurant: it is a unique experience of discovering southern and Sicilian cuisine in Marsala! The products and raw materials are excellent. [Arancine](, fried pizza, sandwiches and much more in the celebration of street food in a cultural key: you sit down to eat but in reality you are traveling a path made of stories, roots and curiosities about the tasted flavors. You can choose whether to travel on the paths of taste inside the small tavern located in the historic center of Marsala or stop to enjoy amazing flavors inside the oasis, which houses the salt pans just visited, making the experience of entering a contact with the flavor of their pizzas, made with ancient Sicilian grain flours, looking at the sea.

Day 2: Let the tour of the temples begin!

The tour to the archaeological parks of Segesta and Selinunte will keep you company on your second day in Sicily. You will admire the unique beauties in the world that the grandeur of the Hellenic people has bequeathed to us and you will taste the good meat dishes in a farmhouse surrounded by greenery and mountains, you will walk in the quarries of Cusa, in Selinunte, from which the boulders of stone, necessary for the construction of temples; you will move to Marinella di Selinunte for your accommodation and you will end this wonderful day pampering your palate with the Sicilian culinary tradition.

Area Archeologica di Segesta

After a very rich breakfast, full of energy and ready to discover the history of our island, take your car and start the second day of your tour through the ancient temples of western Sicily! The very first stop for you is [Segesta](! City founded by the [Elimi](, an ancient people of Sicily, located in the north-western part of the island, the ancient Segesta rises on *Mount Barbaro*, in the municipality of [Calatafimi Segesta](, a few kilometers from the beautiful [Castellammare del Golfo]( Today you will visit the Segesta Archaeological Park ([click for the official brochure]( which, inside, preserves the Doric style temple and the Hellenistic theater for a part excavated in the rock of the hill. Archaeological excavations over time have found a Hellenistic-Roman town and a medieval village. Listen the suggested izi.TRAVEL audioguide: it was made by an archaeologist and he wanted to represent the felling of slowly walking to get close to the temple!

Tenute Margana

In Sicily, in addition to the wonderful fresh fish, you can also enjoy excellent meat and other typical dishes of the rustic cuisine of this fantastic island; for this reason I recommend that you tickle your palates at the Tenute Margana farmhouse. The choice of dishes and typical products, cooked according to the ancient recipes of the Sicilian culinary tradition, is among the widest: fresh hand-rolled pasta topped with typical sauces; second courses of wild boar, lamb, hare, sheep, pork and of course the kings of the Sicilian sweets, the *cannoli* but also delicious desserts such as *cassata* and other specialties. This restaurant also satisfies those who do not like meat with vegetable dishes. You can savor their tasty and abundant lunches lulled by an atmosphere of total relaxation, in contact with the nature of the nearby Segesta nature reserve. From here you can admire the Egadi islands, thus feeding your soul with the beauties of the place. The farmhouse is located 5 km from the Temple of Segesta and 15 km from the [Zingaro Nature Reserve](, in a wooded environment bordering the Segesta Park, at about 450 m above sea level and only 10 km from the sea; so, in case you decide to change your plan, you can take advantage and go on an excursion to the mountains and mountain bikes, because the farm puts them at your disposal for free!


[Selinunte]( was an Ancient Greek city located on the south-western coast of Sicily, in the province of Trapani; today it represents the largest archaeological park in Europe. The ruins of the city are located on the territory of the municipality of [Castelvetrano](, near the mouth of the [Belice]( river. It was destroyed in 409 BC by the Carthaginians and it became a little Punic settlement. An evocative place of the myth and grandeur of the ancient history of the land of Sicily. Absolutely a must on your trip!

Parco Archeologico Di Selinunte

Enjoy a walk among the numerous temples, including the temple of Hera, the only one well preserved but partially rebuilt between 1956 and 1959. Your walk will be inside a wonderful place, a garden, which still contains sarcophagi, vases and amphorae. To visit absolutely the Casa del Viaggiatore with the Antiques Museum, with numerous archaeological finds. I also recommend that you get to the Cusa quarries, about 10 km from the temple, from which the tuff blocks that were used to build the temples of the city were extracted for about 150 years. With the outbreak of the war between Selinunte and the Carthaginians and the consequent destruction of the city, the quarries were abandoned by men and by time: it is possible, in fact, to still see half-excavated building stone blocks. Here is a suggested audiotour to discover the temples. If, in the meantime, you have some children with you, I suggest to listen to this audioguide about [Temples and Metopes](!

Cave di Cusa

I'm here to introduce you to this magical and fascinating place. Do you know where the Selinuntini took the material to build their temples? Here at Cave of Cusa! The Cave are unique in the world! Of course now you can't hear the echo of chisels, which repeatedly hit the stone, and you don't see all those people, who were going back and forth, up and down, to organize the removal and the transport of big blocks. If the sight of the ruins of the great Greek town of Selinunte impressed you, you would wonder how it was possible that more than 2500 years ago lots of enormous buildings were created. That's why it is also important an excursion to these quarries about 11 km far from Selinunte: here you will understand how such great works of antiquity arose. The extraction site was really great: they simultaneously worked numerous column blocks and extracted the capitals, bred some herds of oxen to transport the material from the quarry to the construction site of the great temple. Imagine how much confusion reigned here! Everything was going regularly until the Carthaginians of Hannibal in 409 BC attacked us, over 2,400 years ago the work in the quarries and in the construction site of the great temple were interrupted and they destroyed Selinunte. 62 blocks and a capital remained  as they were, to testify that they were abandoned, from day to day or even from moment to moment, when the work was in full swing.

Ristorante La Bettola

Did you get some rest? Now prepare your palates to taste the personalized and original recipes of the Chef of the La Bettola restaurant, in [Mazara del Vallo](! After having walked a lot, today, it won't be a problem to take the car, turn on the radio with good music and fill your eyes with the wonder that the panorama is offering you on the way to the restaurant. Here fish predominates in the menus, offered to customers every day. The daily fish offered is of a great quality, served by efficient and friendly staff; excellent selection of wines and the guide in choosing them. Dispassionate advice? The fish couscous that doesn't need to add another word!

Day 3: Ladies and gentlemen: Agrigento!

Third day immersed in the history of the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento: you will visit the park, now a UNESCO heritage site, and the city that welcomes it with its historic buildings and historic restaurants where you will stop to refresh your body and spirit while enjoying excellent dishes of fish; you will walk through the most exclusive streets of the city and end the day in style at the small bay of the port of San Leone, to savor the night full of stars of the Sicilian nightlife.


The third day of your tour is devoted to discover the temples of western Sicily: you must make a stop in [Agrigento](, founded around 581 BC. The history around the name of this city is fascinating: Ἀκράγας for the Greeks, Agrigentum for the Romans, Kerkent or Gergent for the Arabs. The Normans called it Girgenti, the official name of the city until 1927, when in the Fascist period it was decided to use the name that the city had during the Roman rule, therefore Agrigento! Until 1853 its territory also embraced the municipality of Porto Empedocle. It is known all over the world as the **City of Temples** thanks to a valley full of Doric temples, belonging to the Greek period, which gave life to the ancient city and rise to the famous Valley of the Temples, a World Heritage UNESCO Site since 1997 and one of the biggest [archaeological park]( in the world. So, like every stage of this tour, Agrigento is also worth in satisfying your desire in discovering our beauties: just remember that the Greek poet [Pindar]( defined it as the most beautiful city of mortals.

Valle dei Templi

The Valley of the Temples has been a [regional archaeological park]( since 2000. It was added by UNESCO, in 1997, to the prestigious list of "World Heritage Sites" because Agrigento still represents Greek culture, as well as being one of the main examples of Greek art still in an excellent state of conservation. There are seven temples that rise in this valley, in Doric style, built in the local limestone tuff, starting from the 5th century BC: the temple of Juno, the Temple of Concord, almost intact, whose name it derives from a Latin inscription found near the temple itself; the Temple of Heracles, which appears to be the most ancient of all temples, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, characterized by the Telamons, huge statues with human features; the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of Vulcan, the Temple of Aesculapius, to which is added the Tomb of Theron, in memory of the fallen of the Second Punic War. Each temple rises facing the sun, to the east, so that the statue of the divinity inside could, for eternity, live on the light of the rising sun. The Valley of the Temples consecrates Agrigento as the cradle of history, as it has been its hub for many centuries. Throughout this area, each stone is a significant testimony of the Greek civilization in Sicily. Countryside of almond trees and flowers cradle the valley, nature that makes it immortal. The Valley of the Temples is open from 8.30 to 19.00 every day including Sundays and holidays. If you want to discover all the other incredible UNESCO sites in Sicily, here is a suggested auditor from izi.TRAVEL!

Osteria Expanificio

The excellence of taste in the historic center of Agrigento is represented by the Osteria Expanificio, awarded with the Bib Gourmand by the Michelin 2021 guide, a place obtained from an old post-war bakery, as the name recalls, where the atmosphere is at at the same time homemade and refined. The menu offers proposals of land food and sea food. The list of dishes that I recommend to try is very long. Get ready to savor poems of flavors, mixed with music of perfumes, bathed in the wines of the most important Sicilian labels: pasta with [bottarga](, lime and scampi, with a fresh and decisive taste, pasta with sea urchins, creamed cod, octopus, eggplant and sword millefeuille but also silversmith-style [caciocavallo](, eggplant pie, paccheri with sausage and pepper cream, spaghetti with tomato sauce, eggplant and [pecorino]( in flakes and many others that you do before going to the restaurant!!! Each dish made with mastery in the use of excellent raw materials, as well as the highly professional and never intrusive service, and one thing that never hurts: an excellent quality / price ratio. Not to be missed!

Il Duomo

After such a spectacular lunch, which has certainly made you happy, it is now time to feed your soul, searching for beauty, with a walk through the historic center of Agrigento, located on the western top of the ancient hill of Girgenti, where still stand up medieval buildings such as churches, monasteries, convents and noble palaces. Here you can find the most important examples of Arab-Norman art, among all the [cathedral of San Gerlando]( known for its beauty but, above all, for a singular phenomenon called spokesman; in fact, according to tradition, from the apse, thanks to the silence that reigns inside the cathedral, it is possible to hear what is whispered at the entrance. But there are many artistic beauties represented in the buildings of the historic center of Agrigento. During your walk do not forget to pass by the Palazzo Steri, which was a palace founded by the Chiaramonte family and now seat of the seminary, the bishop's palace, the Basilica of Santa Maria dei Greci and the monumental complex of Santo Spirito Monastery, with the gates of the walls.

Viale Della Vittoria

Viale della Vittoria is one of the main streets of the city. The beginnings of its construction date back to the mid-19th century and over the years it has undergone many changes in the name, in the ornament, in order to make it fascinating but functional. There are many commercial activities along the way: bars, restaurants, pizzerias, ice cream shops, pubs, high quality clothing stores and many others. You can enjoy an excellent view of the valley of the temples and a beautiful view of the Mediterranean. Continuing to walk along the avenue you reach the largest villa in the city: Villa Bonfiglio (Parco della Rimembranza in 1920), with an obelisk in white Carrara marble, in memory of the fallen from Agrigento of the Great War, located in the center of a circular fountain where perennial water flows. A perfect place for a relaxing walk because the long avenue starts from Piazza Guglielmo Marconi, where there is the Central Station and you can park your car to visit the historic center by foot. Have a good walk!

Ristorante La Madia - Pino Cuttaia

Reassured by your tiredness, take the car, turn on the music you like best and leave for the restaurant La Madia. This is one of the most famous restaurant in Sicily, thanks to the 2 Michelin star chef, Pino Cuttaia, in [Licata]( The journey of about 50 minutes will be worth it! Chef Pino Cuttaia loves being in the dining room, he is among his diners, with whom he talks nicely, also giving explanations on the research behind the chosen dish and its composition. He and his staff are very kind! You will feel at the center of attention, because a real culinary journey will be offered to you and it will be like a visit to a museum: each course is a work of art. Your experience will start from the eyes, cross the palate, until it reaches the heart. The place is really very elegant, thanks to the simplicity with which the chef proposes his dishes, linked to the tradition of beautiful things that the Sicilian people have in their memory.

Aquaselz Cafè

Built on a small bay, at the port of San Leone, Aqualizer café directly overlooks the beach. An excellent after dinner, returning from Licata to Agrigento, to immerse yourself again in the modern world after so much ancient history! It is good at all times: beautiful and very relaxing at sunset, at aperitif time, but you can still hold back because the dances last until late at night, a real open-air disco. It is now a consolidated reality in the Agrigento nightlife, always in step with the times and in continuous transformation. The staff is very friendly, the minimal location is ideal during the day, exceptional at sunset and excellent at night!

Day 4: Goodbye Sicily!

Arriving at the last day of your tour, you will enjoy the splendid views and the wonderful sea, with crystal clear water, offered by the Tonnara di [Scopello](,_Trapani), taking advantage of the sea and the summer to savor a first taste of summer! Your tour will continue in [Castellamare del Golfo](, eating pasta with sea urchins ... in front of the sea! You will enrich your eyes with the beauties of the village. After the tour, you will leave for Trapani airport and have a good return. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Tonnara di Scopello

Start your day with a hearty breakfast and leave the city of Agrigento for the [Tonnara di Scopello]( I recommend, put your swimsuit in your bag: if the day is beautiful, you can have a wonderful swim in the blue and crystalline water of this magical and timeless place, set in a bay of incomparable beauty, protected by two medieval towers that watch over from above. The entire complex of the Tonnara faithfully represents the ancient history of the Sicilian sea and its traditions. Today it represents a natural museum overlooking the sea, as if to testify to the history of that economy which, for centuries, was the main source of subsistence of the local people: tuna fishing. Even today the equipment and tools used for tuna fishing are preserved intact. The ancient seaside village includes 14 residential units immersed in nature, distributed respecting their original history. Here you will spend a couple of hours, immersing yourself in an incredible atmosphere made of history and wonderful nature.

Castellammare del Golfo

Once you have finished swimming and having filled your eyes with sun and blue sea, 20 minutes from the Tonnara di Scopello, you can reach the town of [Castellammare del Golfo]( Its geographical position wrote its history. The gulf of Castellammare is a real amphitheater overlooking the sea, partly delimited by Mount Ionico. It is among the most fascinating Sicilian tourist destinations for its beautiful naturalistic landscape and for its rich history. In fact it dates back to the arrival of the Arabs in the ancient city of Elima, the little harbor of the city of Segesta, to which they literally gave the name of "the stairs ”, perhaps due to the steps leading from the Bastion to the Port. It was during the Arab domination that the construction of the Castle began, completed by the Normans. Its name derives from *Castrum ad mare de gulfo*, given to it at the beginning of the year 1000 because it became a Norman and then Swabian fortification. With the victory of the Aragonese over the Angevins, the port of Castellammare del Golfo lost its meaning. With [Sicilian Vespers]( (1282), under the guidance of Frederick of Antioch, the city flourished again becoming an important center for the grain trade. During the centuries the Castle was enlarged and around 1521 a first wall was also built, in 1587 a second one with three entrance doors. Between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the city began to expand along the coast from north to south, so much so that the country had to expand to accommodate the ever-growing population due to the immigrant flows of people who had moved here to work. As the whole Sicily, many dominations over the centuries have followed here in Castellamare del Golfo: from the Spanish to the Savoy, from the Austrians to the Bourbons but, in 1820, during the uprisings for independence, it was among the first cities to strongly support Garibaldi, until it became the splendid pearl of the land of Sicily.

Ristorante Del Golfo

Here you can have a great welcome, exquisite and excellent quality food. From raw food to more complex dishes, fish is always the catch of the day. An elegant setting with truly creative cuisine is waiting for you! You can also choose to dine outdoors and enjoy the excellent dining experience also through the eyes. I recommend you to try the black busiata pasta with sea urchins and prawns: you will feel like you are eating the sea. Your expectations will not be disappointed, thanks to a constant and unique quality research. Raw fish becomes a unique emotional journey, just as sensational are all the dishes on the menu, excellent food accompanied by the greatest Sicilian wines.

Piazza Petrolo

Take advantage of the beautiful day and after lunch go for a nice walk in Piazza Petrolo, original name Piazza Vincenzo Santangelo and, why not, even a stop on the beach for a little nice swim. It is a modern and well-kept square. In the center, a star typical of many promenades in Sicily is portrayed on the floor. From here it is possible to enjoy the wonderful view of the entire Gulf of Castellammare. The view is suggestive at sunset, the sky turns red and the sea reflects the last rays of the sun. Piazza Petrolo is a meeting place and you certainly cannot say that you have met Sicily on your return if you have not lost yourself walking in this fantastic place!


Leave the beauty of Castellammare del Golfo and return to the point where it all began: Trapani. A flight is waiting for you and the return home will be full of emotions and wonderful memories. Return the car to the rental point and… Have a nice trip!