Hotel Relais Angimbe
SS 113 - KM 338,4, Calatafimi-Segesta, 91013, Italy
More about Segesta
Pasta with beans. Tenuta Morgana, Segesta
Temple of Segesta, Sicily
high on the hill behind visit the theatre & city
views from nearby hilltop town of Catalafimi
Travel Tips for Segesta
Ancient Greece in Sicily
"Visiting the temple at Segesta"
We came to Segesta from Castellammare del Golfo on a Saturday afternoon in April. A bus ride of about 30 minutes brought us here on the 'Sky Road', through partly wild and partly cultivated countryside. The road that we nicknamed the 'Sky Road ' is a highway that traverses parts of inland Sicily, supported high off the land by great pillars and giving the impression of a long runway, with take-off imminent.
Arriving at Segesta we discovered that it was a heritage day and no admission fee was charged. We set off, up the steep steps to the temple, entertained along the way by graffiti on the leaves of cactus plants lining the path.
There were very few people there and we could gaze and photograph to our heart's content. The temple is really impressive and it's hillside location, truly spectacular. The only small glitch is that as we travelled towards Segesta, the sun went behind the clouds and stayed there for the rest of the day. This took a little from the atmosphere ( and the photos) but otherwise, we really enjoyed visiting this wonderfully preserved temple.
Segesta - Temples in the Hills of Sicily
Segesta or Egeste stands in an enchanting location among red, brown and ochre coloured hills that contrast with various shades of green. The Archaeological Park is overlooked by the imposing Doric Temple.
The ancient city of Segesta was probably found by Elymians and at the time was the most important settlement in the Mediterranean Basin, as borne out by the superb remains of several monumental buildings.
Segesta was destroyed by the Syracuse tyrant Agathocles at the end of the 4th century BC. However at the start of the first Punic war the city was reborn, allying itself with Rome. The south-eastern zone was residential while the public buildings, such as the Greek Theatre were to the north.
Settled by Byzantine, Arab and lastly Latin communities, the city was progressively abandoned from the Suevian period onwards.
The temple of Segesta
When people talk about Segesta they mean ancient Greek temple which is a tourist attraction and one of the remains from the cultures and peoples who have once ruled and inhabitated Sicily. The temple looks really powerful but also weird because it stands alone in the middle of "nothing". From the temple you can catch a bus (or walk if you are in a good shape) on the nearby hill from where you find ancient amphitheater.
Segesta: A Must-See
"A Mystical landscape"
After leaving Selinunte , we hurried on to Segesta. It was an easy 50+km by super-highway A29 north. We entered near Castelvetrano (from S115).When we arrived it was late lunch-time and ubiquitous pizza was available in the snack bar near the parking.The climb from there to the Temple was a test for old legs but worth the arduous climb.Actually walking down was more dangerous and required a careful hands-on watch by my associates as it is a rough stepped path (could this be the original Way?).If you come here take the time to go by bus (1.2 euro) up to the Greek Theater (and other ruins). It runs regularly from outside the food and souvenir shop. Not only is there the Theater etc. but also fine views of the countryside and the Temple.There is no easy way to get to Segeta other than by car or tour-bus. Two nearby towns have some sleeping accomodations.Trapani-Erice are about an easy 40 km drive. Monreale-Palermo are 56-66 km by a winding back road, or to Palermo by A29N which is longer but just as fast. After leaving Segesta we went to Monreale (a 1 hr drive), by S113 and S186.
For a Greek city Segesta is unusually sited. It is inland and was not a spin-off colony of a seacoast settlement.The people told Ancient historians that they(the Elmyrians) were descended from the remnants of people from Troy. They left fragments of a written language using a Greek alphabet but totally different words(and not yet deciphered).They left no history and produced no famous people or deeds.They were reputedly (falsely)wealthy from farming and bribed the Athenians to wreak havoc on and destroy their nearest southerly neighbor, Selinunte.This was enticing because most Ancient Greeks were devoutlly religious, logical and strong believers in republican government, genocide and slavery. What ultimately happened resulted in the sad decline of Athens, and other events leading to both the destruction of Selinunte and later Segesta. Segesta struggled to survive after that and slowly died out after the Roman Age.
"An Unfinished Temple"
The method for quarrying and creating a stone column for a Greek Temple is different from that of a marble column or an Egyptian obelisk. The last two are carved from single entire blocks out of the rock source, finished perhaps at the source and delivered for installation and finishing. The Greek column is cut in pie-shaped drums. Each drum may have holes or knobs for handling by ropes and poles.They are stacked one above the other and rotated to grind the apposing surfaces smooth. The weight and grindings are the only adhesive needed. (That is also why they fall so easily in an earthquake). When the columns are up and capped with an abacus and pediment they are vertically fluted (by drill and chisel) and painted or stuccoed to make them appear as single units (weathering achieves this somewhat).Thus the unfluted columns and projecting handling knobs indicate that the Temple of Segesta was never finished.
Segesta is an abandoned ancient city located in the province of Trapani, about 74 kilometers southwest of Palermo, roughly an hour's drive from the capital.
This large archeological zone, with its magnificent Doric temple, ranks as one of the best-preserved Greek architectural sites to be found anyplace.
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