The Valle dei Templi, or the Valley of the Temples, is an archaeological site located in Agrigento on
the Italian island of Sicily.
It is one of the most outstanding examples of Greater Greece art and architecture.
The Valle dei Templi is a magnificent collection of seven ancient Greek temples from the 6th and 5th centuries BC.
The temples are: Temple of Concordia, Temple of Juno, Temple of Asclepius, Temple of Heracles, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Temple of Castor and Pollux, and Temple of Vulcan.
The Temple of Concordia was built c. 440–430 BC. Due to its good state of preservation, the Temple of Concordia is ranked amongst the most notable edifices of the Greek civilization existing today.
The well-preserved peristasis of six by thirteen columns stands on a crepidoma of four steps (measuring 39.42 × 16.92 m (129.3 × 55.5 ft), and 8.93 m (29.3 ft) high) The cella measures 28.36 × 9.4 m (93 × 30.8 ft). The columns are 6 m (20 ft) high and carved with twenty flutes and harmonious entasis (tapering at the tops of the columns and swelling around the middles).
The Temple of Concordia was converted into a Christian basilica in the 6th century dedicated to the apostles Peter and Paul by San Gregorio delle Rape, bishop of Agrigento and thus survived the destruction of pagan places of worship. Notably the UNESCO symbol alludes to this temple 6 column
The Temple of Juno was built c. 450 BC. It has six columns on the short sides (hexastyle) and thirteen
on the long sides. The temple’s floor plan is around 38.15 metres (125.2 feet) long by 16.90 metres
(55.4 feet) wide. Current remains (including anastylosis from the 18th Century onwards) consist of the
front colonnade with parts of the architrave and of the frieze. Only fragments of the other three
sides survive, with few elements of the cella.
The Temple of Asclepius probably dating to the late 5th century BC. Its identification is based on a
mention by Polybius (I, 18, 2), who states that the temple was “in front of the city”, one mile away.
However, as the actual distance does not correspond and the size of the building is relatively small,
scholars remains dubious about this attribution. The temple measuring 21.7 x 10.7 m (71,2 x 35.1 ft),
rises over a basement with three steps. The tample is located far from the ancient town’s walls; it
was the goal of pilgrims seeking cures for illness.
The Temple of Heracles is the most ancient temple in the Valley of the Temples, dating to the final years of the 6th century BC. The temple, with 20th-century anastylosis, measures 67 x 25.34 m (219.8 x 83.1 ft), with a peristais of 6 x 15 Doric columns and a cella with pronaos and opysthodomus, is located over a three-step basement.
The Temple of Olympian Zeus was built c. 480 BC to celebrate the city-state’s victory over Carthage.
It was the largest Doric temple ever constructed, although it was never completed and now lies in
ruins. The temple, whose structure is still under debate, measured 112,7 x 56,3 m (369,7 x 184,7 ft)
at the stylobate, with a height of some 20 m (65.6 ft). Today it survives only as a broad stone
platform heaped with tumbled pillars and blocks of stone.
The Temple of Castor and Pollux (or Temple of the Dioscuri) was built between 480 and 460 BC. It
includes four columns and an entablature mounted over the foundings of an originary temple
31 x 13.39 m (101.7 x 43.9 ft), and which would have been a Doric perypteros with 6 x 13 columns.
Despite its remains including only four columns, it is now the symbol of modern Agrigento.
The Temple of Vulcan dating from around 430 BC. It is thought to have been one of the most imposing constructions in the valley; it is now however one of the most eroded. The classic temple, a Doric perypteros, measured 43 x 20.85 m (141 x 68.4 ft), rising mounted on a four-step krepidoma and having 6 x 13 columns.
The ascription of the names, apart from that of the Olympeion, are a mere tradition established in
Much of the excavation and restoration of the temples was due to the efforts of archaeologist Domenico Antonio Lo Faso Pietrasanta (1783-1863), who was the Duke of Serradifalco from 1809 through 1812
The Valle dei Templi is one of the main attractions of Sicily as well as a national monument of Italy.
The area was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1997.
The archaeological park and landscape of the Valley of the Temples is the largest archaeological site in the world with 1,300 hectares (3,200 acres).
The term “valley” is a misnomer, the site being located on a ridge outside the town of Agrigento.