Segesta: Sicily Tourist Guide

Greek temple and archaeological site in the Sicilian countryside

High up in a mountainous area towards the west of Sicily is the beautiful and frankly magical Segesta archaeological complex. Segesta was originally founded by the Elymian people, one of the native people of Sicily. They later integrated with the Greeks, making Segesta an important Classical town. It was later ruled by the Romans, but declined in importance before being finally abandoned in around the thirteenth century.

The 5th century BC Doric temple is truly magnificent as it rises out of the landscape, its golden stone reflecting and almost radiating light on a sunny day. Though never completed (it has always been roofless) it is one of the best-preserved examples of a Greek temple, and so for the ancient history or archaeology fan, it is unmissable.

A short, albeit steep, walk from the temple takes you to the Greek (and later Roman) theatre, a open amphitheatre where in the summer Greek plays are staged. There is a shuttle bus up the hill, but the views are so stunning that if you can manage it, walk! It is set on top of a stunning mountain plateau and you can see for miles over the valleys below.

As the site of an ancient and important town which was only abandoned in the Middle Ages, Segesta also boasts the archaeological remains of many other times and cultures. There are the ruins of a Norman castle, a small church and a mosque.

Practical visiting information

The archaeological area is open daily from 9am to 7pm (5pm in winter). Last admission is one hour before closing. There is an admission charge.

Segesta is in a comune (council area) called Calatafimi Segesta. The archaeological site of Segesta is about three miles from the small town of Calatafimi.

Travel to Segesta

Segesta is in the northwest of Sicily, in the province of Trapani, and is an easy daytrip from the town of Trapani itself. There are around five bus services a day from Trapani (fewer off season) and the journey takes about 25 minutes. At the time of writing, buses from both Trapani and Castellammare del Golfo to Segesta are run by Tarantola Bus (see our links panel for timetables). Travellers should check times in advance, as the services aren’t frequent. There are also a few trains a day from Trapani and Palermo, but as often is the case in Sicily, the bus is perhaps a more reliable mode of transport. Calatafimi station is in the countryside outside town, and is not far from the archaeological site (see our link on the right for a Google map and overhead photographs of the area).

Text and photographs by Alice Maddicott

Segesta accommodation

Travellers generally visit Segesta as a day-trip or as a stop on a tour, and the options for staying in the neighbourhood are limited. Trapani or Castellammare del Golfo both make possible bases for exploring this corner of Sicily.

> Hotels and B&Bs around Calatafimi.

Useful external links

Sicily accommodation

Italy car hire

Tarantola Bus

AST buses

Google map of the archaeological site

Comune di Calatafimi Segesta

Archaeological zone