Selinunte: The Buried Metropolis of the Ancient Greeks

Greek temple in Selinunte

Selinunte is a vast site, once a major city on Sicily's southern coast. Forty hectares have already been excavated, but a lot of the ancient city is still buried. The more recently discovered ancient "industrial" area is currently causing great excitement among archaeologists.

For holiday makers in Sicily, the most interesting parts of Selinunte will be the ancient temples and the Acropolis. Selinunte was a huge metropolis and its temples were cathedral-sized.

Acropolis means "highest point of the city" and, since it was the most easily defended part of the site, it was home to the most important buildings for the community: the temples, the granaries, the mint and the market place.

Selinunte was founded by Greek settlers but, being on Sicily's south coast facing Africa, it was dangerously close to the Carthaginian sphere of influence. The Carthaginians and Greeks occupied Sicily at the same time and alternated between uneasy alliances and battles for power.

When Selinunte was excavated, every one of the temples lay in ruins on the ground. Some tour guides claim the city was swept away by a massive tsunami, but there is no direct evidence of this.

Several ancient sources wrote about the devastating war in which Phoenicians demolished the town and killed thousands of its citizens. Long keen to wipe out this massive centre of Greek power, they chose their moment wisely and took advantage of a conflict between the Greeks and the indigenous Elymians.

Map for a trip to Selinunte

Map for a trip to Selinunte
  • Coming from the A29 motorway
  • Way from Selinunte to the Cave di Cusa
  • Way back to the A29
  1. Parking Selinunte
  2. Bars and Souvenirs
  3. Tickets
  4. Mandra Florio
  5. Temple E
  6. Temple F
  7. Temple G
  8. Baglio Florio
  9. Archaic town / Phoenician tombs
  10. Case De Sabato
  1. Case De Sabato sul fiume
  2. Temple M
  3. Case della Gaggera
  4. 'Malophoros' Sanctuary
  5. Temple of Hera
  6. Temple D
  7. Temple C
  8. Temple A
  9. Temple O
  10. Casa del Viaggiatore
  11. Cave di Cusa car park
  12. Huge column drums

Reaching Selinunte by car

A rental car for your sicily holidays

The ancient city of Selinunte is only 10 km away from a new motorway - the A29 Palermo-Mazara del Vallo. Just before the western end of the A29, take the "Castelvetrano" motorway exit and then go straight ahead to the Selinunte car park (marker 1 on the map above).

Selinunte is about 100 km from Palermo on the A29.

From Trapani, you can take the strada statale SS115 instead, which offers a beautiful scenic route. It will lead you along the coast to Campobello di Mazara (left of the map) for the first 70 km. From there you will need to cover another 15 km on the road marked in green on the map. If you do choose to take the A29 motorway instead, it is about 10 km longer but probably quicker.

The SS115 is definitely the best choice if you are approaching from the south-east. The motorway would not only lead you on a major detour to the north, but also force you through the bottleneck of Palermo's nightmarish ring road.

For holiday-makers based to the north-east, however, the motorway is your best option. Time your journey to avoid Palermo during rush hours.

We strongly recommend giving yourself an hour's stop-off to see the Cave di Cusa (marker 21 on the map). This old quarry was abandoned in haste by the ancient stone masons, and gives you a unique opportunity to walk among all kinds of half-carved or even finished columns, pediments and other "components" of ancient buildings.

Impressions of Selinunte

Impressions of Selinunte

Let's stay in touch

Holidays in Sicily are always over too soon. You have just started getting used to all the beauty and the wonderful sunshine - and it's time to go home! And there was so much more to see!

The good news is that you can get a taste of Sicily from anywhere in the world. We are on Facebook, Google+ and other social media. Click on your choice:

Facebook Logo Share the great time you had in Sicily on Facebook
Pinterest Logo Pinterest is a treasure trove of beautiful images of Sicily

Please ask!

Find your ideal Holiday Letting

Holiday apartments at Mer et Soleil - Bagheria

Mer et Soleil   ⇒ Info

  • Holiday apartments by the sea
  • Private bay
  • Nestled in a pine grove
  • Secure parking
  • Distance to the sea:  50 m
  • Distance to train station:  3.5 km
Holiday lettings in the Villaggio Santino - Bagheria

Villaggio Santino   ⇒ Info

  • Holiday apartments right on the water
  • Private bay
  • Surrounded by lush Mediterranean greenery
  • Secure parking area
  • Distance from the sea:  50 m
  • Distance from train station:  3 km
Villa Marie - Bagheria

Villa Marie   ⇒ Info

  • Holiday house right on the water
  • Rocky inlet with swimming platforms
  • Quiet location
  • Very well-maintained
  • Distance from the sea:  30 m
  • Distance from train station:  4 km
The entrance of Villa Caterina in Cefalu

Villa Caterina   ⇒ Info

  • Spacious Villa in traditional style
  • Large Mediterranean garden
  • 6 separate holiday apartments
  • Perfect for families
  • Distance from the sea:  0.8 km
  • Distance from train station:  0.6 km
Apartments of Casa Maria in Santa Flavia - Balcony of the apartement 'Stella'

Casa Maria   ⇒ Info

  • Quiet Old Town location
  • Perfect for budget-conscious holidays in Sicily
  • 8 separate apartments
  • 2 with large roof terrace
  • Distance from the sea:  1.3 km
  • Distance from train station:  0.5 km
Holiday lettings Casa Chloé in Santa Flavia

Casa Chloé   ⇒ Info

  • Lively Old Town location
  • 2 separate apartments
  • 1 with large roof terrace
  • Distance to the sea:  1.1 km
  • Distance to train station:  0.1 km
  • Heating system ideal for winter holidays in Sicily
Apartment Casa Enza in Santa Flavia

Casa Enza   ⇒ Info

  • Small penthouse
  • Living area:  50
  • Roof terrace:  130 with panoramic view
  • Distance from the sea:  1.2 km
  • Distance from train station:  0.2 km
  • Heating system ideal for winter holidays in Sicily
Apartment Casa Panorama in Santa Flavia

Casa Panorama   ⇒ Info

  • Small penthouse
  • Living area:  35 with panoramic view
  • Roof terrace:  25 with stunning panoramic view
  • Distance from the sea:  1 km
  • Distance from train station:  0.1 km
  • Heating system ideal for winter holidays in Sicily

Please ask!

© 2012-2015 Trip Tipp Sicily

Last update: 15 April 2017