Ancient history

The old city of Segesta was built on Mount Barbaro, in the territory between Alcamo and Castellammare del Golfo. This archaeological park features a Doric-style temple and a theatre that dates back to the Hellenistic period. The theatre was built into the hill by excavating the rock. After some excavations, a medieval village and a Hellenistic-Roman town were found. Even today, it is not very clear who the real founder of this town was. Some myths claim that it was the Trojan Acestus, while Virgil narrates the legend that Aeneas was the true founder.

Segesta always experienced turbulent times, ever since its birth. In fact, the rivalry with Selinunte was the cause of numerous border wars that led to violent clashes. The Segesta wars began in 580 BC and continued for almost 200 years, also involving other Mediterranean cities such as Athens, Syracuse and Carthage. It was the Carthaginians who ended the war by supporting Segesta and destroying Selinunte. The city then allied with Rome to defend itself from the Carthaginians and remained allied until the fifth century when it fell under the control of the Vandals and was completely destroyed. Part of it was rebuilt with the addition of a castle by the Normans.

Present Day

Today, the ‘great temple’, the oldest in Doric style, stands on the west side of the park. It consists of numerous perimeter columns about 10 metres high. Although it is a Greek temple, its relation to the Hellenistic people is not clear. Some claim that the Greek influence is linked to the close commercial relationships that the cities had. In addition, it is believed that the work is of religious orientation but unfortunately remained uncompleted.

Nestled in Mount Barbaro at an altitude of 400 metres is the theatre of Segesta, also of Hellenic origin,and built around the 3rd century BC. The theatre seats up to 5000 people and is still used today to stage the same plays as in ancient times. The spectators are arranged in the six rows of the cavea and watch the performances surrounded by a spectacular landscape.

Segesta was built near the thermal springs. It is said that the Trojans had already discovered them and this was the reason for the construction of the city in this place. In addition to the thermal baths for commercial use, in Ponte Bagni there are several free sulphurous water pools where the temperature of the water is around 45 degrees Celsius.


Segesta can be reached by car but you have to walk to get to the temple and explore the archaeological site. It is advisable to go well equipped for a long stay in the heat and sun.


€ 6 entrance to the archaeological park
Go to link to check the price of the thermal baths



30 minutes

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