If you are an archaeology lover, you will certainly go crazy over Segesta.
If you have never been around Castellammare del Golfo, you have missed a piece of real history, as well as mythology, at the Segesta Archaeological Park.
It is said that the city was founded by the Elymians, the people who fled from Troy, and that over the years it has always maintained strong links with Greek culture. Segesta became a valuable economic and cultural centre for the Mediterranean.
Despite its destruction at the hands of Agathocles of Syracuse around 500 B.C., and a subsequent moment of new splendour, Segesta came under Roman rule after the First Punic War. The Romans, in honour of its shared origins with Troy, did not impose tribute on it, which allowed it to flourish rapidly.
Compared to what is really contained within the Archaeological Park, Segesta still represents an unexplored territory of mysterious fascination, a sort of Pandora’s box. A territory not yet fully known, in which there is perhaps talk of a road layout on an agora and some dwellings.
What we do know for certain, however, is that there is a Doric temple and theatre, a church from 1442, a mosque and even a castle on the mountain, and recently, discoveries have also included a Hellenistic necropolis.
The main attractions
Let us now talk about the Doric Temple: 36 columns dating back to the 5th century B.C., located outside the city walls, positioned on a cliff and unfortunately left incomplete. Yes, incomplete, as the motif on which the Elymians based its construction has also remained suspended. Unmistakable to all today, however, remains its beauty.
Let us now turn to the Hellenistic Theatre, located on Mount Barbaro and built in the 2nd century BC.
when Segesta was already a free city under Roman rule. Sixty metres wide and consisting of a staircase carved into the rocks, it still stands in an excellent state of preservation and is still one of the most beautiful theatres of the entire classical period.
In summer, the theatre becomes a venue for classical plays and musical concerts of great artistic value, where the Calatafimi Segesta Festival Dionysiache has taken up the open-air theatre formula brought to Segesta back in 1967 by the National Institute of Ancient Drama.