The Valley is home to eight temples and other remains, as well as a museum and the Kolymbethra Gardens. Here are the very best things you must make sure you check out when visiting.
Temple of Hera
Also known as Juno Lacinia or Temple D, the Temple of Hera was built sometime around the year 450BC. Signs of a fire have led historians to believe the temple was damaged in the Siege of Akragas in 406BC. Originally dedicated to the Greek God Hera and later to the Roman God Juno, the temple’s northern colonnade is completely preserved.
Temple of Concordia
The largest and best-preserved Doric temple in Sicily and one of the best-preserved Greek temples anywhere in the world, the Temple of Concordia was named after the Roman Goddess of harmony due to a Roman-era Latin inscription found nearby. Built between 440 and 430BC, the temple was converted into a Christian Basilica in the 6th Century and dedicated to the apostles Peter and Paul.
Temple of Heracles
Widely believed to be the oldest of the temples in the valley due to its stylistic characteristics, it is thought that the Temple of Heracles dates back to the latter years of the 6th Century BC. Now consisting of just eight columns, much of the structure was destroyed in an earthquake.
Temple of Olympian Zeus
Intended to be the largest temple in the valley, construction was never completed and what did stand before now lies in ruins. The Temple of Olympian Zeus was built in 480BC to celebrate victory over Carthage. Its most unique point was its use of large atlases, a support sculpted in the shape of a man rather than a traditional column. It is thought by some that the temple was possibly built with the intention of displaying the extravagant capabilities of the Greeks at the time.
The Temple of Castor and Pollux
Now considered a modern symbol of Agrigento, the Temple of Castor and Pollux has only four remaining columns. Castor and Pollux are twin half-brothers in both Greek and Roman mythology. They are both sons of Leda, but Castor is the mortal son of Tyndareus, King of Sparta, while Pollux was the divine son of Zeus.
Temple of Hephaestos
Also known as the Temple of Vulcan, the deity to who this temple was dedicated is unknown. It dates to around 430BC and apart from four steps and two columns, little remains of the temple today.
Temple of Demeter
Believed to have been built between 480 and 470BC, the base and outer walls of the temple are to some extent still preserved. The temple was used as a sacred enclosure and combined with adjacent structures. Archaeologists have made significant finds within the boundaries of the Temple of Demeter, including busts suspected to represent the goddess of the harvest.
Temple of Asclepius
Located in the middle of the San Gregorio plain, the Temple of Asclepius is a small temple dating back to the late 5th Century BC. The sanctuary did house a bronze statue of Apollo, a gift to the city by Scipio, a Roman General often considered one of the greatest military commanders in history.
Regional Archaeology Museum
The museum is one of the most important and popular museums to visit in all of Sicily. Eighteen rooms consisting of over 5,600 artefacts tell the story of the Agrigentan territory from its beginnings to the end of the Greek-Roman period. With information provided about the artefacts in Italian and English, the museum is the ideal place to learn of the history of the region as well as how our modern day understanding of the temples and artefacts has been formed.
Found at the heart of the Valley of the Temples, the Kolymbethra Gardens stretch for over five hectares. A wide variety of fruit grows within the gardens, with bananas, mulberries, citrus fruits and pomegranates among others. Almond trees and olive trees line the foot of limestone cliffs. The archaeological site is of great historical and natural interest and a true picture perfect for relaxing in.