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The 7th Wednesday after Easter and the 3rd week end in September
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Starts May 1st
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December 13


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A 'Haunting' Archaeological Park by the Sea

Posted by Suzanne on 10 Apr 2015

When I visited Selinunte, Sicily’s largest and most haunting archaeological park, it was spring 2013. I had spent a couple of nights before in an old baglio, called Spano, not far from Mazara del Vallo and drove the 30 or so kilometres eastward to Selinunte the next morning. 


Selinunte in the spring

Douglas Sladen, in his classic 1905 book, “Sicily, The New Winter Resort” says, “Selinunte is best visited in the winter or spring.” 

To see Selinunte in the spring.

Set back from the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, 'looking towards Africa', Selinunte, splendidly located, now is a group of seven or so Greek temples (all in varying states of ruin and reconstruction) and an excavated necropolis set in large open fields of wild flowers in the spring, fennel, parsley, fico d’ India and wild celery (Selinon).


Selinunte inspires 

Called Selinous by the Greeks, the great city was founded in 650 BC, sacked and finally devastated by an earthquake in the 6th century AD. Selinunte was never built over. It sits in isolation.

Spend a few leisurely hours of quiet exploration, slow walks and dreaming. It is evocatively beautiful.

As you climb up into the temples and gaze down to the sea and the sandy beach; thoughts of adored Greek Gods; golden temples of devotion; murdering conquerors; heaving quakes; and, spring fields under the spell of Demeter; all inspire feelings of loss and mystery.


A shepherd wanders near the Temple of Juno

Temple E, thought to be dedicated to Hera (Juno) wife of Zeus (Apollo) is well reconstructed and its impressive sculptures are in Palermo at The Regional Archaeological Museum Antonio Salinas in Via Bara All’Olivella. (The archaeological museum has some of Italy’s finest Greek art works)

And Temple G, understood to be in honour of mighty Zeus, lies in ruins.

When I climbed the high steps of the roofless Temple E and stood between the gigantic golden columns the muted clang of a sheep’s bell could be heard as a small shepherded mob grazed among the ruins and the blue of the sea shimmered in the distance.

If you do travel to the mythical Selinunte outside the winter and spring months arrive early to beat the bus loads of archaeology enthusiasts and if in summer, also the heat. 





A Note 26/8/1025: Raleigh Trevelyan's "Sicily" provided background reading for this blog.




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