Italy

Segesta is a dream.

On the trail of Greek archeological sites in Sicily, it’s also an outlier. The settlement was founded by a local Sicilian tribe and was never actually subject to Greek colonization. As the surrounding Greek culture began to permeate the town in the 5th century BC, the Segestans began construction on a Doric temple outside the city walls. Conspicuously, the roof was never completed, likely because of a war with the neighboring Greek settlement of Selinous (Selinunte). Competing theories suggest the Sicilians didn’t know how to build the roof and invented construction delays to save face. 2,500 years later, it’s difficult to prove either scenario.

Though the main temple is roped off, the rest of the settlement is surprisingly unrestricted. Visitors can walk in, climb on, and touch everything in the theater as well as the rubble of a nearby mosque. I don’t entirely disagree with the lax approach to preservation. The historians have already catalogued everything so what’s the harm in eating lunch on an overturned pillar and enjoying the view?

 

Segesta Theater

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