Segesta is a historical city which is situated in the municipality of Monte Bàrbaro – in the Township of Calatafimi-Segesta, about ten kilometers from Alcamo and Castellammare del Golfo.
The Greek historian Thucydides recounts that Trojan refugees, crossing the Mediterranean, came to Sicily, where they founded Segesta and Erice. These refugees took the name of Elymians . They maintained relationships with neighbouring civilizations, but always maintaining autonomy that led them to oppose the Greeks and form an alliance with the Punics and later with Rome. Segesta soon became a powerful city that had a conflictual relationship with Selinunte, perhaps also because of the contradictory geographical positions. It was for this political-military position that it almost always had friendly relations with the Punics.
But, very wisely, sensing the growth of the Roman power, it soon passed on the side of the Romans, in 260 BC. It was thanks to this political move, and in the name of common origins, that the Romans decided to exempt them paying taxes and also gave them some political autonomy and territorial control.
The most significant places of interest of Segesta are the theatre, the temple and the sanctuary of Contrada Mango. They are obviously places of worship, performance and politics. Other interesting parts of the city are the surrounding walls – with the hinged door (Porta di Valle), some residential areas, monuments of medieval era ( the walls, Castle, Mosque and upper village) The temple is still occasionally used for theatrical performances. A short distance from the beautiful Temple you can visit to the baths, located at Ponte Bagni. The Trojans would have chosen this area for the construction of the city for the warm waters of its territory. Here there are a few pools of sulphurous hot water with a temperature that is around 46-47 °, which emerge directly from the Warm River , in small sheltered coves where it is pleasant to take hot baths. The area is covered with tamarisks and reeds and is surrounded by cliffs of white and rose rock streaked with travertine deposits. On the bed of the stream there are blocks of rock, fallen centuries ago, that have created small beautiful waterfalls.
The presence of very permeable rocks in the area allows the waters of meteoric origin to be absorbed in depth; here, the proximity of the magma warms the thermal waters that rise to the surface in several points along the course of the Warm River.
The landscape that surrounds Segesta and the medieval village of Calatafimi is a perfect place to go hiking, horseback-riding or mountain biking. The magnificent view from here goes from Mount Sparagio to Mount Inici, up to the wonderful Gulf of Castellammare. To admire the archaeological site we recommend to start from the temple, still intact, continue to the theatre of the 2nd century BC, along with the remains of a classical building and a Hellenistic bouleterion. A porch, a paved courtyard and Colonnade mark the access to what was once the Agora in Hellenistic and Roman times. Near the theatre are the remains of a village of the Muslim period and Norman and Swabian settlements, with a castle. In the Contrada Mango you can also visit the remains of a sanctuary dating back to the VI-V centuries BC.
A visit to the Polle del Crimiso is an excellent opportunity to take thermal baths without spending a euro, since the area is free and does not present dangers for those who decide to spend a day outdoors (for the night it is advisable to bring torches).
DURATION: 6 hours
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