Greek Places in Italy

Where to See Greek Temples, Sites and Towns

Southern Italy has well-preserved Greek temples, archeological sites from the days of ancient Greece, and even towns where a Greek dialect is still spoken. Magna Grecia is the areas of southern Italy and Sicily that were settled by Greeks starting in the 8th century BC and several important Greek colonies developed. Today remains of several of them can be visited.

Here are top Greek places to visit in Italy.

  • 01 of 06
    ••• Marco Simoni/Getty Images

    The Valley of the Temples, or Valle dei Templi, Archeological Park is a large sacred area where monumental Greek temples were erected in the fourth and fifth centuries BC. They are some of the largest and best preserved Greek temples outside of Greece. A small museum houses finds from the park. The park is outside the town of Agrigento in southeastern Sicily. Buses connect the archeological park with the town and there's a large parking lot with a tourist information office near the entrance. The Valley of Temples is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

  • 02 of 06
    metaponto greek temple photo
    ••• Greek Temple at Metaponto. by Martha Bakerjian

    Metaponto was a large Greek settlement near the Ionian coast in what is now the Basilicata region. In addition to the temple, there's an archaeological park with a Greek theater and remains of several other temples and a necropolis. The archaeological museum in town holds many finds from the area also.

  • 03 of 06
    ••• Walter Zerla/Getty Images

    Paestum is the northern point of Magna Grecia, or Greater Greece, and has three of Italy's most complete Doric temples. There is also a small museum at the site. Just south of Salento and the Amalfi Coast, Paestum can be visited by train or bus. Also nearby are the excavations of the ancient Greek town of Velia. Together with the National Park of Cilento and Valle di Diano, this area is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

  • 04 of 06

    Neapolis and Ortygia in Syracuse, Sicily

    ••• Gonzalo Azumendi/Getty Images

    Syracuse or Siracusa wad founded in 734 BC and became Sicily's most important ancient Greek colony. Remains of the ancient Greek city can be seen at the Archaeological Zone of Neapolis and on the island of Ortygia and include Sicily's largest Greek theater, a Greek military installation, temple remains, and the base of the Altar of Hieron II, once the largest altar in Magna Grecia.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06
    The Greek theatre (Teatro Greco) and Mount Etna, Taormina, Sicily
    ••• Frans Sellies / Getty Images

    Taormina is a popular resort town in eastern Sicily. Perched on a hill overlooking the sea, the town offers fantastic views of the coast and Mt. Etna volcano as well as good hiking paths and beaches below it. It's also the site of a well-preserved 3rd century BC Greek theater, with excellent views and acoustics, that's now used for summer performances. There's also an archaeological museum that houses Greek and Roman artifacts.

  • 06 of 06

    Grecia Salentina, Greek Towns in Puglia

    salento photos, martano photo
    ••• Grecia Salentina Town of Martano. © by Martha Bakerjian, licensed to About.com

    Grecia Salentina is a part of the Salento Peninsula south of Lecce in the Puglia region, the heel of the boot. It's made up of eleven towns that were settled by an ethnic Greek minority group. These towns still reflect their Greek heritage and in most of them a Greek dialect is still spoken and taught in schools. Signs are posted in both Italian and Greek (and some also in English). Most of the towns have interesting historic centers and some even have a castle.