The time I climbed a Greek Temple (and didn’t get caught)

selinunte, selinunte sicily, selinunte temple

The Arrow is the highest I was able to get – photo courtesy of sunnycar.it

One of the things I love about Sicily is that it’s nowhere near as packed as the other major tourist attractions in Sicily.  I was able to see the entire island over the course of a year just travelling on weekends.  By actually living overseas I am able to see more things and save money at the same time.  I was able to find a great apartment when I was living in Sicily and while located in Catania, the east end of the Island, it only takes a few hours to drive from one side of the island to the other.

Since Sicily is nowhere near as popular as northern Italy, many times places are left baron and unattended.  I wasn’t just able to see one of the largest Greek temples in Selinunte, I was able to climb it!  The ancient Greek city of Selinunte is located in the Southwest coast of Sicily.  Once you enter the site there is a huge walk to get to the temple.  It’s actually a city, much like Pompei, but not in good condition.  From the picture above you can see the remnants of three different temples and on the other hillside is the actual city with the classic fortification wall around it.

I have a really bad habit of climbing on things, partly because I think its fun and partly because everyone likes to bend the rules.  How many times can you say you climbed a Greek Temple.  Temple E (the main temple at this site) is reconstructed.  I wouldn’t dare try to climb a temple that hasn’t been reconstructed because I don’t have the bank roll to fund an ancient Greek reconstruction project.  There are rumors that they plan to reconstruct the other two temples which are absolutely massive.  One you climb on to the pillars of the rubble you can see the size is as big as a common one bedroom apartment.

It was truly larger than life

I endured plenty of scratches and knee burn since it wasn’t that easy to climb up.  I’m also happy that I didn’t have people join me, 5-10 people on top of the temple would have certainly brought the attention of the police or better yet the mafia, whoever was getting the paid at that point.  I would try my luck with the mafia rather than the police.  It was a fun experience and I was able to sit up at the top and admire the view of the cliff side.  I seemed like an eternity when I was up there and I can say this is one of the most unique experiences I have ever had.  Sometimes you have to avoid all the rules and just go with it.

While this has gotten me into a lot of trouble in the past, the irreplaceable experiences that I have had are more than worth it.  Check out our top 5 section for things to do in Sicily and more things to do around the world.


  1. hey Kyle thanks for the comment… I climbed the bull on Wall Street too… i wasn't as fortunate with the “i didn't get caught that time” lol. I had to run away from the cops

  2. That's quite impressive. With a habit of climbing things, you're quite lucky if you've yet to spend a night in jail as a result!

  3. Hey Francis thanks for the comment! there is one time that i can remember when i got caught.. that was in New York City when I decided to jump on the wall street bull. that was not fun running in freezing weather.. lol. I will be heading to asia soon though!

  4. Wow, that’s an awesome photo – almost looks like it was taken by someone in a helicopter!
    I have that habit too – the irresistible urge to climb on EVERYTHING, with special preference given to Incredibly Ancient Monuments. It’s all good, until you get caught – or fall off…
    Here’s a pic of me in Jordan, in the ruins of the Roman city of Jerash – the crowds below had no idea  luckily – and nor did their tour guide… :0)

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