Hidden in the valley of the River Antas, in the mountains of Sardinia’s southwest Sulcis Iglesiente, you’ll find the spectacular ‘Temple of Antas’.
This ancient temple was built by the Romans under Emperor Augustus in 27 BC on top of a previous Punic temple dating from around 300 BC.
The site however was already used as a place of worship, during Neolithic times, when the Nuragic civilisation dominated Sardinia.
The ancient Sardinians are believed to have worshipped a local god named Sardus Pater, meaning ‘Sardinian Father’. This god was a mythological hero of the Nuragic Sardinians.
During archaeological digs of Nuragic well-tombs on the site, a small bronze statue was recovered believed to depict Sardus Pater. The statue represented a naked male deity holding a spear with his left hand, while raising his right hand in a blessing sign.
This statue also matches the descriptions of the Carthagian warrior god Sid Addir, who the original Punic temple was built for, meaning that both gods were one in the same.
In Roman mythology Sardus was the son of Hercules. Legends state that he left his home in Libya along with a great multitude of men and occupied the island of Sardinia. In turn, the island was then named after him.
The Roman ruins were discovered in 1836 by Italian general Alberto La Marmora. The temple was then rebuilt to its current state in 1967.
The temple ruins are spectacular, but so too are the surrounding views of the hilly countryside. It can be relatively hard to find, but is well worth a visit.
If you enjoy a bit of trekking, in the hills around the temple you can find a small necropolis, the remnants of an ancient Nuragic village from around 1300 BC, a Roman limestone quarry, and an ancient path connecting the temple to a sacred cave where the ‘water cult’ was practised.
How can I get there?
From Cagliari take the SS 130 road to Iglesias, then the SS 126 to Fluminimaggiore to road marker ‘km 54.100’. Here you’ll find a small asphalted road on the right that leads 1.5 km to the temple’s main parking area.
When can I go?
The temple can be visited 7 days a week from 9:30 – 19:30 from July to September. Outside of these months the temple is open from 9:30 to 16:30/17:30.
How much does it cost?
A full ticket is € 4 for adults.
The reduced rate of € 3.00 is for children from 6 to 12 years old. This price is also valid for groups of over 30 people.
A ‘cumulative ticket’, offering a visit to the Temple of Antas and the Ethnographic Museum in the nearby town of Fluminimaggiore, costs €5.
You can book guided tours, but you have to book them in advance. Booklets provide information in English, German, French and Italian. You can also rent an digital audio guide for an extra €2.