Founded by the ancient Greek in the 6th century a.C., it’s one of the most important archaeological areas in Italy. Among the monuments of the ancient Greece you can admire one of the most well preserved wonders of the ancient Greece and Roman culture in the world. Paestum is a city of the ancient Greece , whose ruins make one of the most important archealogical areas in Europe, acknowledged as Humanity Heritage of UNESCO since 1988. It is situated in Campania, in the town of Capaccio-Paestum, in the district of Salerno and it is 40 kilometres far from this city (92 from Naples).
It is a town on the sea, in Salerno gulf. From Paestum you can easily go to Capri, the Amalfi Coast, Pompei, Napoli.
The city was founded at the beginning of the VII century b. C. from Greek colonists coming from Sybaris. They gave it the name of Poseidonia. Huge temples, built between the VI and the V century b.C. and whose ruins are well kept till nowadays, made the wealth of the city.
In 400 b. C. Lucani, Italic people whose origin came from the Sabellico, conquered the city and called it Paistom. In 273 b. C., because the city supported the loser, Pirro, in a war against Rome, it became a Roman colony with Latin rights and was called Paestum.
The city was always controlled by Romans, but its decline began between the IV and the VII century, maybe because some changes in the drainage brought the ground to become a marsh and because at the same time the malaria arrived in Europe. After the destroying by the Saracens in the IX century and by the Normans in the XI, the place was abandoned. During the Middle Ages, the inhabitants transmigrated to hinterland and founded Capaccio.
Points of interests
Particular importance is given to the three temples: two of them are in Doric style and the third is in Doric and Ionic and are some of the best examples we have in these styles.
The first is called Hera Temple and is the basilica (540 b.); it was one of the biggest Greek temples built with stone. It is the most ancient and we can see it because it has 9 columns on the shorter sides.
Atena Temple (500 b. C.) was previously famous as Cerere Temple and it is smaller.
The third temple, called Poseidone but still consecrated to Era, shows the old lines of the Zeus Temple in Olimpia.
Heraion Temple, situated at the mouth of Sele river outside the walls of the town, is a sanctuary consecrated to Era again.
There also is a small amphiteatre, place where people used to meet each other, called Comitium and some more public buildings from Roman period. The city walls (4,75 km) are well kept in time and it is easy to recognise the two different styles: Lucan and Roman. The four doors are, in fact, Roman.
Paestum is also a sea place; it has a nice sandy beach, 15 km long. Surrounded by a luxuriant pine-forest, it is situated on Tirreno Sea.
The museum shows an important collection of Greek ancient things found in the Southern Italy, in particular in Paestum and its surroundings. You can find pieces of funeral kits like jars, paintings and weapons.The most important paintings are the ones coming from “Tomba del Tuffatore” (480-470 b.c.) the only exemplar of Greek painting in classical age and Magna Grecia. They describe the transaction from life to death as a jump of the diver into the water. After the XI century, Paestum was completely forgotten and was discovered again in the XVII century, almost at the same time as the Roman cities Pompeii and Herculaneum