Paestum is the name of an archaeological site located in the district of Capaccio-Paestum, Campania, southern Italy, formerly called Poseidonia, the name of a city of Great Greece. There are three Greek Doric temples and a museum, making part of the National Park of Cilento and Diano Valley. They say the Greek city was built in the late seventh century BC by the Greek Sybaris (now Calabria). The city changed hands through the centuries and was abandoned in the eleventh century (due of malaria) and the inhabitants founded the city of Capaccio a little further from there. There are important monuments of Greek and Roman times; other the three temples, there is also a small Roman amphitheater and a small funerary temple. The city walls (4.7 km long) are well preserved and there are four Roman gates. You can see the first temple of Hera (Zeus’ wife) or Basilica (called like that because it seemed rather a public meeting room that a religious building). The temple measuring 24.35 m x 54m, has 9 columns on the front and 18 on the sides, with a vegetable decoration neck capitals, with leaves, rosettes and lotus flowers. The second temple of Hera or Poseidon is preserved quite well and seems to have been inspired by the temple of Zeus at Olympia. The presence of two neighboring temples to the same deity, however, remains inexplicable. The third temple of Athena or Ceres is smaller than the others and there were three medieval graves in the basement that suggest they converted the temple into a Christian church. The museum has an extensive collection of Greek antiquities of southern Italy, funerary objects, many vases, jars, weapons and frescoes from the discoveries made in the Greek and Lucanian necropolis around Paestum.
If it’s a hot day do not forget to bring a bottle of water, sunglasses and comfortable shoes.
You can stay close to the site, there are several hotels and you can simultaneously enjoy to travel the region and visit the beautiful beaches nearby. It is an area with lots of interesting places to see. Ideally, rent a car and discover the region: Salerno, Amalfi, Positano, Naples, Pompeii, Agropoli, Capri and many other beautiful places wait for you.
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