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Listed under Archaeological Sites in The Amalfi Coast, Italy.

  • Photo of Paestum
  • Photo of Paestum
  • Photo of Paestum
Photo of Paestum
Photo by flickr user phault
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For those among who you get a dig (eh? EH?) out of archaeology, Paestum is sure to be a hit. Originally a Greek colony on the Italian peninsula, the city was snapped up by Romans as they conquered the rest of Italy. An uneventful but prosperous period followed. The city's fortunes dipped along with those of the empire, and the city was abandoned in medieval times, possibly due to marshy conditions and malaria-carrying mosquitos. Of course, it's now desert-like, so go figure.

Anyway, the discovery of Herculaneum was the best thing that could have happened for the area. Renewed interest in Roman ruins brought this fascinating city to light, which retains three (intact) temples, as well as a forum and an amphitheater.

These temples are dedicated to Hera and Athena (Hera's got two, by the way. Guess they couldn't fit everyone into the first one). Like most buildings from the era, the roofs have fallen in, but the surrounding columns are still standing after 2,500 years and a week of fighting during World War Two. The temples are...well, they're huge. You can get up close but unfortunately not inside of them. Still, Wow. If you visit the amphitheater, you'll only be able to see a part of it, as a particularly stupid civil engineer decided to build a road over the rest (Don't worry, he received a prison sentence in exchange for his troubles).

Paestum is also known for it's tombs, many of which have been decorated with frescoes. The local national museum currently houses the paintings, and I strongly urge to go while you are there. Soak it up, this is some of the best stuff in Italy.

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Written by  Robert Evans.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Roman walls

This town is the only fully walled Roman town that I know about. Founded as the Greek town named Poseidonia in the 6th century, conquered by the Luccanians and changed to Paistom and then Romans and changed to Paestum. The best group of Greek temples anywhere. You are able to walk through the remains of Roman houses and mosaic house floors scattered in old excavation areas.Do not miss the museum.

The ruins of a nearly 3000 year old Greek colony, Paestum was eventually taken over by the Romans. Three Doric temples, the Temple of Hera, the Temple of Athena, and the Temple of Apollo, are beautifully preserved examples of why the small town is a World Heritage Site. The Roman Forum and Lucanian painted tombs also draw in visitors seeking some clues as to how our ancestors lived.

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