:. Intro
:. Castelcivita grottoes
:. Castellabate

:. Medieval center

:. Santa Maria

:. San Marco

:. Licosa Island
:. Paestum
:. Padula Charterhouse
:. Palinuro
:. Velia
:. Typical food products
:. Diving in Cilento
:. Public transportation
:. Maps
:. Email us

Paestum, one of the most important archeological centres of Italy, is an ancient Greek, and later Roman city. The original Greek name was Poseidonia, the Greek god of the sea; Paestum is the Roman name of the city. Only a fraction of the original extension of the city has been excavated, around the ancient city centre with the temples and public buildings. Paestum is famous for its Greek temples, generally recognised as being the best preserved doric temples in the world, even better preserved than the ones in Greece.

Poseidonia was found around 600 B.C., a few miles south of River Sele that formed the borderline between Greek and Etruscan domination. Poseidonia was first conquered by the Lucanians around 390 B.C. and then became a Latin colony with the name Paestum in 273 B.C. The Lucanians didn't change Poseidonia but the Romans did profoundly, but the most visible examples of ancient architecture, the Greek temples, have survived.

Paestum's Temple of Hera – also called of Poseidon or of Neptune (the god of the sea for the Romans) – is one of the oldest, best preserved and most beautiful Doric temple in existence today. The temple will astonish every visitor who gets close to its columns: its harmonic and perfect balance creates both a strength and elegant impression making this temple a unique model of Doric architecture. The Basilica of Hera, next to the Temple of Poseidon, and the Temple of Ceres, on the southern end of the site, are two other wonderful examples of Greek Doric architecture

Finds of pottery, glassware and amphorae from Magna Graecia (Greek occupied Italy), from Greece itself and even from Egypt shows that Poseidonia had commercial relations throughout the Greek world. Interestingly, Poseidonia struck its own coins from about 550 BC, often showing Poseidon with the trident raised. We suggest a visit to the Paestum Museum, near the temples. Its collection includes materials from the Greek period up to the Roman times; IV century BC painted tombs and the famous diver's tomb (“Tomba del Tuffatore”) dating back to the V century BC. This is the only fifth century BC painted tomb found in Paestum, one of the very few examples of archaic and classic Greek painting, where the diver symbolises the passing from life to death.

2009 © Copyright Domus Cilento