PAES­TUM

The his­tory of a pearl of Magna Gre­cia

Where Naples Coast & Islands - - Museums & Attractions -

A UNESCO World Her­itage Site, Paes­tum is one of Magna Gre­cia’s must- visit cities be­cause, in the space of just one day, it al­lows you to take in both ar­chae­o­log­i­cal trea­sures and won­der­ful land­scapes. Founded in the Sev­enth cen­tury B. C. by a group of Greek colonists from Sibari as “Po­sei­do­nia”, from Po­sei­don ( Nep­tune), god of the sea, to whom it was ded­i­cated, be­tween 400 and 273 B. C. it was con­quered by the “Lu­cani”, a na­tive Ital­ian peo­ple and later re­vived un­der Ro­man rule when it was named Paes­tum. Malaria led the prim­i­tive colonists to move the in­hab­ited cen­tre to the banks of an­other river, the Salso. The mar­itime and flu­vial port of the city grew up from the prim­i­tive set­tle­ment on the River Sele, € 7 ( Mu­seum); € 6 Ex­ca­va­tion host­ing the tem­ple of Hera Free ad­mis­sion for peo­ple un­der the

age of 18 and over the age of 65 Ar­giva which soon be­came one of the largest and most ven­er­ated sanc­tu­ar­ies in an­cient Italy. The fall of the Ro­man Em­pire co­in­cided with the end of the city. In fact, to­ward 500 A. D., re­cur­rent bouts of Malaria and Sara­cen raids re­sulted in its grad­u­ally be­ing aban­doned by its in­hab­i­tants. The re­dis­cov­ery of Paes­tum dates back to 1762, fol­low­ing the con­struc­tion of a mod­ern road which still runs through it today. Paes­tum still re­tains sev­eral grandiose Doric tem­ples in­clud­ing the so- called “Basil­ica”, the tem­ple of “Nep­tune” ( con­sid­ered one of the most beau­ti­ful Doric tem­ples in the world) and the tem­ple of “Ceres”. Other high­lights in­clude the mag­nif­i­cent “Tomba del tuffa­tore” ( Tomb of the Diver), an ex­tremely rare ex­am­ple of a fres­coed Greek tomb, housed in the Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Mu­seum.

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