Welcome to Paestum
Jesse's Journeys in Italy
Official site: n/a
Paestum is a set of
ruins about two hours south of Naples.
Though the site is not very large, or kept
up for that matter (when I visited in
1997), it is important because it shows
the Greek influence on the area.
not as spectacular as cites like
or Hurculaneum, the buildings that are
left do show everyday Greek architecture.
I especially noticed the similarities
between this site and the ruins at
Paestum does offer the visitor something
very important. Three restored Doric
temples. In fact, the best they are the
best preserved Greek ruins in Italy
outside of Sicily.
On a recent trip to
Greece I compared these Doric temples with
that of the nymph Aphania on
an noted remarkable similarities. In fact
they were nearly identical in construction.
The temples when I saw them were being
repaired. Having viewed recent pictures of
Paestum, the temples have been restored
and the site seems quite nice to visit.
Especially if you are in Italy and not
Though Paestum is not much now, it was
once an important stop on both Greek and
Roman trade routes. The city was very
prosperous and as a result had three doric
temples. However, the city met a tiny
set of conquerors, malaria carrying
mosquitoes. The Moquitoes caused a great
drop in the population, either killing
people or causing people to leave.
Marauding bandits also decimated the site,
leaving it deserted. This allowed Paestum
to be over grown by jungle. In fact, not
much is recognizable except for three
nicely preserved Doric style temples, most
importantly the Temple to Athena.