History

The ancient city of Paestum preserves ruins of Greek and Roman times and three very well preserved Doric temples . Paestum is one of the most important archaeological sites in Italy and was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1998.

Greeks from Sybaris founded Paestum around 600 BC and Troezen with the name of Poseidonia and it presents the urban space divided into sacred, public and private areas. The central area of the city was designated for public use and during the Greek period was occupied by the agorà. In the North was located the sanctuary of Athena (ca 500 BC) known as the temple of Ceres. Instead, the so-called “Basilica” (ca 550 BC, it was the earliest of three temples) and the temple of Neptune (ca 480-450 BC) was placed in the South . At the end of the 5th century BC, Poseidonia came under the control of the Lucani, a population of Samnite origins, who replaced the Greeks in the government of the city. The conquest of Lucani did not introduce changes in the organization of urban cities, only the defensive walls were built.

In 273 BC, the city became a Roman colony and took the name of Paestum. The most important transformation of this period involves the organization of the urban space: the Forum was built and the main Greek public monuments (agorà, ekklesiasterion and heroon) were eliminated. The city was then abandoned during the Middle Ages and the archaeological area remained submerged under marshes and brushwood for a long time. With the rediscovery of the temples in the 18th century, Paestum came into knowledge again. Systematic archaeological investigations started at the beginning of the last century and they are still on going.