Museum of Paestum
Favorite thing: The museum near the ruins houses a magnificent collection of frescoes recovered from burial tombs, that also attest how the greek culture of the city was influenced by the Etruscan beliefs. It also houses the finds from the site of Paestum. If you want the audioguide for the visit of the ruins, you should also go to the museum.
Ruins of Poseidonia
Favorite thing: The town of Poseidonia (later Paestum) was founded by greek colons around 600 BC. It was part of Magna Graecia, the name given to the greek colonies in southern Italy and Sicily, that prospered for a long time. Renamed Paestum at the time of roman conquest in 273 BC, it was an important port.
It was abandoned in early middle ages, thanks to the combination of loss of population with the wars within the roman empire, epidemies of malaria and Saracens invasions.
Fondest memory: Rediscovered by chance in the end of 18th century, its temples still standing in a beautiful scenery.
Campania Arte Card
Favorite thing: The Campania Arte Card is a great way to explore Campania's many attractions and archaeological sites. Here's what you need to know in order to take advantage of this deal:
Anyone can use the full-price Arte Card. The reduced-rate card for those 18-25 can only be purchased by people residing in EU countries or countries with a reciprocal agreement with Italy. This does not include American and Canadian citizens. For childen, it is less expensive to simply pay the reduced children's rate at the site entrance.
The three-day card includes free admission to the first two sites and half price admission to any others, plus transportation. You can travel on the local transportation system (Circumvesuviana train, local busses, one return trip on the Metro del Mare's Line 1 and one trip on the airport bus). The three-day card costs EUR 25 for adults or EUR 18 for those 18-25 (see above).
The seven-day card includes free admission to all the sites for a week, but no transportation. It costs EUR 28 for adults and EUR 21 for those 18-25 (see above). If you're moving to the area, a year-round card is also available.
The card is available for purchase at the entrance to the sites, usually in the bookstore or information center. Once you buy the card, write your name and the date on the back and go to the ticket window, where they will activate your card.
You can enter each site only once using the card. No repeat vists are allowed.
Popular sites include Pompeii, Herculaneum, Paestum and it's museum, and the Naples Archaeological Museum. Included are also a variety of discounts on local services and tourist attractions.
In Paestum, you will receive access to the site and museum, as well as discounts at the bookshop. The card also offers holders a discount on guided night tours of the site.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: The road alongside the site is closed to traffic and is lined with shops and cafes where you can buy souvenirs, postcards and snacks. Just to the side of the museum is a little square with an excellent pizzeria, the church and the local tourist office.
Fondest memory: Unfortunately I did not actually go into the Pizzeria but I did get a taste. We were supposed to be on a half day trip but it would obvioulsy be well past luch time by the time we got back to base. A couple in our group bought two big pizzas to eat on the coach on the way back ...but the coach driver would not allow food to be eaten on his coach and he was waiting to leave ...hence the pizza was quickly shared out..and it was delicious, after all this is the home of the Pizza Margherita,.....but eaten too quick for a pic!
Decline and Re-discovery
Favorite thing: The city declined due to swamps taking over and destroying the arable land around. The natural springs around were highly calciferous and the towns drainage channels became clogged with calcium deposits eventually turning the city into a swamp.
Malaria became a big problem and killed many, the city was eventually abandoned.
Knowledge of the temples was not lost but interest was only re-kindled in the 1800's when Pompei was discovered. The unhealthy environment discouraged visitors and it was not until the 20th century that proper excavations began.
I'm glad they did this is such an amazing site.
Favorite thing: Approx fifty-five miles (ninety kilometers) south of Naples, Italy, lies the ancient city of Paestum - the finest preserved Greek temple complex in the Mediterranean world.
Fondest memory: The day before we had rushed around hot and dusty Pompei for two hours, knowing we would not see everything, yet still feeling frustated at that fact when it was realised.
Paestum was such a contrast. One of the most important archaelogical sites yet we had time to have a great guide explaining things to us, whilst standing in the shade of the surrounding pine trees and then been able to explore the temples and ruins at our leisure. We even had a cool breeze to keep the heat bearable :-)) Amazingly the crowds of tourists do not seem to know of this place so it can be visited in relative peace.
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: After exploring the archaelogical site we enjoyed a look inside the museum - not in the least because it was air conditioned too.
Many artifacts from the temples are displayed in the many airy rooms and are well worth a look. The entrance fee of 6.50 euros (2003) also covers the entrance to the museum so hold onto your ticket.
Favorite thing: Although there are roman remains on the complex the 3 greek temples are the main attraction - more details in the must see section.
Fondest memory: My lasting impression is the optical illusion of the shape of vvases in the spaces between the columns - this one is the temple of Poseidon
Foundation and History of Paestum
Favorite thing: Poseidonia was founded around 600 BC the northernmost Greek settlement in Italy, just 8 km from the River Sele.
The Greek period in Poseidonia lasted from the foundation around 400 BC. Then Poseidonia was conquered by one of the indigenous samnite peoples, the Lucanians, that hitherto had lived in the mountainous areas further inland. The city remained virtually unchanged until the Roman period when the name also changed to Paestum in 273 BC.
The names of the City
Favorite thing: Paestum is the Roman name of the city. The original Greek name was Poseidonia.
Poseidonia means the city was dedicated to Poseidon (Neptune), and Poseidon regularly appears on coins issued by the city, but no temple or sanctuary dedicated to Poseidon has been found.
Only a fraction of the original extension of the city has been excavated, just around the ancient city centre with the temples and public buildings. The major parts of the area is privately owned and thus cannot be examined - perhaps the temple to Poseidon is located in here?
Favorite thing: The airy museum has wide windows so you can see the wonderful scenery outside too. Tjis was just one of the views we enjyed of the surrounding hills.
Favorite thing: The River Sele, 8km from Paestum, formed the borderline between Greek and Etruscan domination. It also probably helped the spread of malaria into the city - hence Paestum means pestilence.