Paestum, the Magna Grecia in Italy
"Finally, uncertain, if we were walking over rocks or ruins, we could recognize some boulders oblong and square, we had already noticed them from a distance, like surviving temples and memories of a once magnificent city." Goethe describes in this way the remains of the ancient city of Paestum in his "Journey to Italy" in 1787.This guide will take you on a journey through the history of one of the richest and most flourishing cities of the Salerno coast. In these places, inhabited since prehistoric times we will discover how the Greeks, Lucanians and Romans constructed great monuments, admired even when the city although abandoned inspired European travelers of the Grand Tour.The site history has its roots in prehistoric times. Nevertheless, the city's origins date back to the beginning of the VI century BC, when Greeks from Sybaris decided to establish the colony of Poseidon named in honor of the sea god Poseidon. The city's location was strategic: in the Sele Valley in the middle of the intersection of trade routes between the Ionian basin in the south and the Italic regions in the north.The Greek city was built on a flat limestone raised above the surrounding plain. It reached its greatest splendor between 560 and 440 BC, the period in which the so-called Basilica, the Temple of Athena and the Temple of Neptune were built.The ancient city extended for about 120 hectares, enclosed by the walls that develop for approximately 5 km. Today you can admire only a few hectares corresponding to the central area of the city.The urban layout of the city, since its birth, was divided into a large central area dedicated to: urban sanctuaries, the agora, the central square of the Greek city, and a residential area to the west.From 420 BC and 410 BC, the Lucanians conquered the city, changing the name in Paistom or Paistos.The name Paestum dates back to roman times, during which the so-called "Temple of Peace", probably the Capitolium, the Fortuna Virilis sanctuary and the amphitheater were built.The city became unlivable because of continuous swamping caused by the river Salso, identified with 'Capodifiume'. It was definitively abandoned in the 9th century AD.We begin our journey wishing you a good visit.The entrance to the archaeological site of Paestum is located in the northern sanctuary where on the right, in the north, one can admire the temple of Athena.
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