Paestum was founded in the 6th century BC by Greek settlers and fell under Roman control in 273 BC. The city was originally called Poseidonia (in honour of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea) but was eventually renamed by Romans who gave the city its current name.
The main features of the site today are the standing remains of three major temples in Doric style. A Unesco World Heritage site, these temples are among the best-preserved monuments of Magna Graecia, the Greek colony that once covered much of southern Italy. These were dedicated to Hera and Poseidon, although they have traditionally been identified as a basilica and temples of Neptune and Ceres, owing to a historical mis-attribution. The temples were rediscovered in the late 18th century, but the site as a whole wasn’t unearthed until as late as the 1950s.
The historical site features also a Roman forum, an amphitheater and an archaeological museum that houses a collection of fascinating façade decorations from the temples. The whole area is particularly stunning in the springtime when the temples appear surrounded by meadows of colourful wildflowers. Lacking the mobs of tourists there is a wonderful serenity about the place.
In the region of Paestum there are long sandy beaches that make it a perfect destination for an immersive experience. Combine history, the Italian cuisine and some leisure time at the sea and you will get a wonderful full-day trip of a lifetime.