Monuments and natural beauties...

  • Museo Nazionale, a national museums that keeps the finds and precious materials (funerary objects, pots, etc.) found in the territory, in the necropolis and in Hera Argiva sanctuary at the mouth of Sele River. The only example of a funerary painting is the Tomb of the Diver made in 490/480 b. C., the tomb is like a box and it’s painted with scenes portraying a symposium and a diver
    Remains of Hera Argiva Sanctuary, built around 600 b.C.
    Museo narrante di Hera Argiva. In this museum there the different interpretations of the sanctuary. The museum describes and tells everything about this place, using videos, three-dimensional reconstructions, sound effects and posters. The visitor makes a journey in the archaeological area where the finds were discovered without even leaving the museum
    Early Christian Basilica (SS. Annunziata Church), the most ancient Greek temple built at the half of VI century b.C., dedicated to Hera, that is Juno. The temple is made of 9 front columns and 18 side columns
    Poseidon or Nettuno temple, the most beautiful example of Greek architecture in Western Europe, it’s dedicated to Hera. It was built in V century b.C. and is made of 6 front columns and 14 side columns
    Cerere Temple, built at the end of VI century b.C. with 6 front columns and 13 side columns. The most typical element is the high frontispiece, the only one high in a Greek temple.
    Roman Amphitheatre, used by gladiators for their fights, built in the first half of the I century a.C.
    Hypogeum sacellum, built in the VI century b.C.: maybe it was a small Greek temple dedicated to goddesses of fertility and fecundity, or it could be a cenotaphic (a symbolic tomb, without the body). Inside many bronze pots have been found
    Heraion, a temple dedicated to Hera, a big Doric building with grooved columns
    Remains of a Thesaurus, a small ancient temple dedicated to Hera
    Madonna del Granato Cathedral, the cult of Our Lady is inspired by the pagan cult of Hera Argiva and it was built in XI century
    The Getsemani Church is very interesting, too. It’s a modern church with a polychrome dome. Inside there is the statue portraying Christ in prayer
    San Pietro Apostolo Church, with many frescoes
    Frati Minori Francescani Monastery, with a luminous and silent cloister linked to Sant’Antonio Church. There is a series of frescoes dedicated to Saint Anthony painted by Rubini in the second half of 1700
    Santa Rita Church
    Santa Maria Goretti Church
    Nostra Signora Divina Provvidenza Church
    San Vito Church


Paestum territory and the hills of Capaccio were already inhabited in the prehistoric time, in the Palaeolithic and Neolithic ages (Gaudo necropolis).

The ancient Posidonia took its name from the god of the sea, Poseidon. It was founded by Achaean people coming from Sibari in VII century b.C. They built a sanctuary dedicated to Hera Argiva, also a defensive strategy against Etrurians that lived on the other side of Picentino River and could be dangerous. Poseidonia was defended by strong walls, it was in a very good geographic position, near the main roads, the rivers and moreover the soil was really fertile. This is why it developed fast not only economically but also artistically and culturally. During these years there was the construction of three wonderful Doric temples (Basilica, Nettuno and Cerere). This Greek colony was actually very rich and Lucani wanted to conquer it and they occupied the territory around 400 b.C. calling it Paistom. They clashed against the Greeks of Italy, confederated under the leadership of Alessandro il Molosso, the uncle of Alessandro Magno, that defeated them in the battle of Poseidonia in 332 b.C. But then Lucani defeated the Greeks in the battle of Pandosia in 326 b.C., when Alessandro died.

In 273 b.C. this area returned to life with the Latin name of Paestum: the Roman Senate considered this town very important, because it had helped Rome against Hannibal providing food and raw materials. Romans built many new buildings, for example the portico of the forum, the thermal baths, the Amphitheatre and the so-called temple of the Peace. This town was very prosperous during Roman empire. When Rome started to look towards East, Paestum started a period of decadence. Only a few people remained to live there, around the Temple of Cerere. Other groups of inhabitants went to live on the near hill to escape from malarial fever and Saracen invasions.

So, a town was formed on the hill, during Middle Ages, between IX and XIII century. This town had a commercial and strategic role during the reign of Federico II. Its name was Caput Aquis, because it was over the springs of Copodifiume, where today Capaccio Vecchio is. It was conquered by Federico II di Svevia. Pope Innocenzo IV, that feared the expansion of Frederick, invited the noblemen of the most important and developed towns to rebel against him and then excommunicated him.

The feudatories of Capaccio and of the surrounding towns (Sant’Angelo a Fasanella, Teggiano, Sala Consilina) were free from the bond of fidelity to the emperor and organised a conspiracy against him. The emperor attacked the town conquering it in 1246 and killing all the leaders of the conspiracy. At his death, Capaccio was ruled by Angevins and Aragons. In this period many groups of inhabitants went to live in the ancient abandoned hamlets, such as San Pietro, today Monticello. Capaccio (the new one) became in the following centuries a prosperous town that prices, dukes wanted to have.

The beauty and the value of Paestum was discovered again in the first half of 1700 when writers and artists, like Goethe, Shelley, Canova and Piranesi went in this area during the famous “Grand Tour” and with their works made it famous all over Europe.




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