About two hours south of Sorrento lies the best of ancient Greece, truly, in Italy. Paestum is much more than just one of the average archaeological sites which dot the Italian landscape. It’s a sixty-two acre parcel with three of the best preserved ancient Greek temples, in or out of Greece.
While the Romans gave arches to architecture, the Greeks gave us columns and Paestum’s Doric temples are on a grand scale. Just picture it, the ancient philosophers theosophizing inside the Second Temple of Hera, while mothers and children walked just steps away to the agora, the market, or amphitheater.
It’s easy to ignore Paestum which seems to lie off the beaten path in the province of Salerno. Yet, as you approach the 2,500 year old site, the air takes on a quiet reverence. There are no large tour buses on the horizon and in the off-season you can explore the site for hours with nary a soul to disturb your ancient fantasy.
Paestum sits quietly at the edge of the modern-day seaside resort and evidence of its modern inhabitants is ever-present, as homes and small cafes and gift shops border the site just a whisper away. Imagine the temples of Paestum in your own living room window.