Ancient town of the Magna Grecia,
near Salerno, it was probably founded, around 650 b.C., by a large
group of Dorians who had been expelled from the city of Sybaris. The
Dorians named their new colony Poseidonia, later called Paistom by
Lucanians, local barbarians.
In 273 b.C., the Romans arrived who
changed the city's name, Paestum. Now it is one of the most
famous archaeological sites almost entirely composed within the
enclosing walls of the antique Greek colony with four big gates.
Inside the town there are the Temple of Hera, dating back to
550 b.C., with nine columns on the short sides and eighteen on the
long ones and remains of the decoration of the architrave; the
Temple of Poseidon, built in 450 b.C., imposing and harmonious,
formed by a base with three steps on which stand six columns on the
short sides and fourteen on the long ones.
The columns are all nine meters
high and are united, on top, by an architrave supporting a sloping
roof ending both on the front and in the back with two pediments;
the Temple of Cerere of 500 b.C., with six columns on the
short sides and thirteen on the long ones. Other important
architectural remains are: the Forum, some urban quarters, and
largely the remains of religious buildings from which come many
metopes, now kept at the Museum of Paestum.
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