Paestum was a major ancient Greek city on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Magna Graecia (southern Italy). The ruins of Paestum are famous for their three ancient Greek temples in the Doric order, dating from about 550 to 450 BC, which are in an excellent state of preservation. The city walls and amphitheatre are largely intact, and the bottom of the walls of many other structures remain, as well as paved roads. The site is open to the public, and there is a modern national museum within it, which also contains the finds from the associated Greek site of Foce del Sele.

Today the remains of the city are found in the modern frazione of Paestum, which is part of the comune of Capaccio Paestum in the Province of Salerno in the region of Campania, Italy. The modern settlement, directly to the south of the archaeological site, is a popular seaside resort with long sandy beaches. The Paestum railway station on the Naples-Salerno-Reggio Calabria railway line is directly to the east of the ancient city walls.

Ancient ruins and features

Much of the most celebrated features of the site today are the three large temples in the Archaic version of the Greek Doric order. All are typical of the period, with massive colonnades having a very pronounced entasis (widening as they go down), and very wide capitals resembling upturned mushrooms. Above the columns, only the second Temple of Hera retains most of its entablature, the other two having only the architrave in place. 

The first Temple of Hera, built around 550 BC by the Greek colonists, is the oldest surviving temple in Paestum and the one farthest south. 

The second Temple of Hera was built around 460–450 BC, just north of the first Hera Temple. It was once mistakenly thought to be dedicated to Poseidon.

On the highest point of the town, some way from the Hera Temples and north of the center of the ancient settlement, is the Temple of Athena. It was built around 500 BC. The architecture is transitional, being mainly built in early Doric style and partially Ionic. Three medieval Christian tombs in the floor show that the temple was at one time used as a Christian church.

In the central part of the complex is the Roman Forum, thought to have been built on the site of the preceding Greek agora. On the north side of the forum is a small Roman temple, dated to 200 BC. It was dedicated to the Capitoline Triad, Jupiter, Juno and Minerva.

To the north-east of the forum is the amphitheater. This is of normal Roman pattern, although much smaller than later examples. Only the western half is visible.

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