The Three Temples of Paestum

Paestum is located about 45 minutes south of Naples just off the A3 highway. It was a Greek colony of the Sibans before a war with the Romans in 273 B.C. turned it into a Latin colony. There are three main temples in the ruins of Paestum. They are Temple of Neptune, Temple of Ceres and the Temple of Athena.

Standing out on the site are three massive temples and each seems almost complete from a distance. The main temple dedicated to Neptune is coloured in deep copper earth tones and the other two are almost whitewash in colour; these are the only whole structures in the entire site, but the completeness of each one is quite impressive. Even up close when you realize that the interiors are no longer functional and the majority of the temples are now comprised only of the basic pieces such as the massive columns, the capital, the very top portion of a column, the arcatrave and pediment you still get a great sense of what they may have been like when they were just built.

You cannot enter any of the temples because they are surrounded by small wooden fences. You can get within 25 feet or so from each one, so close up photography or sketching is still possible. There are large living quarters, spread out over about half an acre which are no longer visible except for the remaining stone walls which reach knee height. One section in the middle of the site has a few larger walls and a single staircase but other than that there is little to assist in piecing together the entire colony in your mind’s eye.

As you explore the site you must take the time to go on the edges of the fenced area; there you can find the amphitheatre which seems about 20% complete. You can also see several randomly placed columns that may have been entrances to some older buildings. If you want to see the real artefacts from Paestum you will need to visit the museum which is just across the street from the site. Inside you can see the detailed decorations that covered the facade of the temples as well as some excellent examples of ancient Greek and Roman artefacts.

While you are holidaying in Italy and are keen to explore the ancient architecture of the place, it is suggested that you visit Paestum, which is just about a 45 minute drive from the south of Naples. It is a good idea to hire a car to reach there as it gives you the freedom to explore a little bit of the place en route to Paestum. Car hire in Italy can be a piece of cake with lot of online car rentals. There are many car rentals like Car Rental Italy that offer car rentals at pocket friendly prices. You can get customized car hire packages to suit your need. They offer attractive packages for chauffeured or self-driven cars on hire to travel within Italy and explore the place completely.

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