Walk Description

Skirting a coastal plain in the southern Campanian region of the Cilento, the archaeological site of Paestum is a testament to the ancient Greek influence over southern Italy. This period of mass migration, starting in the 8th century B.C., earned this part of the country the name “Magna Graecia” and infused Greek ideals, beliefs and practices to those of the native Italian tribes. The city of Paestum, originally dubbed “Poseidonia” by the Greek settlers, attests to the artistic and engineering prowess of the colonists- most visible in three majestic temples that celebrate the Olympian gods and goddesses. These temples will be the focal point of our exploration of this enigmatic city.

Our day will begin at the train station in Naples where you will meet your docent, usually an archaeologist or classical historian, and head out to Paestum by local train. During the ride, we will discuss the origins, growth and decline of the city, which was all but abandoned after the fall of the Roman Empire in the West, and set up a socio-historical context that will help us better understand our surroundings later on in the day.

Upon reaching the site, we will spend roughly three hours exploring the grounds and discussing the fabric of the ancient city, which includes a forum, a Basilica and intact city walls. The imposing temples, which dominate the horizontal landscape, are classic examples of Greek order and balance. The group will then spend some time in the museum, where immaculately preserved tomb paintings (such as “the Diver”), votive offerings and funerary furnishings speak to the religious views of the populace.

In comparison to the more highly-visited archaeological sites of Campania, Paestum offers a reflective respite from the crowds and a more intense appreciation of an ancient culture whose artistic endeavors speak to the enduring power of the spirit.

Duration: 5 hours
Category: Archaeology
Venues: Paestum Archaeological Site
Incidentals: Entry Tickets- €16.90
  • Marialaura_thumb

    Maria Laura Chiacchio

    Marialaura holds a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Naples and a master's in museology from the Ecole du Louvre in Paris. She is a native of Naples and speaks four languages fluently (Italian, English, French and German). Her specialty is 17th and 18th century art, but she is also an expert in the 19th century excavations of Pompeii and the archaeological museum of Naples. She divides her time between Paris and Naples.

  • Fiorella_pic_thumb

    Fiorella Squillante

    Fiorella Squillante holds a laurea (Bachelor's degree) in modern languages and is a specialist in art history and Neapolitan culture and art.
    She works with the main museums of Naples as a member of the educational section. She also works closely with Friends of Museums from abroad.
    Fiorella is the president of the cultural association "Fine Arts", which organizes private viewings and themed routes in Naples and Campania, cocktails and visits to stately homes and private collections. She writes about Naples and Campania for a popular guide book and is the author of a guide to Neapolitan art and architecture called "Napels in 3 days".

  • Ich_und_leah_cropped_1500_x_1473_thumb

    Iris Mueller

    Iris Mueller is a native of Germany. She has lived extensively in the U.S., where she received her Ph.D. in history from Yale University. Back in Europe since 2002, she studied Latin at the Universita' Gregoriana in Rome and, in 2003, moved to the Naples/Salerno area. Besides leading itineraries, she is working on Medieval manuscripts at the Naples National Library.

  • Riccardo_prencipe_thumb

    Riccardo Prencipe

    Riccardo holds a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Naples Federico II and a degree in art history from the University Suor Orsola Benincasa. He is a native of Naples and also a classically trained musician, with a degree in classical guitar from the Conservatoire of Naples San Pietro a Majella. Beside his work as a licensed tour guide in all the archaeological sites (Pompei, Herculaneum, Oplontis), churches, and museums of the Campania Region, he has hold many conferences about medieval illuminations, and about relations between visual arts and music during Roman Antiquity and the Middle Ages. From 2006 to 2009 he worked as assistant professor at the "Suor Orsola Benincasa" University, in Naples. Riccardo also is a licensed art history teacher for secondary school.