Hotels Paestum
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Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park with the Archeological sites of Paestum and Velia, and the Certosa di Padula
World Heritage Site UNESCO

It is always a difficult task to write down the historical background of Paestum, even a short one. In our opinion, it is a duty and an exclusive matter for archaeologists and scholars; for tourists we try to expose at least the general outlines of it. The "Plain of Paestum" -this is the name given to the land extension going from the foot of the hills to the sea by our ancestors and the high grounds of Capaccio lying behind were already inhabited in prehistory: apart from the "Necropoli di Gaudo" there are further proofs from the Palaeolithic and Neolithic Ages.
All the more reason for thinking that in the middle of the 7th century BC the territory presented local inhabitants who were evidently not well organised and not able to defend themselves from the arrival of Greek colonies (namely Achaeans coming from Sybaris). In about 600 B.C. the Greek, perhaps having already explored the plain and having assured themselves a fortified place near the sea, founded a city there which they called Poseidonia in honour to the god of the Sea. At the same time, northwards, the inhabitants of Poseidonia built a sanctuary (the Hearon) near the mouth of the Sele, not only to honour their goddess Hera from Argo, but probably as defensive strategy against the Etruscans. The latter had settled on the other side of the river and being a powerful and advanced people they represented a danger for them. This sanctuary became famous all over the Greek world, so that it became part of mythology and, as Strabone writes, its construction was attributed to Jason and his Argonauts.
Defended by its imposing and continuously reinforced walls (nowadays the best preserved of ancient times) with four gates at the cardinal points and thanks to its geographical position -close to tradeways-, to the water courses and to the fertile lands, Poseidonia soon reached a high degree of richness and of artistic and cultural fervour which in a century lead to the construction of three magnificent Doric temples, an incomparable inheritance from Greek civilization.

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Hotels Cilento