Paestum, also known as ‘Pesto’ was a city of Magna Graecia, located in Campania, in the Capaccio Paestum district in the province of Salerno.
The world-famous temples of Paestum are three: Temple of Hera, Temple of Neptune, Temple of Ceres (or Athena).
Temple of Hera
The first, temple of Hera, is dedicated to Hera, the bride of Zeus and the main divinity of Poseidonia, is the largest and was built around 550 BC. The colonnade with 50 Doric columns is almost still preserved.
Temple of Neptune
The second, the Temple of Neptune, is considered to be a perfect example of Doric temple architecture in Italy and Greece and its name is due to 18th century historians who thought it was built in honour of the god Poseidon-Neptune, although more recent studies seem to attribute it to Apollo.
Temple of Ceres
At last, the temple of Ceres, built in a middle age compared to its predecessors (50 years before the temple of Neptune to 50 years after the temple of Hera) displays peculiarities that make it stand out and make it unique: the high frieze and the Doric block. Given its location at the highest point of the city and the discovery of some sculptures dedicated to the cult of Athena, it is assumed that it was in fact dedicated to the last mentioned Athena.
In the central area of the archaeological site ‘temples of paestum’ you can see a Roman forum and in the north-eastern part a small amphitheatre founded in Caesar’s time, only partly visible today because a third of the building is buried under the road.