Pondering Paestum

If you didn’t know I was writing about Italy, you’d think these ruins were in Greece. You might have assumed they’re Roman. But the Greeks were here before the Romans amounted to much at all and they built plenty of temples and in fact a whole town. The town dates from the 6th century BC, was abandoned around 200 AD and became overgrown. It wasn’t until the 1700s that any efforts were made to uncover it and it became a popular stop on European Grand Tours. Nowadays you can wander around at leisure (some sights are fenced off, like the three temples), maybe bring a picnic even. There’s hardly anyone else there (we were there on a warm Sunday afternoon) apart from the overly hopeful souvenir stallholders. It’s amazing what a UNESCO listing does for some places, yet for others it makes little difference. There’s also a museum which contains many artefacts found in the area, including plenty of statues and frescoes.