Along the coast of the Cilento, starting with the 5th century B.C., two important centres of Greek cultures were situated: Poseidonia, now named Paestum, and Elea, today called Velia. In Paestum today, three Greek temples that have survived in good condition can still be visited.
In 1787, during his trip through Italy, Goethe wrote: “Finally (…) we could distinguish several longish square masses which we had already noticed from afar as the remains of temples and monuments of a once magnificent town. (…) yes, I praised the genius for letting me see these well preserved remains with my own eyes, as an image can never give you the same impression.” Only as late as in 1968 the grave of the “high diver” was discovered, which represents a significant testimony of ancient art with its five frescoes.
Paestum, which is often called the “Gate to the Cilento”, is an excellent starting point for excursions to sights of cultural interest, such as Pompeii, Herculaneum, Velia or Padula. And the Cilento national park with its picturesque mountain and fishing villages is located right at its doorstep.
With its wide sandy beaches Paestum is a real bathing paradise.
It is not only cultural highlights that Paestum offers. Seaside vacationers will find fantastic conditions here: The fine, wide and gently declining sandy beach of Paestum stretches for kilometres on end – ideal for those who are enthusiastic about swimming in the sea and for those who love to take walks.
World famous “mozzarella di bufala”
Water buffaloes play the main role in the plain of Piana di Sele around Paestum and they provide the exclusive mozzarella di bufala. On the ecologically managed country estate Tenuta Vannulo, you can, for example, watch the impressively big but at the same time gentle animals at close range, try wonderful creamy and savoury mozzarella and watch the casari at work as they deftly pluck off pieces from the still warm loaf of cream cheese.
Thus, the origin of the word mozzarella quickly becomes clear: ‘mozzare’ means ‘to pluck off’.
Next train station: Paestum. By train i.e. Pompeij and Herculaneum are within reach in about one hour.