Paestum (/ˈpɛstəm/ PEST-əm,[1] US also /ˈpstəm/ PEE-stəm,[2][3] Latin: [ˈpae̯stũː]) was a major ancient Greek city on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Magna Graecia (southern Italy). The ruins of Paestum are famous for their three ancient Greek temples in the Doric order, dating from about 550 to 450 BC, which are in an excellent state of preservation. The city walls and amphitheatre are largely intact, and the bottom of the walls of many other structures remain, as well as paved roads. The site is open to the public, and there is a modern national museum within it, which also contains the finds from the associated Greek site of Foce del Sele.

Paestum contains three of the best-preserved ancient Greek temples in the world, including the two Hera Temples shown above.
Shown within Italy
LocationPaestum, Province of Salerno, Campania, Italy
RegionMagna Graecia
Coordinates40°25′20″N 15°0′19″E
BuilderColonists from Sybaris and/or Troezen
FoundedAround 600 BC
PeriodsArchaic Greece to Middle Ages
Site notes
ManagementSoprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici di Salerno, Avellino, Benevento e Caserta (in Italian and English)
Official nameCilento and Vallo di Diano National Park with the Archeological Sites of Paestum and Velia, and the Certosa di Padula
Criteriaiii, iv
Designated1998 (22nd session)
Reference no.842
RegionEurope and North America

Solinus wrote that it was established by Dorians.[4] After its foundation by Greek colonists under the name of Poseidonia (Ancient Greek: Ποσειδωνία), it was eventually conquered by the local Lucanians and later the Romans. The Lucanians renamed it to Paistos and the Romans gave the city its current name.[5] As Pesto or Paestum, the town became a bishopric (now only titular), but it was abandoned in the Early Middle Ages, and left undisturbed and largely forgotten until the eighteenth century.

Today the remains of the city are found in the modern frazione of Paestum, which is part of the comune of Capaccio Paestum in the Province of Salerno in the region of Campania, Italy. The modern settlement, directly to the south of the archaeological site, is a popular seaside resort with long sandy beaches. The Paestum rail station on the Naples-Salerno-Reggio Calabria railway line is directly to the east of the ancient city walls.