Just 15 km far from “La Civetta” is located the ancient and always fascinating Paestum. Probably founded by the Sybaris in the sixth century BC, it later became a Roman city, but was abandoned in the Middle Ages. The ruins were rediscovered in 1760, but not completely unearthed and excavated until the 1950s. The first structure is the sixth century BC Temple of Ceres; originally dedicated to Athena, it served as a Christian church in medieval times. Among the partially standing buildings are the large domestic housing area and, further south, the amphitheater. Both offer evocative glimpses of daily life here in Roman times. In the old houses you will see mosaic floors and a marble impluvi which was in the atrium and collected rainwater. The Temple of Neptune, dating back to about 450 BC, is the largest and best preserved of the three temples of Paestum; only parts of the interior walls and the roof are missing. The two rows of double-floor columns originally divided the outer colonnade from the cell, or inner chamber, where a statue of the deity of the temple would be exposed. Despite its commonly used name, many scholars believe that the temple was actually dedicated to the Greek goddess Hera, sister and wife of the Greek god Zeus. Almost next door, the so-called basilica (a temple of the goddess Hera) is the oldest surviving monument of Paestum. Dating back to the mid-sixth century BC, it is a magnificent spectacle, with nine transverse columns and eighteen along the sides. Ask someone to take your picture next to one of the columns: it’s a good way to appreciate its majesty !