Paestum: “diving” back into the history

Today in our “Diari Salernitani” we are going to talk about one of the most beautiful and richest places in history of the Province of Salerno. In fact we are going to the ancient Paestum, one of the most flourishing cities of Magna Graecia, recognised by UNESCO as part of the World Cultural Heritage in 1998 for its temples and its remains in the archaeological site.

Diver’s Grave

The most famous is the fresco on the Tomba del tuffatore (Diver’s Grave), which shows a young man who is gracefully diving into the sea. That is a perfect starting point to decide how to spend this first hot summer day, a great dive into the sea would be the best choice.

On the traces of the Argonauts

The sea, background of the coastal road, is with us during the entire journey from the south of Salerno to the Cilento. Suddenly, the blue of the sea disappears from our view to give place to the green and dense pine forests of Capaccio. We go through one of these to reach the Dunale Oasis of Paestum, a protected area that only a few time ago was in a state of neglect, and that recently has been done up and given back to the community by Legambiente.

The sea is quite tempting but we must wait for the first dive because the water is still too cold. We are sure that the low temperature would have made desist from diving even the “heroic” Argonauts, who once passed from there. According to the legend, Jason and his crew founded the city of Paestum during their amazing expedition to take the Golden Fleece back. The history confirms the Greek origins of the city that was called at that time Poseidonia, in honour of the Greek sea God Poseidon.

Exactly from the oasis sea starts the “Argonauts’ Route”, a path full of coloured flowers that directly brings us to the temples of Paestum. The view in front of us, thanks also to the twilight, is stunning. It has no equal in the world. Even Friedrich Nietzsche went into ecstasies in front of it and said: “It is as if a God had built with enormous blocks of stones his own house”.

A breath of solemnity

They had to be real “Supermen” the Gods who watched on this important commercial centre of the Magna Graecia. The two impressive monuments dedicated to Hera and Athena, bring us to the remains of the ancient Paestum. The solemnity of this place imposes us a natural and a religious silence, the only noise allowed is the sweet sound of an imaginary zither that comes with us. It seems as if Jason was here, among these remains, maybe he has just passed from there.


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