The Italian Region of Campania has plenty to offer. Scenic coastal views, great food, exquisite wine, historical and cultural heritage and most of all a warm attitude. What I mean by the attitude is that the people of this region exchange a lot of lip kisses with other family members and close friends. Similar to what we have seen in famous mafia movies and a testament to the central role of the community and the values that rule the daily lives of locals. All of this and much more made it a simple choice when it came to picking our holiday destination-a trip to Campania and the Amalfi Coast.
We started our adventure by landing in Naples and shortly after headed to the picturesque town of Salerno. Salerno was our first stop on our trip and we were warmly welcomed by our hosts and I felt at home. For our stay we choose an apartment located on the top of a building where we could enjoy some great views over the city and the area nearby.
Our apartment was located in the historical part of the city, connected by small charming stone streets hosting numerous small cafes, boutiques and restaurants. Closer to the beachline is the post-war area of the city where you can see newer buildings, but all architectures blends in perfectly maintaining tradition and style.
We chose Salerno as our first stop as it is also located in close proximity to the historical village of Paestum. The train journey takes around 30 minutes and the return ticket price is around 5 euros if I remember correctly. Finding a seat on the train was a challenge, but not as challenging as boarding the train on the way back from Paestum. My friendly advice will be to choose your travel times carefully and depending on your circumstances. For instance, we had deposited our luggage at the station of Salerno and the latest we could collect it back was 19.30, meaning that if we had missed the train back we would miss the luggage collection time and that was going to cause us some difficulties. Enough housekeeping, going back to the historical ancient Greek village.
Paestum or “Poseidonia” was founded in about 600 B.C. and was an important part of the Magna Greacia region. The city thrived until the 6th century AD before being abandoned as the climate changed and presented perfect environmental conditions for malaria to develop. Those who have played “Rome Total War” might have even attempted to conquer the region.
The jewels in the crown of Paestum are the three ancient Greek Temples and an amphitheatre, which are well preserved and walking around and exploring the area will certainly take you back in time. Two of the temples are dedicated to Hera- the wife of Zeus and Queen of the Greek Gods. The third one is dedicated to Athena- Goddess of wisdom, craft and war, the most resourceful of all Olympian Gods and favourite daughter of Zeus.
Paestum is also famous for its painted tombs. One of the most famous artefacts is the Tomb of the Diver dated about 470 BC. It is named after the enigmatic scene, depicted on the inside of the slab and portraying a young man diving into a stream of water. One possible meaning is related to the transition to the afterlife.
When visiting Paestum, allow a minimum of 3 hours if you wish to explore the area unhurriedly and travel back in time, this will also allow you to visit the museum and explore the exhibition, which is also worth it. The price of the ticket for the remnants of Paestum and the museum was around 15 euros.