Save a Greek Temple Today


Delicious mozzarella waiting for you

Superior, all-organic mozzarella di bufala isn’t the only thing that this little corner of Southern Italy has going for it; the most perfectly preserved Greek temple complex in the Mediterranean world can be admired at Paestum, just four miles from the Vannulo farm and a 1 ½ hour drive from the celebrated Amalfi Coast, the starting point for our full-day excursion, Ancient Paestum: Wine, Cheese and Ruins.

Unlike Pompeii, its better-known younger brother, the archaeological site of Paestum is often deserted so visitors are hit by the full impact of its three gleaming white marble temples, silhouetted against a backdrop of silver mountains. The largest of the three – the so-called Temple of Poseidon, built around 450 BC – was clearly inspired by the Parthenon in Athens and its perfect proportions rise majestically from the fertile plain on which it was built. It is a stunning visual relic from the era when Paestum (called “Poseidonia”  by the Greeks) was an important outpost of Magna Graecia.

Paestum was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, one year after Pompeii; in spite of this fact, 80 percent of the land inside the site’s ancient walls is still privately owned. The plots are used mainly for agricultural purposes and irrigation has caused a loss of 20 inches of the surface soil, with a consequent risk to the temples. Neither UNESCO nor Italy’s Culture Ministry can legally intervene so that’s why “Paestumanità: Buy to Safeguard” was established. Its purpose is to buy back the private lands surrounding Paestum and make them available to the Italian ministry, the art superintendence and universities interested in research and further excavation of the site.

Fifty euro (about $66.50) is the cost of a “buona azione” to help preserve Paestum. Those wishing to contribute from abroad can make a bank transfer to account number IT 30 R 08342 76140 004010043732, BIC (SWIFT) ICRAITRR9IO registered in the name of LEGAMBIENTE PAESTUM CIRCOLO FREEWHEELING. Legambiente is the Italian environmental association, while the Freewheeling Association of Capaccio-Paestum is a citizen-driven response to the archaeological site’s alarming state of neglect.

After transferring the sum for one or more buone azioni, the final step is to fill out this form on the Paestumanità website so that your shares will be mailed to you at the address you indicate. And then give yourself a pat on the back for helping to preserve Italy’s immense cultural heritage!

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