You expect to find Roman ruins around the foot of Italy, but Paestum is even older: this is an ancient Greek city. It's not been covered by ash, these ruins sit beautifully, but unassumingly, beside a living town, full of very good hotels. The best places to stay in Paestum range from a secluded property with awesome to views to a charming guesthouse oozing farmhouse chic.
A Greek colony was founded here in the 6th Century BC, and huge Doric temples were built - the Basilica of Hera, the Temple of Ceres and the Temple of Neptune, all of which you can still see today - before the Romans overran the city in 273BC.
These are now the oldest and best preserved Greek temples in Italy. The Roman contribution to ancient Paestum includes an amphitheatre and a forum, and some wonderful tombs, decorated with impressive frescos.
Paestum was gradually abandoned and the land was used only by farmers until it was 'rediscovered' in the 19th century by painters and poets on the 'Grand Tour'. Today the ancient site remains only part excavated - many of this city's treasures can be seen in the local museum - so visiting it still gives you the feeling of discovering it for yourself.
Paestum is the only ancient town which also has a modern town you can stay in, and it's right in the middle of this archaeologically fascinating zone - just south of the Amalfi Coast, by Herculaneum and Pompeii, and a short drive from Naples.
This is also a very beautiful spot - there's a reason the Greeks chose this location to build their town! The ruins are just 20 minutes walk from the station, and only 30 minutes walk from the beach. Some of the best places to stay in Paestum are quite close to the beach, so this is a historic, but also relaxing southern Italian base. And it's got a couple of very good seafood restaurants.
Ancient Paestum was known for its roses, which produced a reputably magical perfume. And its Basilica to Hera still retains its mystical reputation for fertility and childbirth...
A laid back villa-style hotel just outside Agropoli and close to the beach. Charming rooms, some family suites, all have enormous balconies for sunbathing. Two swimming pools, beautiful gardens, and a seafood restaurant. A perfect choice for a family beach holiday and excellent value too.
A secluded hotel on a hilltop perch with panoramic views of the countryside below. Stone walled suites in minimalist design with colourful touches. Spectacular views from many terraces and large swimming pool. Great for total relaxation.
Located by one of the gates to ancient Paestum, Il Granaio dei Casabella is a renovated barn that offers impressive views of the ancient town. Rooms are simple with traditional Italian furniture, tiled floors & spacious en suites. Mediterranean cuisine championing local produce. Great value too.
Small four bedroom guesthouse which oozes farmhouse chic. Minimalist rooms with white washed walls and beams, stone floors, and the odd dash of artwork. Wonderful views over the valley from private terraces and the swimming pool deck. Peaceful and serene.