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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...
- You simply cannot better the location of Il Granaio dei Casabella; it is right by Paestum's gates! This renovated barn has fourteen traditional rooms, it serves delicious local cuisine and it's great value too!
For a great view
- Borgo la Pietraia is perfect for those seeking a stylish retreat with panoramic views - in this case of the coastline, and the ancient site. Secluded and minimalist, this is a peaceful country escape in the perfect spot for exploring local ancient treasures.
For stylish minimalism
- If you want to add 'exclusive' to 'stylish' and 'minimalist', then Il Cannito is for you. This peaceful, chicly converted farmhouse has just four rooms.
For the beach
- Villa La Colombaia is a laid back property close to the beach, just outside Agropoli. It boasts charming room with huge balconies, two pools and a seafood restaurant.
Best Hotels in Paestum
Villa La Colombaia 10 rooms from $59Paestum
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.Families - Many of the rooms have connecting rooms for kids.Swimming Pool - Two outdoor pools, one on the roof and one in the garden.Sights nearby - Agropoli Castle.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.
Borgo la Pietraia 12 rooms from $94Paestum
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.Views - Wonderful views over the valley of the Temples at Paestum and out to seaSights nearby - A stone's throw from the temples at PaestumGreat walks - Walking and jogging trails on the doorstepSwimming Pool - Lovely Outdoor PoolRecommended by - Sawdays
Il Granaio dei Casabella 14 rooms from $94Paestum
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.Sights nearby - Greek Temples of PaestumViews - Some of the rooms have fabulous views over Paestum's templesGreat walks - The Parco Nazionale del Cilento, Vallo di Diano e AlburniLocal markets - Explore the local Italian markets
Il Cannito 4 rooms from $261Paestum
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.Sights nearby - Just up the road from Paestum, plus easy to explore both the Amalfi coast and CapriSwimming Pool - Outdoor pool with amazing views down to the temples at PaestumGreat walks - Good for walkers.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.Recommended by - I Escape, Sawdays