Exploring Paestum in Southern Italy: Ruins of Ancient Greece with Danielle Oteri

Exploring Paestum in Southern Italy: Ruins of Ancient Greece with Danielle Oteri


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Did you know that scholars consider the most well-preserved Ancient Greek ruins to not be in Greece, but in South Italy? In the coastal city of Paestum, founded as a city dedicated to Poseidon,  temples were dedicated primarily to Hera and were known as a popular point of pilgrimage. The Romans took over, named the town Paestum, and built houses for the city's elite right on the temple grounds.  During this conversation, we will learn more about the profound historical narratives which mark this must-see destination. 

During the Middle Ages, it was abandoned when pirates from North Africa began raiding the coast, and the loss of the ingenious Roman drainage system led to swampy lands and malaria. Paestum sank into the swamp and was lost for centuries until it was repopularized in the 18th century as part of the "Grand Tour" made by elite families of Europe. 

But Paestum received new life when Mussolini drained the marshes. Its ruins also played a pivotal role in World War II as the site of the Allies landing in Italy. Together we'll look at Paestum's present-day remains, the vast pieces of the city that remain unexcavated, and the luxurious hotels and spas that are springing up in this less touristy part of Italy just 30 minutes south of the Amalfi Coast. 

Danielle Oteri is an expert on Roman, medieval and Renaissance art. She was a Lecturer at the Met Cloisters for fifteen years and has been Program Director of the International Center of Medieval Art since 2008. Danielle has written about art, history, food and travel for Conde Nast Traveler, Gothamist, NPR and Roads & Kingdoms. She is the founder of Feast on History and Arthur Avenue Food Tours.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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