Ancient Greek City of Paestum First Site to Open as Italy Eases Lockdown

Paestum contains three of the most well-preserved ancient Greek temples in the world, including the two Hera Temples. Photo Source: Oliver-Bonjoch/Wikimedia commons

The towering Greek temple complex at Paestum near Naples became the first Italian archaeological site to reopen to tourists after the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

Even before the iconic sites of the Colosseum and Pompeii, this ancient Greek colony dating back to the 6th century BC reopened on May 18, with visitors having their temperatures checked at the entrance and other health measures implemented around the site.

A limited number of people are allowed on the site at the same time, they must disinfect their hands and wear masks, and one-way routes have been marked out, site director Gabriel Zuchtriegel told AFP.

“But at the same time we also wanted to give cultural content which does not make visitors experience this situation as a limitation but as a chance to finally return to live with beauty, culture, freedom,” said Zuchtriegel.

The ruins of Paestum are famous for their three ancient Greek temples of the Doric order, dating from about 600 to 450 BC, which are in a very good state of preservation.

The city walls and amphitheatre are largely intact, and the bottom of the walls of many other structures remain, as well as paved roads.