31a-Bella Italia in 1976: Paestum


The focus of our family history blog will be changing as we complete our study of the lives and times of our ancestors in Agropoli.   Uncle Sammy and I thought this is the appropriate time to present the remaining photos and memories of the trip I took to Italy with Grandma Josie and Grandpa Sam in July 1976.  This series of postings called “Bella Italia” will consist of those photos and reflections.  After this we will share what we are learning about the Muro and Serrapede family members after they settled in America.

Our last week in Italy 1976:  A day trip to Paestum


 The route from Agropoli to Paestum.

A few facts about Paestum

• There are three temples in an excellent state of preservation.  These were dedicated to the deities Hera, Poseidon and Athena.

• Paestum was near a swamp.  Travelers had to use small boats to cross the swamp to get to the town.

• The site became a breeding ground for malaria leading to a decline in the population.

• Rising water levels eventually submerged the town for over 900 years.

• The remains of the three temples and parts of the city were discovered when a road was being build in 1748.

Remembering Paestum

During our last week in Italy our hosts Italia and Antonio took us to visit the site of ancient ruins and then three cities along the coastline as we made our way back to Rome.  Our first stop was Paestum, an ancient city established by the Greeks about the 6th Century B.C.

We walked through Paestum during a weekday when there were very few tourists.  Italia knew the way very well and we lingered amongst the ancient ruins taking in the feeling of those times.  Italia identified two of the temples I took photos of as dedicated to the god Poseidon and another to Ceres.  The temple that she said was dedicated to Ceres was actually dedicated to the goddess Hera.  The attribution to Ceres was due to a mistake dating back to the 18th century.

The streets were made of stones and the city was flat.  The flowers were brilliant in color against the green grass, blue sky and dazzling sunlight.  Looking at the towering temples I thought about those ancient times.  In the quiet and loneliness that filled the space I was called to pause and think.  People believed fate ruled their life.  There was no conception of choice or understanding the possibilities inherent within each human being.  I felt very sad for the people of those times because humanity had yet to understand that we choose the path that our life will take, not a nameless, faceless external entity called Fate.  It is true that external forces have an influence in our decisions but we have the ability not to resign ourselves to so-called fate but to keep working and choosing the best path to realize the goals which help define who we are.

From Our Photo Album


In front of the Temple of Poseidon, left to right:  Cousin Italia, Grandpa Sam, Grandma Josie, Antonio.


 Close-up of the Temple of Poseidon.


 Temple of Hera.


Google Maps
Agropoli to Paestum

Recommended Reading



Paestum Trip Planner

Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park with the Archeological Sites of Paestum and Velia, and the Certosa di Padula