of Naples. PEESTUM. 10. Route. 149
secure an escort without risk of disappointment should apply on the previous
day at the office of the commandant at Salerno, where information as to
the safety of the route may generally be obtained. As a rule, the traveller
should avoid undertaking the excursion alone, and the days should be long,
as about 9 hrs. (6 hrs. if the train be taken to and from Battipaglia) are
required for the mere journey. The hot summer months are unfavourable
for the excursion, owing to the prevalence of malaria in this district.
Should, however, this season be selected, the traveller is strongly cautioned
against indulging in sleep.
The route from Eboli (reached by railway), traversing the forest of
Persano, is said to be interesting, and is 9 M. shorter than the above, but
during the last few years has been considered unsafe.
In favourable weather the excursion may also be made from Salerno
by boat (p. 147). Travellers land at the influx of the Salsu about l'l" M.
from the ruins.
From Salerno the great Calabrian route is followed as far as
Battipaglia on the Tusciano (9 M.). The road then diverges to
the r. , traversing marshy and desolate plains and crossing the
river Sele (the ancient Silarus) by ferry, as the bridge erected by
Murat and another subsequently constructed of iron have been
destroyed by inundations. Thus far from Battipaglia 9'/2 M.
Above the road to the 1., Capaccio Vecchio and Nuovo, where
in the plain half-wild horses and buffaloes are watched by fero¬
Fsestum was (according to Strabo) founded by Greeks from
Sybaris about the year B. C. 600. The ancient name of Posei-
donia (city of Neptune) sufficiently indicates its Greek origin.
After the conquest of Pyrrhus, Poseidonia fell into the hands of
the Romans, B. B. 273, who sent a colony thither and changed'
the name to Peestum. The prosperity of the Greek city was now
gone, although, as we are informed, an annual festival subse¬
quently took place in commemoration of the Greek origin, customs
and language of the inhabitants. The town gradually fell to
decay and as early as the reign of Augustus was notorious for
its unhealthy air. Christianity took root here at an early period.
When the Saracens devastated Paestum in the 9th cent., the in¬
habitants fled with their bishop to the neighbouring heights and
there founded Capaccio Vecchio. The deserted town was in the
11th cent, deprived by Robert Guiscard of its monuments and
sculptures, and remained in this desolate condition for many
centuries, till in modern times attention was again directed to-
the antiquities still remaining. Those who appreciate the simple
majesty of Greek architecture should endeavour, if possible, be¬
fore quitting Naples, to pay a visit to the temples of Paestum.
These, however, are the sole attraction; Paestum contains a mi¬
serable tavern, a desolate growth of thorns and weeds, occasio¬
nally infested by snakes and scorpions, and a poor, ill-conditioned
population who suffer much from fever. The malaria, occasioned
by the collection of stagnant water and the wane of cultivation