Capaccio Paestum, Province of Salerno, Campania

Capaccio Paestum is located along the Thyrrhenian coast about 85 km of Naples, south of the Sele river, and includes in its territory the ruins of the ancient Greek-Roman town of Paestum.
The seaside areas have beautiful beaches with thick pinewood, and offer a variety of holiday facilities. Proceeding south-west into the hinterland there is the Cilento - Vallo di Diano National Park.


  • Altitude: 112 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 22,000 inhabitants in 2017
  • Zip/postal code: 84047 - 84040 (Capaccio, Paestum Scalo), 84050 (Gromola), 84063 (Laura, Paestum), 84060 (Ponte Barizzo)
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0828
  • Demonym: capaccesi
  • Patron Saint: San Vito, celebrated on 15 June.

Administrative Division

  • Frazioni: Borgo Nuovo, Cafasso, Capaccio Scalo, Capaccio Marittima (seat of the townhall), Capo di Fiume, Chiorbo, Gaiarda, Gromola/Foce Sele, Laura, Licinella, Linora, Paestum, Ponte Barizzo, Rettifilo-Vannulo, Santa Venere, Seude, Spinazzo/Varco Cilentano, Tempa di Lepre, Tempa San Paolo, Torre/Licinella, Torre di Mare, Vuccolo Maiorano.
  • Localities: Andreoli, Crispi, Fuscillo, Getsemani, Torre di Paestum, Pietrale, Capo di Fiume, Residenza Dorica, Sabatella, Scigliati, Seliano, Seude Grattacaso, Stregara, Villaggio Merola.

History - Antiquity

Founded around the start of the 7th century BC by Greek colonists of Magna Grecia, it was called by its founders Poseidonia in honor of Poseidon. Conquered by the Lucanians, it was called Paistom, and then Paestum under the Romans. It became a Roman city in 273 BC, after its inhabitants sided with the loser, Pyrrhus, in a war against Rome during the first quarter of the 3rd century BC.

Paestum started to decline between the 4th and 7th centuries, probably due to changes in local land drainage patterns leading to swampy malarial conditions. It was abandoned during the Middle Ages, and its ruins only came to notice again in the 18th century, following the rediscovery of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

History - the Middle Ages

Capaccio is mentioned for the first time in a document of 1051. The territory is crossed by the Capodifiume River, which might explain the etymology of the toponym "Capaccio" from "caput aquae" (=origin of water). The name of the place, originally Calpatium or "caput aquis" on which modern Capaccio stands in modern times, originates from the Latin Caput Aquae (origin of water).

Not far away, on the northern slope of Mount Calpazio are the remains of Capaccio Vecchio, inhabited razed to the ground by the troops of Frederick II of Swabia as a fief of the Sanseverino family who supported the Pope against the King. The inhabitants found refuge in Casali San Pietro, the current Monticello, an important manufacturing center since the mid-thirteenth century and a bishop's seat in 1300. Capaccio was a fief of the Berengario, the Sanseverino, the d'Avalos d'Aragona, the Grimaldi and the Doria families.

History - Modern Times

In 1500 the Prince of Salerno, Ferrante Sanseverino, conspired against the King of Naples, was accused of treason and exiled to France, where he died.During the 18th century Capaccio developed considerably, and were built the fountain of the three dolphins, palaces, the Piazza dell'orologio, the Franciscan convent. From the early 20th century, thanks to the reclamation of the marshlands of Piana del Sele, agriculture developed greatly on the new lands, leading to population growth and the rise of many small settlements.

What to see

  • Three major temples in Doric style, dating from the first half of the 6th century BC. Of these, two were dedicated to the Greek goddesss Hera and the third to Athena, although they have traditionally been associated with the names of the Roman deities Poseidon, Neptune, and Ceres, due to 18th century mis-attribution.

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Provinces of Campania
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