The houses of Paestum


Paestum was not just a collection of temples – it was also a thriving city and there was an extensive area of domestic housing.



Paestum main street: Roman road

The main street leading through Paestum

Running through the city was a long streeet that linked the three temples. Today tourists wander down it, admiring the temples to the left and not really noticing the houses to the right.






Paestum roman road with pavements and sidewalksBut the paving it still survives, and on either side there was a broad pavement for pedestrians.







Roman road at Paestum - side street

Side street in residential area of town

There were also narrower streets that led through the domestic part of the town.








House with atrium at Paestum

House with atrium

Many of the houses were classical ‘atrium’ houses where the central hall was open at the centre with the rain collecting at a pool at the centre. Here is a typical atrium house where the columns that held the surrounding roofs have been restored.


House with the marble impluvium at PaestumThe most spectacular house is the House of the Marble Impluvium (the central rainwater tank). This was made of marble and was well preserved because it was covered by a later inferior cover. It is recently been spectacularly restored.





Swimming pool at PaestumAnother house had a large swimming pool at the centre forming part of the peristyle.







Tesselated pavement at PaestumAnd there is one house where a large area of tessellated pavement has been preserved.


The Walls of Paestum

Roman gateway at Paestum: the Siren, or eastern gate Paestum has fine walls the perimeter of which is said to measure 4750 m. The eastern gate, known as the Siren gate, still survives.


Roman interval tower at Paestum One of the interval towers along the wall has been reconstructed


The area of the Archaeological Park, comprising the temples, the public buildings and the houses described, in fact only form a central strip through the town of Paestum. Much of the town is still unexcavated, and one imagines that it was probably packed with many more houses than the ones we can actually see.



On to:

The Roses of Paestum,


How Paestum was discovered.


18 November 2015


Recent Posts