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.
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.
There were also narrower streets that led through the domestic part of the town.
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.
The 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.
The Walls of Paestum
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.
18 November 2015