Paestum, at the start of the Cilento coast, is the site of the only well-preserved Greek Temples north of Sicily. By the 9th century or so, this once-great city was breathing its last, a victim of economic decline and Arab raiders. As its people gradually abandoned it for safer settlements in the hills, Paestum was swallowed up by the thick forests of this subtropical corner of Italy.
As usual on a Mediterranean coastal plain, when the people leave the malaria mosquitoes take over, and the anopheles mosquito, as fate would have it, can take some of the credit for preserving Paestum's ruins so well.
This is the best preserved of Paestum's two great Doric edifices and the building shown in all the tourist literature. Built around 450 BC, it is about 200ft long and all of the structure survives except the roof and the internal walls.
Similarities to another temple at Tarentum suggest it was dedicated To Apollo, but Hera and Zeus are also possible contenders - like all of Paestum's temples, the name 'Temple of Neptune' was just a guess by the early archaeologists.