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917 Via Magna Grecia
Paestum , Italy

Paestum, on the Sele Plain a few miles north of Palazzo Belmonte, is the site of some of the best-preserved Greek temples on the Mediterranean, and the Sele itself has been known as the piana degli dei, or “plain of the gods,” for millennia; Punta Licosa is the apocryphal site of the siren Leucosia’s suicide (she threw herself off a cliff to her death after failing to lure Odysseus to his). And, this being Italy, there is of course a local gastronomic heritage; its cornerstones are the venerated mozzarella di bufala campana (which has earned Italy’s coveted Denominazione d’Origine Protetta status; State Route 18, running through the fattoria-studded southern end of the Sele Plain, is known as the “mozzarella highway”) and fichi bianchi dottati, the succulent lime-size white figs that grow in the hills around Mount Stella. And there are others: tiny red Paestum artichokes; cured soppressata from Gioi; cacioricotta caprino, the tangy local goat’s-milk ricotta.

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