Calm seas, a light breeze – perfect conditions for our first day of sailing from Naples to Dubrovnik aboard the legendary Sea Cloud. After a wonderful breakfast served in the original dining room, we gathered on the spanker deck to listen to Captain John Svendsen give a play-by-play of setting the sails on a historic square-rigger. After lunch we took the Zodiacs into the small fishing port of Agropoli from where we could transfer to the ancient Greek site of Posidonia, Roman Paestum.

Far from the “maddening crowds” of nearby Pompeii, Paestum has the biggest and best preserved ancient Greek temples in all of Magna Graecia. We started in the northern sanctuary, with the Doric temple dedicated to Athena and proceeded through the site, past the amphitheater and Ekklesiasterion, where the Greek citizens of the town would assemble to vote, and then on to the monumental Temple of Hera I and Temple of Hera II. We encountered several young men, on an art fellowship sponsored by a nearby town, painting various views of the Temple of Hera II. It was wonderful to see the various nuances of light, shade, and color in their work, as well as their interpretation of architectural detail.

It was then on to the local museum to see the Tomb of the Diver and other, perhaps less famous but equally beautiful, tombs of the dead dating from the third century BCE shortly after the city was conquered by the Lucanians.