Saturday With Buffalo’s & Greek Ruins

Everyone’s Saturday should include a visit to a buffalo farm and wandering in an empty park with Greek ruins. Right?! That’s exactly what we did on a Saturday that had a 90% chance of rain/storms! We decided that we would tough it out because we didn’t want to waste a weekend off, but it turned out to be a perfect day and not a drop of rain.

Located in the region of Salerno you can find “Tenuta Vannulo Caseificio Yogurteria Biologica Caseificio” or simply put, a buffalo farm. Tenuta Vannulo is a family-run organic company dedicated to buffalo breeding and the production of mozzarella. They are a closed-cycle company, from the production of fodder to the transformation of products, whose sale takes place exclusively on site, guaranteeing their freshness and uniqueness. A private walk around the farm allows you to observe the process and accuracy with which the production of mozzarella takes place, to admire the buffaloes up close, observe the modernity of the stables, walk through the Museum of Rural Life, see their leather products, and end with a tasting of mozzarella cheese.

We decided to get there a little before our tour started so we could enjoy some breakfast in the yogurteria. They had a bunch of flavors of yogurt (we chose banana), pudding, and ice cream. The tour itself was pretty interesting but a bit pricey. We were the only ones there and it cost $40 for 2 adults and one 6 year old. It definitely wasn’t worth that much, but it was still a fun experience and the kid liked it. We spent some time with the buffalos and learned about their habits. The 300 or so buffalo are water buffalo that came here from India. There are showers, brushes, rubber mats, and classical music is played for them in the early mornings! The techniques of milking are to safeguard animal welfare, hygiene, and milk quality. The buffalos milk themselves with a milking robot which allows the animals self-management with the rhythm of life, feeling more natural and less stressful. It takes about 5-6 minutes for the milking to be completed. It’s such a cool concept. In the end, the buffalo are sold to make leather products. After the tour, we went back to the yogurteria to grab a cappuccino before heading over to order some mozzarella cheese to take home.


After we had our fill of buffalo-milk products for the morning, we took a 10 minute drive over to Paestum. Leaving here was where we happened to drive through an olive tree tunnel and I took to take one of the most beautiful pictures I have taken of Italy so far!


Paestum is an archaeological site where three Greek temples stand in the middle of the countryside. The town, now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was once pretty much forgotten. The town of Poseidonia- later called Paestum- was built by Greek colonists from Sybaris (an earlier Greek city in southern Italy) around 600 B.C. It grew and prospered and now has among the most extensive remains of Magna Graecia. In 410 B.C. the town was conquered by the Lucanians, a native Italian people. Then in 273 B.C the Romans took over, changed the name to Paestum, and began their own building program. As the entire Roman Empire collapsed, Paestum crumbled. Malaria and Saracen raids led to the near abandonment of the town and the development of Capaccio, a safer hillside settlement. It was then that Paestum itself was pretty much forgotten. Things changed with the 18th century rediscovery of the temples by road builders coupled with a revival of interest in antiquities. The classical name Paestum was revived, though Capaccio is still the local authority. Nowadays most of the vanished city of Poseidonia-Paestum is hidden under agricultural land. The ancient city walls are constructed with massive stone blocks and encircle a large area of countryside, much of it unexcavated. Right in the middle is the archaeological zone open to the public and a few later buildings housing small tourist businesses.


We purchased a combined ticket to visit both the archaeological site and the museum. The archaeological area covers the heart of the ancient city. The most dramatic sights, which led to the site’s rediscovery, are the three Doric temples. Roofless, but still standing, these are among the greatest archaeological monuments in Italy! The smallest of the three, standing on a small rise, was dedicated to Athena, though it’s also known as the Temple of Ceres. This temple later became a Christian church. The oldest of the buildings, the Temple of Hera,is at the further end of the site and not far away is the most-imposing and well-preserved, the Temple of Neptune (or Poseidon). One of the finest surviving examples of a Greek temple, this is a huge and dramatic building, surrounded by steps and a colonnade of majestic dimensions. Even without a roof, the pediments and ornamentation give a good idea of how the building would have looked. 


Paestum is not all about temples though! The extensive area that is open to the public includes civic buildings, the Roman forum and amphitheater, paved roadways and ruins of residential buildings. Pathways are kept clear but tall grass and flowers drown many of the low walls and tumbled masonry. 


The museum is just opposite the archaeological site. Exhibition rooms are quite rambling and extend over several areas. When we visited there was a lot of construction so it’s possible the layout we saw was not the usual one. The museum houses sections of pediment, decoration, and sculptures from the archaeological area and from other nearby sites, most dating to the Greek era and some showing a clear relationship with Etruscan artworks from central Italy. The museum also contains paintings and grave goods from tombs in and around Paestum. The most famous of these is the fresco from the “Tomb of the Diver.” This is the only extant wall-painting from a Greek tomb, and shows a simple image of a solitary man diving into water. Other tomb paintings in the museum date from the Lucanian era and show scenes of fighting, hunting, and celebration.  


A street runs along the railings outside the site here where you will surprisingly find a busy little row of souvenir shops and several cafés and bars with outside tables serving drinks, ice cream, and snacks. It was here that we found a place serving buffalo burgers with buffalo cheese on the edge of a quaint and quiet piazza. 



Lindsay View All →

Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!

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