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The town was named Caput Aquis, because it dominated the rich springs of Capodifiume, former cult see during the Greek and Roman periods; nowadays it is recalled with the name "Capaccio Vecchio" (Old Capaccio) by the local inhabitants. Following its participation at the Baron Conspiracy against the great emperor, Capaccio was besieged by Frederic the Second who stormed and destroyed it in 1246. After its abandoning nobody spoke any more about Paestum for centuries, even if its always solemn temples were still standing amidst the
thick vegetation. A little merit for its rediscovery goes to those writers and poets of the 16th and 17th centuries who, quoting its monuments and describing the characteristics of the place, arouse interest and curiosity for Paestum. But the real "rediscovery" started in the first half of the 18th century as writers, poets and artists of various nationalities (among which there were Goethe, Shelley, Canova, Piranesi) began to visit the ruins of the renowned Greek city - a fashion known under the name of "Grand Tour" - and consequently propagated its fame all over Europe. The immediate effect of this phenomenon conditioned all the European culture. It is easy to notice that all the neoclassical architecture has been influenced by the Doric style of the temples of Paestum. This fact has been recently stressed in a show which has travelled from America to Italy under the meaningful title "The Fortune of Paestum".