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Friday February 23rd 2024

Jason And The Argonauts | 1963

Jason And The Argonauts film location: First temple of Hera, Paestum, Italy
Jason And The Argonauts film location: Harpies torment the blind Phineas: First temple of Hera, Paestum, Italy | Photograph: Wikimedia / Berthold Wiener

The exterior locations for Jason’s legendary quest for the Golden Fleece can be found in Italy, south of the Amalfi Coast for the best of those Sixties films designed to showcase the extraordinary animation of Ray Harryhausen. It boasts a music score by the magnificent Bernard Herrmann, to boot.

For all their charming judderiness, Harryhausen’s creations have more life in them many of today’s weightless digital creations.

In one of the most famous sequences, the Argonauts must face the Titan Talos, a giant bronze automaton which was made, according to mythology, to protect Zeus's lover, Europa, from pirates.

Jason And The Argonauts filming location: Arco Naturale, Palinuro, Italy
Jason And The Argonauts location: the Argonauts must face Talos, the bronze Titan: Arco Naturale, Palinuro, Italy | Photograph: Shutterstock / avventura

It’s on the Arco Naturale beach of Palinuro that Jason’s crew has to outwit the unnervingly creaking giant.

Palinuro lies on the southern side of Cilento, on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It's an understandably popular tourist destination, due its combination of crystal clean water, beautiful beaches and sea caves beloved of scuba divers.

Oddly, it's not been seen in too many films between Hercules and the Captive Women in 1961 and Patty Jenkins’s 2017 Wonder Woman.

Palinuro itself is five miles (a ten-minute cab ride) from Pisciotta Palinuro rail station, is a two hour train journey from Napoli Central.

Another peril comes in the form of the winged harpies, who torment the blind Phineas (Patrick Troughton, the second TV Dr Who) within the ruins of a classical temple.

This is the First Temple of Hera at Paestum – there are three temples on the site and, dating from 550 BC, this one is the earliest. You can see the Second Temple of Hera alongside it. The third, the Temple of Athena, is further away. So there’s plenty to see.

Paestum is also served by a regular rail service from Napoli Central, a journey of about an hour and a quarter.