Metapontum was an Achaean colony from Sybaris and Croton founded about 700 B.C.  The city was built at the site of an existing settlement and was laid out on a rectangular grid system enclosed by a fortification wall. The sanctuary of Hera was located some 3 km outside the city walls. The stylobate was 34.29 metres long and 13.66 metres wide, the naos 17.79 x 8.68 metres. The most famous citizen of Metapontum was Pythagoras who came to teach here after being expelled from the city of Croton and remained until his death about 500 B.C.

The site and remains of Metapontum have been carefully examined by the Duc de Luynes. The remains of the Doric temple to Hera, known as the Tavola dei Paladini, still have fifteen columns  standing, ten on one side and five on the other; but the two ends, as well as the whole of the entablature above the architrave and the walls of the cella, have wholly disappeared.