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Elea - Velia

Place: Ascea Marina (SA)

Distance from Pilaccio: 26 km 

Journey time: 40 minutes

Time to visit: 2/4 hours

Elea, then renamed Velia, was founded on the top of a promontory by Greek settlers coming from Ionia in Asia  in about 540 B.C. The town soon acquired an important position in Magna Grecia thanks to its flourishing commerce, to a Philosophical School founded by Parmenides and Zeno and to its good internal laws. It became a fervent populated centre organized in quarters spread to the north and to the south of the promontory which had had a sacred and public function since the V century B.C. Under the successive Roman domination, Elea became Velia and was more renowned as a quiet and healthy place than an economic and philosophical centre. In Medieval times the population was exclusively concentrated on the Acropolis since the lower plains around were invaded by marshes and swamps. Traces left by local inhabitants date back as far as the 17th century B.C. then they go lost. When visiting Velia archaeological park today, the surviving ruins of the old town and the stratigraphy remains make it possible for us to revive the different historical phases the life of the colony went through from its foundation to the time it was definitively abandoned. Walking along the roads of this old Greek colony, in fact, it is possible to admire numerous ruins of sacred, public and private buildings such as the houses of the inhabited quarters of Hellenistic epoch, the 3rd century B.C. theatre, the 2nd century A.D spa, the Medieval tower: all outstanding examples of the public, religious and daily life of the town.  

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