Velia is a beautiful village in Cilento. It is famous beacause in the past it was a home of a philosophy school of Parmenides and Zeno. In additional to the Eleatic School, the archeological area of Velia still tells the story of a great polis of Magna Graecia with its citizen, its daily life, its public and privates spaces.
Velia is founded in 540 BC by the inhabitants of Phocaea fleeing the Persian invasion of Ionia. After a long journey aboard very fast ships, the exiles arrive in the Mediterranean Sea and settle in the bay south of the Gulf of Poseidonia, on the Cilento coast. Originaly, the city is called Hyele, by the name of a spring, and then Elea and Velia during the Roman times.
The city occupies an upper part, the acropolis, and the hills behind it and is surrounded by a large circuit of walls that follow the natural profile of the soil. Inside, the urban space is divided into three distinct districts, still visible today, connected to each other by valleys, one of which is monumentalized by the construction of the extraordinary “Porta Rosa”, the oldest example of a round arch of Italy.
The Acropolis has a variety of buildings on it. One of them is this medieval tower, built over a Greek church. It was part of a castle, but only short sections of walls remain, as you can see in the background.
Since 2020, the Archaeological Site of Velia has been managed in a unified administration with the Archaeological Site of Paestum, which is superbly directed by Gabriel Zuchetriegel. The German super-director has repeatedly expressed his concern and astonishment about the situation of the Velia Park, home of the Hellenistic philosophers.