Velia, an Ancient Greek Town in the Heart of Italy
Velia was an ancient city of the so-called Magna Graecia (the part of Southern with Greek colonies such Syracuse), on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
It was founded by Greeks from Phocaea around 538–535 BC.
The modern village of Velia, named after the ancient city, is part of the town of Ascea in the Province of Salerno.
The ancient city of Elea became known as the home of philosophers Parmenides and Zeno and their Eleatic school, which was a school of pre-Socratic philosophers founded in the early 5th century B.C. by Parmenides. Another members of the school, beside Zeno, was Melissus of Samos.
The site of the acropolis of ancient Elea was once a promontory called Castello a Mare, "Castle on the sea". It now lies inland and was renamed Castellammare della Bruca in the Middle Ages.
According to Herodotus, in 545 BC Ionian Greeks fled Phocaea, in modern Turkey, which was being besieged by the Persians.
After a few years of wandering at sea, they stopped in Reggio Calabria, where they were joined by Xenophanes, a Greek philosopher, theologian, poet, and social critic who lived a life of travel throughout the Greek world and was at the time in Messina (in nearby Sicily).
They eventually moved north along the coast and, at the same latitude as Phocaea, founded the town of Hyele, later renamed Ele and then, eventually, Elea before it became known by its current Latin name.
In 273 B.C., Elea joined the Roman Empire and was included in ancient Lucania. According to Virgil's Aeneid, Velia is the place where the body of Palinurus, the helmsman of Aeneas's ship, washed ashore.
Statius, father of the Roman poet Publius Papinius Statius was born here.
Remains of the city walls, with traces of one gate and several towers, of a total length of over three miles, still exist, and belong to three different periods, in all of which the crystalline local limestone is used.
Bricks were employed in later times. Their form is peculiar to this place, each having two rectangular channels on one side and bearing Greek brick-stamps.
here are some remains of cisterns on the site and various other traces of buildings.