Velia is famous for being the home of the philosophy school of Parmenides and Zeno. In addition to the Eleatic school, the archaeological site of Velia still tells the story of a great city of Magna Graecia with its citizens, its daily life, its public and private spaces.
The foundation dates back to around 540 BC. by the inhabitants of Phocaea, a city of present-day Turkey, who left their homeland because they were besieged by the Persians. 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. The city is called Hyele, by the name of a spring, and then Elea and Velia in 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.