The magnificence of history and wonder of multiform landscapes of Elea-Velia you perpetuate today through the magical charm of the ruins of the ancient city that, in antiquity, has gained fame for the healthiness of the thermal waters (so much so that it was the seat of a renowned Medical School, forerunner of the Salerno), for the prosperity of businesses and for good laws, mainly due to speculation of thought developed by the school of philosophy. Founder and maximum exponent of it was Parmenides then followed by disciple Zeno.
The ancient city of Elea, which derives its name from the local source Hyele, was founded around 540 BC by a group of exiles from the Greek city of Phocaea, in present-day Turkey, occupied by the Persians. The city, known in the 5th cent. especially for the figures of Parmenides and Zeno, founders of the Eleatic School of philosophy, a period of great development in the Hellenistic period and largely Roman age (late IV century BC-5th century AD, when its name is changed to Valdez. With the middle ages the village withdraws the Acropolis, where he built a castle.
The architectural structures of the ancient city are found in a vast area of lush Mediterranean scrub and olive trees makes a beautiful combination of archaeology and nature. For this reason, with l. regionale n. 5 of 8.02.05, was established the Velia Archaeological Park that could have substantial resources with national and European funds that allowed the resumption of archaeological research supported by the restoration of the main monuments.
The visit, with information panels, beginning from the lower town, where most buildings date back to Hellenistic and Roman times. The entrance driveway along the walls, 5 km. long, which already built in the 6th century BC, acquired its present shape by building about 30 towers only at the end of the 4th century BC to contain the advance of the Lucani. In front of the walls there is a necropolis of the Imperial period (1st-2nd c. c.e.) which are visible individual burials and funerary enclosures within which gathered several depositions. Real access to the city via Porta Marina South which is protected by a quadrangular tower that can be divided into two phases: the first from the first half of the fifth century. BC recognizable from blocks of sandstone blocks placed at the bottom, the second, dated to the 3rd sec.a.C, for which they were used blocks in conglomerate. Along via di Porta Marina, on the right you can see a public building, consisting of a three-arm cryptoportico, dated at the Augustan period (31 BC -Ad 14 remakes during the 2nd century. ad that has been variously interpreted as gym, medical school or as a sacellum of Imperial cult saw the discovery of numerous erme and statues dedicated to local doctors and imperial family portrait heads. The block to the left of Porta Marina is a residential and commercial character and consists of at least four houses of Imperial Age consist of a central compartment, with tub for water collection, on which open the other environments. Turn right and continue towards la Masseria Cobellis where you come to light a fine public building medium-Imperial age marked by a spectacular facility, on two levels, and a careful search of symmetries. Along the central axis of the building, in fact, had a nymphaeum and bounded by flights of stairs in brick and covered with marble slabs partially preserved.
Returning towards Porta marina along two blocks of Hellenistic and late-imperially and arrives at the sacred well, Hellenistic age, perhaps dedicated to Hermes as do think Greek letters Η Ρ (eta rho) engraved on a rocky outcrop. Along the via di Porta Rosa, we can visit the baths on one end (2nd c. ad) where there are various environments of the calidarium and the frigidarium, room decorated with a beautiful mosaic with black and white tiles that depict animals and monsters. Continuing the ascent on the right we find the so-called Agora recently interpreted as a sanctuary dedicated to Asclepius, medical and healing deity, which is distributed on at least three levels to which the lower one has a large rectangular body, surrounded on three sides by a portico and the entrance decorated with a fountain. The public building, dated to the 2nd century. BC, seeking spring water Hyele found higher up, where Hellenistic constructs a spa complex where you can see a heated room where you can see the steam-systems, a large rectangular tub to warm bath and one compartment for small terracotta tubs for individual bath in a sitting position. The via di porta Rosa arrives in a great throat which allowed the passage to the Southern District have not yet explored. We are in a real artificial crossing where negli anni ' 60 Mario Napoli (h)to found the pink door, a splendid example of the use of the arch from the Greeks.
Going up towards the Acropolis, is the oldest town of Velia (6th c. BC), which are visible the remains of dwellings lined up along a road, abandoned and obliterated in the 5th century. to allow you to build public buildings, religious and civil. Them on the Acropolis are partly preserved a theater, built in Roman times on the remains of another temple, oldest of which are unknown dating and the deity to whom he was devoted, and a functional building with front porticoed religious needs. Acropolis buildings were damaged in the middle ages when a castle was built. From this period are conserved the Angevin Tower, remains of walls and two churches, the Palatine Chapel and the Church of Santa Maria, where small but comprehensive antiquaria. Starting from the Acropolis you can follow a scenic route which runs along the ridge of the Hill to visit small sacred areas with buildings of the Hellenistic age and the contemporary city wall.
all days: 8.45-an hour before sunset [the ticket office closes one hour before]
entrance: € 3,00/€ 1,50 reduced
Tel.: + 39 0974 972396
See also: Ascea (Velia)
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