Elea-Velia Archaeological Park (Parco Archeologico di Elea-Velia)
This ancient Roman resort town is one of the most captivating archaeological sites in Campania. Founded by the Greeks in the sixth century BC, the center is a mix of architectural styles. Admire original Greek streets and an intact arch, as well as Roman temples, thermal baths, and a theater.
Die-hard ancient history enthusiasts enjoy visiting this partially excavated site overlooking the sea, where Greek and Roman ruins are topped by a medieval tower and palatine chapel. Check out the Porta Rossa and limestone-paved streets with gutters dating from their Greek origins, as well as a later Ionic temple and the remains of the city walls. Combine a trip to Parco Archeologico di Elea-Velia with visits to Campania’s other archaeological headliners, Paestum and Pompeii.
Things to Know Before You Go
Almost all of the ruins are outdoors. Take a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water.
Much of the park is closed to visitors, due to ongoing excavations or safety issues.
The complex isn’t accessible to wheelchairs.
How to Get There
The Parco Archeologico di Elea-Velia is located along the coastline just north of Marina di Ascea on the Cilento Peninsula. There’s no public transit to the site, so drive or join a guided tour that includes transportation.
When to Get There
Like all outdoor archaeological sites in Italy, Elea-Velia is best visited on a cool, clear day. The site is closed on Tuesday.
The History of Elea-Velia
Originally called Elea by the Greeks, who founded it in 540 BC, the town reached its height of fame as home to the philosophers Parmenides and Zeno. The colony later became known as Velia, and entered the Italiote League in 389. After being sacked between the eighth and ninth centuries by Saracens, the lower reaches of Velia were abandoned, and the population withdrew to the acropolis.