søndag 22. september 2013

Porta Rosa, Entrance to Antiquity

The Porta Rosa in Velia

Our mission on this fine day was to explore the aforementioned city of Velia –actually the ruins thereof– which date back to the 5th century BC. The site is now known as the Parco Archeologico di Velia, a park where you can sense the presence of ancient civilizations.

The city was once a part of Magna Graecia, ie the coastal areas of Southern Italy that were colonized by Greek settlers from the eighth century BC. Velia was known to be the seat of a medical school whose knowledge and tradition may be the roots of the aforementioned Schola Medica Salernitana.

Cicero, Horace and other famous personalities found the atmosphere in Velia gentle and welcoming, as did we during our visit there. Laura pointed out the occurrence of parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme and other herbs - reminiscences from past times, we thought.

While walking up the Porta Rosa road, once the main street of ancient Velia, we were brought back to its foundation nearly 2400 years ago. The Porta Rosa (Pink Gate) itself is an impressive viaduct that was built by Greek settlers to connect the northern and southern parts of the city. The arch, which was built in the 4th century BC, is  still in fine condition.

We were also impressed by the amphitheater and the ruins of the acropolis But the original Greek temple was partly destroyed by the tall tower of the Norman castle that was built here in the middle ages.

We left Velia with a sense of connection with the generations who had lived and thrived there.

Our weekend in Acciaroli was now coming to an end, and we headed back to Napoli.

Visions of Velia