It was inhabited during Neolithic age. The ancient Elea was a Greek colony of Focei , founded in 540 b.C. to escape from Persians. Focei met on this territory Enotri population and they perfectly melted creating the spirit of a new population.
In this town there was the institution of the Eleatic Philosophy School, a pre-Socratic philosophy group , at the beginning of V century. It was founded by Parmenide , its most famous member, with the support of his pupils Zenone and Melisso di Samo . They studied the essence of the Being.
The philosopher Senofane di Colofone stayed in Elea . He underlined the Unity of God against the most popular polytheistic conception of God of his period. Elea-Velia was also the seat of the medical school from which the Salerno medical school would later develop.
The town helped Rome against Hannibal. During Roman Age, it became the Municipality of Velia and many famous people went there, for example Brutus and Cicero . Cicero loved the thermal baths of this town that according to a legend had helped August top recover when he was coming back from his journey from the East. Horatio recovered from an almost total blindness.
Velia was destroyed by Saracens between VIII and IX century a.C.
Some floods and barbaric invasions made a large part of the inhabitants go away.
Feudalism never gave back to Velia its ancient prosperity.