Ascea, Province of Salerno, Campania

Ascea rises 95 km from Salerno, on a hill at about 235 m a.s.l., divided by a fjord along the SS 447 from the municipality of Pisciotta. Its frazione Marina di Ascea, 4 km away along the coast, is a fine seaside resort with a Blue Flag award, full of tourist villages and hotels. Part of the territory is included in the National Park Cilento - Valle di Diano. It is located in the National Park of Cilento and Vallo di Diano.


  • Altitude: 225 a.s.l
  • Population: about 5800 inhabitants in 2017
  • Zip/postal code: 84046
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0974
  • Demonym: asceoti
  • Patron Saint: St. Nicola, celebrated on 6th December; at Marina di Ascea the Madonna di Portosalvo, celebrated every 27th August
  • Frazioni & Localities: Baronia, Catona, Mandia, Marina di Ascea, Salice, Stampella, Terradura, Velia.

History - Antiquity

Greek historian Strabo spoke about Elea in his book Geografia (VI, 252), stating it was founded by refugees from the town of Phocaea in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) which in 545 BC was sieged by the Persians. The name of the new settlement was in the founders' language "Hyele", and the initial aspirated consonant changed to "v" (a letter the Greeks did not have) which explains the double name of Elea for the Greeks and Velia for the local people. The pre-Socratic philosophical school called Eleatic rose here. The town, with the name of Velia, was included in the Roman republic in 273 BC, as part of the Lucania province.

History - the Middle Ages and Modern Times

Ascea rose around the year 1000 AD, when the inhabitants of the medieval settlement of Castellammare della Bruca (ancient Velia) moved to the site after the spread of malaria due to the swamping of the Alento plain. A fiefdom of the Sanseverino family, after the conspiracy of the Barons of about 1450 in which Tommaso SanSeverino took part, passed to the Maresca family.

An important historical event was the appointment of general Bartolomeo Alfredo dei Borboni, nicknamed Terradura, as marquis of the area in 1703; the marquis built a fortress, and kept a remarkable army, which in 1860 sided with Garibaldi fighting for the unity of Italy.

What to see

  • The ruins of the Greek and later Roman center of Elea - Velia, surrounded by walls with several towers for a total length of about 5 km; the square bricks used in large portions have two rectangular channels on one side, and bear Greek stamps; the excavations have identified different areas: the Harbour, the 2 gates called Porta Marina and Porta Rosa, the hellenistic Thermae, the Roman Thermae, the Agorà, the Acropolis, the Southern Quarter and the Archaic Quarter. There are also remains of cisterns, a Greek amphitheatre and other buildings. The place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • A Bourbon tower on the side of the fjord, about 2 km from the town.

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Provinces of Campania
Campania region
Surnames in the Provinces of Campania