It is a little known fact that Cicero, the famed roman politician, writer and philosopher (106-43 AC) frequently vacationed in Cilento. He adored the Cilentean's customs and institutions, their forests, and beaches. One of Cicero's closest friends in Cilento was the lawyer Caio Trebazio Testa, a nobleman from Velia. Prior to being assassinated, Cicero wrote a letter to his good friend. This letter stands as a testament to their friendship, and furthermore to Cicero's devotion to Cilento.
"To Caio Trebazio Testa, Greetings!
I pray for Goddess Athena to always hold you in her highest esteem, Esculapio to be the protector of your family, but for me, my dearest friend, all I pray for is the tranquillity one can only find in your delightful city Velia! Rome gets worse by the day as its climate, the natural, as well as the political, becomes more and more hazardous to my health. My head aches constantly probably due to the humidity, perhaps more so by the incessant bickering I endure. I would be back in Velia in a heartbeat were it not for the sense of duty I have for our Republic. The other night I dreamt that the Romans finally adopted a resolution to model their political institutions after those of your city. And like in Velia, the people to be followed and listened to were the city's philosophers. In my dream no one plotted against the state to impose personal ambitions. Military leaders, allegiant to the Republic, made sure to follow the will of the Senate, without acting as warlords over the distant provinces. Like in Velia, my dream had young people pursuing their studies, gymnastics, refining their oratory, as well as their philosophical thoughts, paying no attention to the vulgarity of the gladiators' blood lust. Even the whorehouses had emptied, their patrons finding pleasures in an acceptable and dignified way. At the end of the dream, a blue sea appeared, and I knew then that I was not really dreaming of land-locked Rome but of your outstanding city. When I awoke I felt angst for being so far away from all of you, and angst for Rome being so far away from Velia's civility.
I could not wait to write this letter. I am not ashamed to admit that in telling you these things, even if by letter, makes me feel as if I was there in Velia, the Gods know how much I would like for that to be true right now. How it would soothe me to walk through the woods of Velia or alongside the beach that takes us from Porta Marina to the seaport. Oh, how much I long for the discussions and arguments we have amongst friends, in the shade of the Porta Rosa, or on the steps of the temple of Athena. But enough with my lamentations and funeral chants! How goes it, my divine friend, with your young son, so well educated and so eager to learn? Is he still tending diligently to his studies in grammar, and rhetoric? Is he still passionate about music and the theater? Make sure to tutor him with care, my friend, for the education of your young ones is the only remedy against tyrants and barbarians.
Also tell me, my dear friend, tell me of your endeavors, of your boat trips and your trading. Are Africa and Corsica still your favorite destinations? Do you know if the news is really true that some of your town's sailors navigated their way past the unconquerable columns of Hercules? (Today's strait of Gibraltar). And what has been of your nearby neighbors the Lucanians? Are they still a hostile bunch, or have you found a way to befriend them? To that effect, my dear Trebazio, I will advise you: try to the outmost, and intervene with the strength of your authority to make sure that your people establish a cordial and helpful relationship with the Lucanians. Do not overlook any possibilities to make this happen. I realize that my advice is probably superfluous since your far-reaching ideas and the wisdom of your thoughts keep this goal on the horizon every step of the way.
Keep me in your thoughts, as you are always in mine, take good care of your health and of your sweet family.
Marco Tullio Cicerone."