During the 2nd Century, Aquileia was a large and prominent city with a population of 100,000. However, 300 years later Aquileia was destroyed by Attila and the Huns, with most of the ancient city still lying unexcavated beneath the fields. Aquileia was one of the largest and richest Mediterranean cities within the Roman Empire and eventually was made seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which lasted until 1751. This site constitutes the greatest archaeological reserve of its kind. With its immense archaeological site and its Patriarchal Basilica, Aquileia is in fact the main archaeological site of northern Italy and it was added to the register of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1998.
During the visit of the wonderful “Basilica” of Santa Maria Assunta, which overlooks the historic Piazza Capitolo, we will admire the famous early Christian mosaics (4th Century) which are a milestone in the history of Italian art. We will then visit the National Archaeological Museum, with its wide exhibition of artefacts coming from Aquileia or the surrounding areas. The productions of engraved gems, glass items and ambers, as well as mosaic floors and the rich epigraphic and lapidary treasure are noteworthy.
In the tour of the Archaeological site, inside the marveillous Basilica and its crypt, in the interesting rooms of the Archaeological Museum, we will be accompanied by Prof. Paola Pellegrini.