Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia

By UNESCO World Heritage

Basilica, baptistery and südhalle Basilica (1998) by Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of AquileiaUNESCO World Heritage

One of the largest and wealthiest cities of the Early Roman Empire

Located at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea on the Natissa (Natiso) River, the property includes the Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia. The Roman city dates from 181 BCE and became one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the early Roman Empire until it was sacked and destroyed in 452 by the Huns led by Attila.

River port River port (1998) by Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of AquileiaUNESCO World Heritage

The city was a major trading centre connecting the Mediterranean to Central Europe. Aquileia’s wealth and status within the empire was reflected in its magnificent public buildings and private residences many of which survive as archaeological remains. The archaeological area, covering 155 hectares, includes part of the forum and its Roman basilica (courthouse), the late antique horrea, one of the sets of baths and two luxurious residential complexes.

Necropolis (1998) by Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of AquileiaUNESCO World Heritage

Outside the late Roman city walls, the entire course of which has been located and part of which stills survives, excavations have also revealed a cemetery with some impressive funerary monuments. Below ground archaeological remains of the amphitheatre and the circus have also been preserved.

Basilica, baptistery and südhalle Basilica, baptistery and südhalle (1998) by Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of AquileiaUNESCO World Heritage

The most striking remains of the Roman city are those of the port installations, a long row of warehouses and quays that stretch along the bank of the river. These were incorporated into the 4th century defences, substantial traces of which can be seen today. The dominant feature of Aquileia is the Basilica, erected, primarily, in the early-Christian period.

Domus of Titus Macrus (1998) by Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of AquileiaUNESCO World Heritage

The imposing mosaic floor dates back to the Theodorian church built at the beginning of the 4th century and rebuilt between the 11th and 14th century according to the Romanesque and Gothic style. Most of Aquileia remains unexcavated beneath fields and, as a result, constitutes a unique archaeological reserve.

Roman House (Domus) and Bishop's Palace Roman House (Domus) and Bishop's Palace (1998) by Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of AquileiaUNESCO World Heritage

Its Patriarchal Basilica is an outstanding building that houses an exceptional work of art in its mosaic pavement and also played a key role in the evangelization of a large region of central Europe. It became the seat of a Patriarchate which survived until 1751.

Forum Forum (1998) by Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of AquileiaUNESCO World Heritage

An emblematic symbol of all ancient Roman cities, the forum was the place where all the main trading, leisure and administrative activities of Aquileia were concentrated. Here stood the comitium (where the city's public meetings took place) and a temple erected by triumvir Titus Annius Luscus.

River port River port (1998) by Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of AquileiaUNESCO World Heritage

In the 1st century AD, Aquileia was a thriving city, lying at a crossroads for trade goods travelling between the Mediterranean Sea and mainland Europe. Several monumental works, including the river port built on the Natiso cum Turro river bear evidence of such wealth. In Antiquity, the river ran to the east of the city and its bed was almost 50 metres wide.

National Archaeological Museum of Aquileia (1998) by Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of AquileiaUNESCO World Heritage

Comprising three floors and twelve rooms, the National Archaeological Museum of Aquileia bears evidence to the long tradition of collection and classification of archaeological finds started in Aquileia in the 18th century.

Early Christian Museum (1998) by Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of AquileiaUNESCO World Heritage

Basilica, baptistery and südhalle Mosaic floor inside the campanile (1998) by Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of AquileiaUNESCO World Heritage

Basilica, baptistery, and südhalle

The dominant feature of Aquileia is the Basilica, erected, primarily, in the early-Christian period with its imposing mosaic floor.

Basilica, baptistery and südhalle Basilica (1998) by Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of AquileiaUNESCO World Heritage

Theodorian church built at the beginning of the 4th century and rebuilt between the 11th and 14th century according to the Romanesque and Gothic style.

Basilica, baptistery and südhalle Frescoes of the crypt (1998) by Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of AquileiaUNESCO World Heritage

A beautiful example of the crypt's frescoes.

OPEN DAYS (1998) by Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of AquileiaUNESCO World Heritage

Open Days

Aquileia is famous for its crucial position at a crossroads of civilizations and trade, as well as for its role as a strategic military outpost in the Roman Empire.

OPEN DAYS (1998) by Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of AquileiaUNESCO World Heritage

The city today preserves very important archaeological evidence of its glorious past. In spring and summer, join the scholars to explore the Roman metropolis like you've never seen it.

Roman House (Domus) and Bishop's Palace Vestiges of a Roman house (1998) by Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of AquileiaUNESCO World Heritage

Open Days to archaeological areas are organized by Fondazione Aquileia, the Direction of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of Friuli Venezia Giulia and the Universities of Padua, Trieste and Udine. You'll be admitted to areas not yet open to the public, led by archaeologists throughout ancient stories and precious finds.

Basilica, baptistery and südhalle Basilica (1998) by Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of AquileiaUNESCO World Heritage

These exceptionally open areas include: the Great Baths complex, with its stunning 4th century mosaic floors stretching over an area of more than two hectares and a half; the so-called “House of the Wounded Beasts”, a rich patrician house found in the residential district to the north of the city, featuring a mosaic with scenes of hunting and wounded animals; the Byzantine walls, a set of triangular ramparts built to defend the neighbourhood of the Basilica.

Basilica, baptistery and südhalle Baptistery and Südhalle (1998) by Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of AquileiaUNESCO World Heritage

The Open Days not only concern the excavated areas usually inaccessible to the public; in fact, all the areas included in the open-air archaeological park of the city of Aquileia will be illustrated by an archaeologist, who will give visitors an expert explanation of the site.

You'll be able to learn about the operation of the ancient river port – one of the best preserved examples of Roman ports in the West – as well as about the burial methods used at the time, and about the daily life of the dwellers of Aquileia in their houses excavated in the estates Cal and Cossar. Seize the chance to walk into the ancient forum, once the city's political and social centre, which is usually inaccessible to the public.

Credits: Story

This exhibit was created by the Fondazione Aquileia
www.fondazioneaquileia.it/en

More on Aquileia and World Heritage:
whc.unesco.org/en/list/825

Photos: Gianluca Baronchelli; A Chemollo; Erica Zanon

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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