Aquileia Tourist Attractions
SituationAquileia lies in central Italy - west of the place where the River Isonzo, flowing down from the Alps, flows into the Adriatic.HistoryFounded by the Romans in 181 B.C. as a defensive post against the Celts, Aquileia became one of the great cities of ancient Italy, a major trading center in the Gulf of Trieste and from the sixth century the seat of a Patriarch. Later it lost its importance.The cathedral and archeological remains in the town of Aquileia were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998.
The most important monument of the great past of Aquileia is the cathedral, built at the beginning of the 11th century on the site of an earlier church and remodeled in Gothic style at the end of the 14th century. It has a fine interior with a mosaic pavement (depicting humans, animals and plants) from the original church (fourth century). There are also a fine Renaissance pulpit and remains of 11th century frescoes in the apse. At the main entrance is an Easter Sepulchre (11th century) and close by the entrance to the Cripta degli Scavi can be seen third century mosaics. From the 73m/241ft high belltower (11th and 14th centuries) there are far-ranging views.
From the military cemetery behind the chancel of the cathedral the Via Sacra, lined by cypresses, runs 700m/765yd north to the recent excavations of the Roman river harbor. A little way northeast is the Museo Paleocristiano with funeral urns, etc.; to the west the Forum (partly reconstructed).
To the west of the cathedral are the remains of an amphitheater, the Roman street of tombs, a Roman mausoleum (reconstructed) and a number of partly excavated oratories with well- preserved mosaic pavements.
Southwest of the cathedral in Aquileia is the Museo Archeologico, containing Roman material recovered by excavations, among which are precious stones, amber and glass (in the courtyard are many pyramidal ash-urns).
Address: Via Roma 1, I-33051 Aquileia, Italy
Opening hours: 8:30am-7:30pm; Mon: 8:30am-2pm
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €4.00, Concession or reduced rate €2.00, Child 17 & under FREE
The surroundings of Aquileia include the popular seaside resort of Grado and the little town of Palmanova.
South of Aquileia, on the spit of land south of the lagoon, the popular seaside resort of Grado (2m/7ft; pop. 9,650) can be found. Half way along the spit of land is the little fishing port, to the north lies the harbor canal, to the east, along the beautiful sandy beach (3km/2 mi long; hot sand baths), is the hotel and villa quarter. Grado came into being as the resort of Roman Aquileia when the Patriarch fled here in 568 to escape the Lombards. The cathedral of Sant'Eufemia was built during this period with a mosaic pavement, a Romanesque pulpit and a silver frontal (Venetian; 1372). To the left of the cathedral stands the Baptistery (5th century), and beyond this the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, with a mosaic pavement.
Lignano Sabbiadoro is the main community in the Lignano area, which is primarily a resort destination.
The little town of Palmanova (26m/86ft; pop. 5,600) is interesting because of its urban development. In 1593 it was built as a fort to a star-shaped nine-sided plan. The town can only be entered through one of the three gates. The Venetians built Palmanova as a bastion to protect them from the Habsburgs and the Turks. However, it was impossible to persuade more than 2,000 people to live in this artificial creation. An informative exhibition of the town's history can be seen in the Museo Civico Storico (Borgo Udine 4c).