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½ day

Aquileia was colonized in 181 B.C. with the purpose of creating a bridgehead for the Roman expansion into the Danube areas and as a defence of eastern borders. At the same time they wanted to boost the already flourishing trade between the eastern Mediterranean and the transalpine countries.
With the reform of Augustus (27 B.C.‒14 A.D), Aquileia became the capital of the region Venetia et Histria. This was a time of prosperity. Thanks to the navigable rivers and efficient network of roads, the trade was thriving. The population that lived inside the walls was cosmopolitan and ethnically very heterogeneous (Romans, Greeks, Syrians, Egyptians, Jews, Celts). It is estimated that Aquileia had 70,000-100,000 inhabitants at the end of the imperial age.
Aquileia became the centre for spreading Christianity. The decline began with the barbarian invasions in the 5th century and Attila’s devastation in 452. The final stroke came in 568 when the Lombards chose Forum Iulii (today Cividale del Friuli/Čedad) as the capital of their duchy. Aquileia thrived once again in the age of the Patriarchs (11th‒15th century) when it became a German estate of the Holy Roman Empire. With the arrival of the Republic of Venice in 1420, the Patriarchate of Aquileia lost the power, although it was suppressed for good only in 1751.
Since 1998, Aquileia has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list because of the archaeological importance and the beauty of the floor mosaics. It is possible to visit the remains of the Roman forum there, the necropolis, private dwellings with mosaic floors and the impressive structures of the ancient river port. Inside the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta you can admire the largest floor mosaic of the Western Christian world. Besides the Basilica complex, the Early Christian National Museum and the National Archaeological Museum have to be included in your visit.

Photos: (1) Matteo Lavazza Seranto, PromoTurismoFVG; (2) Massimo Crivellari, PromoTurismoFVG; (3, 4) Gianluca Baronchelli, PromoTurismoFVG

Access and useful info


Aquileia Infopoint
Via Giulia Augusta 11
I–33051 Aquileia (UD)
+39 0431 919491

Hiking Biking Families Researchers Groups
½ day


½ day

GPS coordinates

45.769536, 13.370426

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