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The archaeological site of Aquileia

A journey back in time

About this place

Aquileia was an important and rich city of the Roman Empire, and thanks to countless archaeological excavations, this unique and historically rich place has returned to its former glory and can be visited in its entirety. Its archaeological area offers the privilege of exploring the Roman forum, domus and the remains of buildings with various functions, and of admiring the splendid floor mosaics that made it famous. In 1998, the archaeological area of Aquileia was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Aquileia is a popular destination for all travelers and is an important stopping place on the Alpe Adria Cycle Route, which runs through it.

Why visit

01.

Unique archaeological site

Aquileia has been designated a UNESCO site for its historical and archaeological value, and for some unique finds, such as the amazing floor mosaics.

02.

Much to visit

The archaeological area of Aquileia is very extensive and extremely rich. It is recommended to visit it entirely, walking through the excavations, entering the Basilica, the Domus of Titus and the museums.

03.

For everyone, all year round

A visit to Aquileia is a must for anyone traveling to Friuli Venezia Giulia. The area is large, but the trails are suitable for everyone and all ages. In addition, Aquileia can be visited all year round.

What to see in Aquileia

The 155-hectare archaeological area includes the Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia, the Domus of Titus Macro, the Roman forum, the river port, the National Archaeological Museum, the Early Christian Museum, baths, luxurious residential complexes, and many other remains. Aquileia had great historical significance; it was one of the largest and richest cities in the Roman Empire and one of the capitals of Friuli, so much so that the region’s coat of arms traces that of Roman Aquileia.
The area is vast and the findings are many. Wanting to explore all the excavations and visit the museums requires a half day.

AT A GLANCE

Aquileia

The Basilica

Since 300 A.D., the Aquileian Basilica played a crucial role in the history of Christianity, and its interior contains unique works representing different eras.

The crypt of the frescoes

The crypt is entirely frescoed, including its columns, with stories from the lives of St. Mark and St. Hermacor, and the lives of Jesus and Mary.

The Baptistery of the Basilica

In the Baptistery Hall is the hexagonal-shaped baptismal font with the six columns at the vertices.

The crypt of the excavations

The scene of the fight between the rooster and the turtle, a symbol of the struggle between light and darkness, is preserved here.

The river port

The quay and the remains of walls and warehouses evoke the importance of this port to which ships came from all over the Mediterranean.

The Roman forum

Explore the heart of the city, observing its architecture and discovering the functions of various buildings.

The Domus of Titus Macro

Enter a 1500 sq. m. private house and learn about domestic life in Roman times.

The Archaeological Museum

Learn about the history of a civilization and discover how it was unearthed.

Roman houses and oratories

A guided tour leads to the discovery of the remains of residential buildings and two oratories.

The Cemetery of Heroes

The cemetery of the fallen of World War I, where hundreds of soldiers rest. Here is the tomb to the Ten Unknown Soldiers, buried in 1921.

The episcopal palace

The 5th-century episcopal palace was part of the representative residence of the bishop of Aquileia.

Observing the excavations

The vestiges of the past unearthed testify to the cultural richness of the ancient city.

The mosaics

The basilica's splendid floor mosaic stretches over 760 square meters and is the largest in the entire Western Roman Empire.

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The Basilica of Aquileia

As of today, the basilica of Aquileia features Romanesque-Gothic architecture, but it previously had 5 other lives, from 300 AD, when it was built, to the 14th/15th centuries. It was subjected, in fact, to successive reconstructions that overlapped the previous ones; it went from Theodorian Basilica, to Fortunaziana, Chromaziana, Massenziana and Poponiana. Visiting the basilica shows evidence of historical changes. Just think of the splendid floor mosaic from the 4th century, topped by the wooden hull ceiling dating from the 15th century.

AN EMBLEM OF CHRISTIANITY

In its long history, the basilica has always been a strong point of reference for the faithful, and it was from the Aquileian church that Christianity spread beyond Friuli Venezia Giulia to Central and Eastern Europe.

The interior of the basilica

MOSAICS.

Around 1910, one of the most amazing polychrome mosaic floors in the world was unearthed. The depictions feature geometric patterns as well as humans, plants and animals.

THE CRIPTS.

The Crypt of Frescoes is entirely frescoed with stories from the lives of Jesus and Mary, the lives of St. Mark and St. Hermacor, and with figures of saints. The Excavation Crypt preserves many symbolic depictions, such as the fight scene between the rooster and the turtle, which symbolize light and darkness.

THE BAPTISTERY

Pregnant with significance is the Baptistery Hall: in the center is the hexagonal-shaped baptismal font with six columns at its vertices.

LA SÜDHALLE

Next to the Baptistery is the Südhalle, with the floor mosaic consisting of three sections. A mosaic fragment with an effigy of a peacock, an allegory of resurrection, can be seen here.

The river port

Aquileia was an important seaport of entry to Italy. Domestically produced goods were transported by land or river, and then traded with merchant vessels that came from all over the Mediterranean Sea.
The river port was nearly 50 meters wide and ships of small or large tonnage docked there. The quay, the remains of walls and warehouses, and mooring rings can be seen there. Carvings can be seen on the quay sidewalk; they are parts of play patterns used as a pastime by sailors.

The Roman Forum

The Roman forum was the heart of the city and the center of public life, where inhabitants gathered and shared daily chatter and vicissitudes. In the forum one can distinguish the plaza and porticoes, columns and pavements, and also depictions and inscriptions.

The national archaeological museum

Founded in 181 BC, Aquileia was the capital of the 10th Augustan region and an ecclesiastical province of the Christian church. The city was very rich, and artifacts found over the years are collected and displayed at the National Archaeological Museum. The museum is spread over three floors, divided by thematic areas, such as, for example, the history of Aquileia, excavations, architectural features of public and private spaces, production activities, and others.

Roman houses and oratories

Through a guided tour, the remains of some of the buildings used for living and floor mosaics can be seen. The remains of wells and dwellings can also be seen.
Two early Christian oratories are also located within the complex.

The Domus of Titus Macro

Titus Macros was the owner of this very large urban Roman house. The domus measures 1,500 square meters, has an indoor garden, a fountain, 5 workshops, and a large reception hall. Thanks to the map, it is possible to visit the various rooms, learn about their function, and find out what the impluvium, tablinum, and triclinium are.
The domus opened its doors to the public on Feb. 1, 2023, an overlay for visiting Aquileia.

Services and information

PARKING

The archaeological area has paid parking and an RV parking area.
Free parking lots can also be found within 10 to 15 minutes.

OPENING HOURS

The archaeological area can be visited all year round, opening at 09:00 and closing varying according to the season, indicatively in the late afternoon. The Domus of Titus, the Basilica, and the museums have different opening hours, which you should check on the official Aquileia website or the National Archaeological Museum website.

ENTRY AND COST
  • Free: the Early Christian Museum, the Roman forum, the river port, and the open-air area of the excavations are free to visit.
  • Fee: Basilica, Domus di Tito Macro, National Archaeological Museum, Episcopal Palace.

The entrance fee varies depending on the area to be visited. Wanting to visit them all, it is advisable to choose the FVG card, with which, at a cost of 15 euros (reduced to 7 euros among 12-18 year olds), you get full access.

SERVICES

PromoTurismoFvg and other guides organize guided tours, scheduled and non-scheduled, in Italian and English. An audio guide can be purchased on site. On the official website you can download the Visit Kit, i.e., the guidebook, map and other publications in Italian and English, free of charge in pdf.
Aquileia is crossed by the Alpe Adria Cycle Route, from Salzburg to Grado.
There are several bars and restaurants in the area, and a campsite.

For updated schedules, prices and information, visit the official Aquileia Archaeological National website.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Aquileia is located in the province of Udine, about 40 km south of the city, and 10 km from Grado, an elegant and historic seaside town.

Aquileia is famous for its vast and rich archaeological area from Roman times and the remains of the splendid mosaics.

The visit to Aquileia is informative and interesting. It is definitely recommended to see all spaces; therefore, it is recommended to purchase the global ticket.

Contact the infopoint

Through this section you can contact the Aquileia infopoint directly. Explorer FVG does not handle responses, nor is it responsible for the information exchanged in these conversations.

For information:

Aquileia InfoPoint
Julia Augusta Street, 11
33051 Aquileia (UD)

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