Founded in 181 BC, Aquileia, a Unesco World Heritage Site, was one of the largest and richest cities of the Roman Empire, with a population as high as 100,000 at its peak. Aquileia was also an important centre for early Christianity and a patriarchate was founded here in the 4th century. Destroyed by Attila’s Huns in AD 452, the town never regained its former status, although the construction of the basilica in the 11th century ensured its religious importance for centuries. Aquileia was under Austrian rule from 1509 until 1918.
A relatively tiny town (with the largest Palaeo-Christian mosaic floor in Europe), Aquileia lies at the eastern end of the Venetian plains. Guided tours of its extraordinary Roman sights are organised by the tourist office (0431 91 94 91; www.aquileiaturismo.info in Italian; 9am-5pm) at the bus station and more information can be found at www.aquileia.it.
Last updated: Mar 2, 2009
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