Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta

Aquileia, Italy

Aquileia, one of the largest and wealthiest cities of the Early Roman Empire, was destroyed by Attila in the mid-5th century. The patriarchal basilica, an outstanding building with an exceptional mosaic pavement, played a key role in the evangelization of a large region of central Europe.

The architectural development of the Basilica of Aquileia, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the saints Hermagora and Fortunatus, started immediately after 313 AD. In that period the Edict of Milan put an end to religious persecution and the Christian community was legally able to build its first place of public worship. In the following centuries, after the destruction of this first church, seat of a bishopric, the inhabitants of Aquileia built it up again other four times, using each time the structures of the previous buildings: Theodorian Hall, first half of the 4th century; Post-Theodorian North, middle of the 4th century; Post-Theodorian South, end of the 4th century or after the middle of the 5th century; hall of Maxentius, 9th century; Poppo's church, first half of the 11th century; rebuilding of the upper part of the church by Markward von Randeck, from the pointed arches to the roof, 14th-15th century.

The Basilica, as it is today, is in Romanesque-Gothic style. The entire floor is a wonderful coloured mosaic of the 4th century, brought to light in the years 1909-1912. With its 760 square metres the floor is the largest Paleo-Christian mosaic of the western world. The mosaic was partly damaged due to the construction of the columns flanking the right side at the end of the 4th century according to some scholars and after the middle of the 5th century according to others.

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Founded: c. 313 AD
Category: Religious sites in Italy

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Stephan Lamprecht (2 years ago)
Amazing mosaic, a must see!
Lorenzo (2 years ago)
Worth the 3/5€ according to the selected ticket (1 or 2 catacombs). Lots of different mosaics (the biggest of Europe) and interesting paintings.
Roberto Visintini (3 years ago)
Superb example of Christian Basilica with ancient mosaics in an archeological park of roman remnants.
Iris Mueck (3 years ago)
We hit that place upon our bicycle tour September 17th 2018. A short but impressive visit. Our bicycles have to put far aside. It seems that service personal do not like bikers. The basilica is very close to the bike trail towards Grado.
CJ Johnson (3 years ago)
Excellent mosaics! Worth a visit if you are driving to Trieste. A nice setup to view the mosaics without damaging them. TIP: If you see a group of school children walk around the grounds while they are inside so you can enjoy the quiet.
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