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

Turai Tamás (2 months ago)
Rare religious, historical site in lovely setting. By all means worth a little detour.
S B (3 months ago)
Very nice to see. Suggest you get the FVG card for the ferry from Grado to Triest and it also includes all in Aquileia.
Daniel De Luca (3 months ago)
Amazing mosaics. Very impressive..
Francesco Paganelli (4 months ago)
The Basilica has an amazing mosaic floor and two cripts, one of which has beautiful frescoes, that are not included in the standard tickets (you can add them or not when you buy your entries. I personally don't know the price of tickets but it's free for art history/architecture students, and there's a pass called "FVG Card Aquileia" that for the price of 15€, or less if you're under 18y/o, gives you access to the Basilica and the two cripts, the baptistery and two other mosaic exposition).
Jamie Ng (8 months ago)
"Aquileia's layers are dense. A cultural city at the crossroads of religions, this was one of the biggest, most important and liveliest hubs of the Roman Empire. The site is an artistic and historical treasure trove. Founded in 181 BC and destroyed in 452 AD by Attila the Hun, the site’s basilica and floor mosaics date to the beginning of the 4th century. Excavations have brought to light the remains of the Roman forum and a basilica, a burial ground, house foundations and more. Marvel at one of the world’s best collections of ancient art underfoot, but stay for the region's beauty and deep heritage."
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