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


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Rey Rey (9 months ago)
Italy is a country of historical beauties and this Cattedrale is undoubtedly one of them. As soon as one enters the building is immediately overwhelmed by history: the view of the soffit and of the floors, covered by mosaics, is truly breathtaking. When admiring this church you can “touch” the architectural, engineering and artistic ability of our ancestors: these treasures have withstood over a millennium (even more, when considering the original layers dating from B.C.). The building basement is a surprise of mosaics and there it’s really astonishing how, through small tiles, those artists were able to depict amazing subjects, such as animals, faces and various objects. Just a small suggestion: the descriptions of the mosaics made on the handrails, has it is done, is not a very clever solutions, since most of the writings have gone.
Khatule Ella (9 months ago)
I visited in summer 2022. So nice place with long time history . You should to visit when you come Italia . Nice park - Church - environment . ❤️
Luca A. (11 months ago)
Beautiful old roman basilica. Lots of students visiting, nice park and green area on site. In front of the tower you can find the typical roman statue of Romulus und Remus. The clock on the tower was hammered right in the stone. You get a more authentic feeling of a roman town and old times.
Andrew Grosser (2 years ago)
It was interesting to see the various levels built on one another in the basilica. I was impressed with the different mosaics and the different eras of architecture as the buildings grew and developed. A couple problems were that the glass floors fogged up in places making it difficult to see certain parts of the mosaics, and that there were some areas not quite finished - but it is a beautiful building and worth visiting.
Katrin Christianson (2 years ago)
I return here around three times a year. It never gets old (no pun intended). It IS magnificent and very old - amazing mosaics the likes of which will simply astound you. The scale of them can’t be described. I’ve added a very small sampling of which there are much more. It’s the oldest known Christian establishment that is mostly intact. Stunningly preserved - wonderfully displayed in its original state. Truly a must see if you are in the area.
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