Today, Aquileia is a town smaller than the colony first founded by Rome. Over the centuries, sieges, earthquakes, floods, and pillaging of the ancient buildings for materials means that no edifices of the Roman period remain above ground. The site of Aquileia, believed to be the largest Roman city yet to be excavated, is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Excavations, however, have revealed some of the layout of the Roman town such as a segment of a street, the north-west angle of the town walls, the river port, and the former locations of baths, of an amphitheater, of a Circus, of a cemetery, of the Via Sacra, of the forum, and of a market. The National Archaeological Museum contains over 2,000 inscriptions, statues and other antiquities, mosaics, as well as glasses of local production and a numismatics collection.
The most striking remains of the Roman city are those of the port installations, a long row of warehouses and quays that stretch along the bank of the river. These were incorporated into the 4th century defences, substantial traces of which can be seen today.
The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality 'Ragusa Superiore' (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city 'Ragusa Inferiore' (Lower Ragusa). The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused together to become a provincial capital in 1927.