Roman Aquileia

The ruins of the Roman colony of Aquileia, once the fourth largest Roman city in Italy, lie under and around the peaceful modern town and its splendid Early Christian basilica church. Where the amphitheatre once stood, citizens now hoe their vegetable patches and tend their sweet peas. It is all incredibly atmospheric. The town also boasts one of the finest archaeological museums in the country, full of exceptionally interesting artefacts, not least some exquisite pieces made of the Baltic amber for which Aquileia was once a key trading centre. It is easy to spend a full day and more here. The tree-lined walk along the quayside of the old Roman river port is not to be missed. Nor is the Sepolcreto, a quiet enclosure containing five family tombs of the 1st–2nd centuries. After seeing the museum, stop off for a glass of local Malvasia wine in the Attila Scourge of God (Attila Flagellum Dei) wine bar on the opposite side of the street. If you need somewhere to say, the simple, no-frills, friendly Aquila Nera is recommended. It is extremely good value and they offer a good dinner.

Detail of the tomb stele of a blacksmith
IN AGR P XXX: a grave enclosure measuring 30 feet in depth, with foot, exactly one Roman foot long

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