November 14, 2014 – Cividale del Friuli

Today is the long awaited day of no rain. We pack up and get on the road from Ljubljana, Slovenia to Udine, Italy. Along the way we plan to stop at Cividale del Friuli, a town known for its Roman and Longobardo artifacts.

First we stop for some gas. Our diesel Peugeot has been getting really great mileage. Mostly I take this picture to show that there is actually blue sky.

Blue skies as John fills up the car
Blue skies as John fills up the car

We make our way across the border into Italy. There are no stern-looking crossing guards here. Just an EU Italia sign. Cividale del Friuli is not far over the border and we plan to see three sites – Tempietto Longobardo, the National Archaeological Museum and the Museo Cristiano. First up, the Tempietto Longobardo.

This small chapel from the 6th century has a few frescoes but is mostly known for the six enigmatic female figures high above the altar surrounding a window. The figures, slightly taller than life size, all have halos. The two next to the window point to it, a reference to Christ being the light. The other four hold the crown of martyrdom and the cross in their hands.

Tempietto Longobardo
Tempietto Longobardo

Female figures in the Tempietto Longobardo
Female figures in the Tempietto Longobardo

Moving along we visit the Christian Museum and Treasury of the Duomo. Here we see the striking altar of Ratchis built in the mid 8th century by the Lombard king to commemorate his father. The bas-relief carving is amazing.

Ratchis altar
Ratchis altar

Detail of Mary (with cross on her forehead) visitng Elizabeth
Detail of Mary (with cross on her forehead) visitng Elizabeth

Lunchtime!

Thus fortified we tackle the National Archaeological Museum. This museum features mostly Roman grave goods and relics.

We’ve had a good visit to Cividale del Friuli and now make our way to Udine where we will spend the next two nights.

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