Being a tourist in Aquileia – 3/30/17

We stop at the information spot and rent headphones and a map which will take us all around Aquileia supplying us with endless facts about ancient and paleo-Christian times. Our first stop is at the Paleo-Christian Museum.

Here are a few facts about this museum. They are only open on Thursday mornings, they have very few visitors and hardly any Italians we are told, the museum is not on the audio tour, and there are no signs in English. There is, however, a sweet lady who is willing to talk your ear off in slow Italian. Sarah says she has taken a student course (Rosetta Stone) in Italian so we get a LOT of Italian commentary. Sarah does a great job but the Rosetta Stone Italian course does not deal with intricacies of our subject matter. I wander away after a while but John and Sarah keep saying “si” and nodding their heads. I know that at most they are picking out one or two words per sentence. Anyway, it is all interesting in a sort of garbled Italian way and we surely make the docent’s day. She and I even commiserate about our ginocchio (knee). That is one Italian word I know!

Ruins of 11th century monastery built over 4th century monastery, built over Roman building
Mosaic of a phoenix
Floor near presbyteria
Poignant grave marker of a father to his son – poor people could not afford professional carvers so they made the markers with pictures drawn by themselves

Finally we disattach from the docent and go over to the Patriarchal Basilica. It is built on a Roman house in the 4th century AD and rebuilt after Attila’s invasion in 452. Then rebuilt again after a series of earthquakes and consecrated in 1031. Some of it was rebuilt again in the late 1300’s after another earthquake.

Patriarchal Basilica with later bell tower.
Interior of Basilica with its vast mosaic floor.

We are no longer allowed to take pictures but I have some from a while ago and ancient things tend to stay the same.

Along with the mosaic floor there are some other great things to see…

12th century bas-relief of Christ between St. Peter and Thomas of Canterbury
Crypt below church showing the patron saints Ermagora and Fortunato being beheaded and buried

All these ruins have made us hungry so we stop in at L’aquileia Nera, a nearby cafe. We start with a big salad and then have various local dishes.

After lunch Sarah goes exploring on her own while we relax. We meet up again at 3:30 to explore the Archeological Museum. The audio tour does a poor job explaining the collection and one floor is closed so we do the best we can with the Italian and spend some time in their vast gardens of Roman ruins.

Beautiful decoration from a Roman house.
Stone cinerary containers chiseled to look like baskets
Roman hipster
Unfortunately much of the collection is like this (cinerary lids)…
or worse just a jumble like this.

Dinner tonight is at Al forno. It is not as good as we remember.

 

 

 

 

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