Routes / AQUILEIA, GRADO, PALMANOVA
The city full of attractions has been in the first century of the Christian era a great metropolis of perhaps a hundred thousand inhabitants. The tourist will be impressed by the imposing ruins of the forum of the imperial age with adjoining basilica; then in front of the port facilities will have to use fantasy and image, instead of current stream, a river, nearly fifty meters wide which led from open sea the ships up to the market of Aquileia. We will see mosaic floors, where stood houses and tombs, statues of immortal emperors in the impressive Archaeological Museum. But the jewel of Aquileia remains the patriarchal basilica, which has spanned the centuries accumulating, inside but also outside, works of art summarizing 17 centuries of stylistic evolution. Do not miss the mosaics dating from the fourth century and the great apse fresco, dating back to the Bavarian patriarch Poppone (11th century) and built by craftsmen from across the Alps.
Known as a seaside resort, deserves more credit, and a curious visit. Gradus (=port in latin) is set as the satellite city of the Roman Aquileia then it develops at the time of the barbarian invasions, to rival its neighbour (at time of the two patriarchs). The decline begins when in the twelfth century the patriarch of Grado moved to Venice; but first the centre enriched with valuable basilicas St. Eufemia and the nearby S. Maria delle Grazie that may be the only early Christian churches remained intact in the peninsula. Not far away is the birthplace of the greatest poet in Italian dialect of the twentieth century Biagio Marin. Not to be missed, on the first Sunday of July, the »Perdòn of Barbana« a spectacular procession of boats from the city centre to the homonym sanctuary.
Symbol of the power and the far-sightedness of Venice , as well as work of art itself , the fortress of Palma begins to be built in 1593, twenty years after the battle of Lepanto under the direction of Giulio Savorgnan. Also due to the incessant rains the building will last three decades. It is hard to realize, if not from above, the star-shaped fortress city, but the three gates and bastions are a fascinating surprise for tourists. Along one of three main road we reach the central square, where stands the majestic baroque cathedral, attributed in the past to Scamozzi. Soon, perhaps, Palmanova, like Aquileia, will be inserted to the list of UNESCO heritage.
Duration: all day
Difficulty: this itinerary is not particularly difficult. We recommended comfortable clothing for the visit of Aquleia and the walk in the river port of roman epoch. For entrance into churches to the ladies is recommended to have brought a shawl.