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Trade, invasions, and forts along a Frontier area

In this short tour, we visit outstanding sites which offer exceptional testimony about life along a frontier area. As the epicentre of a number of Roman roads and with its fluvial port, Aquileia was a hugely important centre of trade, bringing goods from the Baltic and the East to Italy. Its advantageous position not only helped make Aquileia a commercial centre but also was central in making it a principal fortress protecting Italy from central Europe. It is for this reason, that Diocletian and other late antique emperors sojourned here.

Archaeologically, Aquileia is a treasure trove, being one of the most important Roman sites north of the Po, with its splendidly preserved fluvial port, the remains of elite domus and its superb artefacts which are preserved in its important archaeological museum. Not far, the city of Trieste, which today looks as central European as it does Italian, was conquered by Romans in the 2nd century BC and became a colony a hundred years later, after its conquest of Histria. A city built along a frontier, it was important commercially because of its port and because it lay along the Via Gemina which linked Aquileia to Emona, modern Lubjana, and from thence to Carnuntum, near Vienna, in what was the first part of the Amber Route. Likewise, it was important as a castrum, a military fort, which protected Italy from central European incursions. Although Trieste is a bustling, elegant city which has seen many building campaigns in modern times, it preserves precious evidence of its ancient past, notably the forum and its well-preserved Roman theatre. While Aquileia and Trieste stood as bulwarks against incursions, it is the invasion of Lombards, a migrant Germanic people who settled in Italy in the end of the 6th century BC, which has most shaped Cividale del Friuli. As the one of the earliest centres of Lombard power in Italy, Cividale is a World Heritage Site for its Lombard remains, including its unique Lombard Temple, refashioned in the medieval period, and its eighth century Altar of Ratchis and Baptistery of Calixtus.

This is a tour concerned with the interface between different peoples in a frontier area based in the charming town of Grado, located in the lagoon and the repository of immigrants escaping invasions in the late antique period.   

Tour highlights:

  • Explore the world class sites in Aquileia, including the well-preserved river port and the unique Paleochristian Basilica
  • Examine the Roman and Paleochristian remains in the elegant city of Trieste
  • Walk along the medieval arteries of the charming Grado and consider its splendid Paleochristian churches
  • Consider the unique Lombard remains in Cividale, including the amazing Lombard Temple

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Tour dates & prices

Included in your cost:

  • Expert Guide Lecturer
  • Professional Tour Manager
  • Local travel aboard a private air-conditioned coach
  • Meals as per the itinerary, wine and tea or coffee with dinner
  • Accommodation
  • All taxes & gratuities
  • Field notes
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