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  • Exterior view of the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta

    Photo by Stefano Merle licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr

  • Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta, Aquileia

  • Cividale

  • Trieste

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  • Visit the city's remarkable basilica with its sequence of 4th century mosaics

  • Explore the cobbled streets and courtyards of Grado, home to historical churches with 6th century mosaics

  • Discover the medieval Duomo in Cividale, high above the Natisone River

"We visited wonderful places in a part of Italy that is not so well known. Andrew’s knowledge and enthusiasm made our visits special with his pre-visit talks and on-site guidance put across with good humour in addition to his in-depth knowledge of the places we were seeing”

ACE customer on a 2022 Aquileia: City of Antiquity tour with Andrew Wilson

Aquileia, once described by Emperor Justinian as “the greatest of all towns in the West”, is today a little known but important Roman city perched on the Adriatic coastline. As a hugely important strategic city in the Roman Empire during the 1st century AD, Aquileia served as a crossroads, with a wide trading network between Rome and the East.


From 182 BC, when it became a Roman colony amid the local Gallic peoples, until the arrival of Huns, Goths and Lombards in the late imperial and early medieval period, Aquileia was revered for its military and economic assets as well as its cultural and spiritual magnificence. Our tour takes in the tranquil cypress-lined forum and harbour, delights in themselves, but the city’s crowning glory is contained within its magnificent basilica, a remarkable sequence of 4th century mosaics that provide some of the oldest and most illustrious Paleochristian memoirs in Western Europe.


Nearby, we journey to the beautifully situated town of Grado, a maze of cobbled streets and courtyards with splendid mosaics from the 6th century located in two of its historical churches. Cividale is located high above the Natisone River, and although little remains of this important Roman town (its original name of Forum Iulii gives the modern region of Friuli its name), we will explore the fine medieval Duomo, whose foundations date back to the 8th century, and the lovely Lombard Temple from the same period.


Our final excursion is to the enchanting seaport of Trieste. A cultural meeting-point throughout its history, today the city is the site of interesting Austro-Hungarian architecture alongside superb Byzantine mosaics, a Roman theatre and the medieval Castello di San Giusto. 


The tour will be based at the four-star Astoria Hotel Italia in the city of Udine, where there is a superb Duomo, and two interesting art galleries, including a pictorial cycle by the Venetian artist Tiepolo.


This tour will be led by Andrew Wilson, BA, BD, FSAScot. Andrew studied archaeology then theology before working overseas as an archaeologist, specialising in Roman frontier systems and Byzantine mosaics. He has led many tours for ACE in the Greco-Roman world, and also several in Britain, with a particular emphasis on the archaeology of his native Scotland.

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