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  • Roman mosaic at Grado

  • Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta

  • Aquileia forum

  • Marble statue of Christ in Aquileia

    Image by Massimo Virgilio via Unsplash

  • Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta interior

  • Trieste Cathedral

    Image by Viola Kovács via Unsplash

Fitness / Practicalities
Tour Director

  • 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

“The itinerary was well designed and offered a banquet of wonderful visits to such impressive sites”

– ACE customer on a 2023 Aquileia: City of Antiquity tour

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 expert in ancient history, Jamie Sewell, PhD. Jamie has many years’ experience supervising excavations across Europe, including in Italy, and he has authored a book and many articles on the archaeology of towns in Hellenistic Italy and the broader Mediterranean. His ongoing research is focused on how and why larger settlements in Italy transformed as a result of the Roman conquest of the peninsula. Jamie has lectured at Durham University and Humboldt University in Berlin, and has more than a decade’s experience working as a historical guide.


Back-to-back tour opportunity

Customers travelling on this tour may also wish to consider booking on our Roman & Byzantine Ravenna tour, which will run in close proximity to this tour, from September 15-19, 2025. Contact the ACE office or click the link below for more information:


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Included: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, five breakfasts, five dinners with wine, water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.

Not Included: travel insurance, single room supplement £135, double room for single use supplement £185.

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