Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta in Aquileia
Wanted by Bishop Theodore
in 313, after the edict of Constantine, the basilica was built originally as a double classroom building, but the plant was changed shortly after a Latin cross and three naves.
The construction continued to grow until the arrival of the Huns of Attila, which devastated the city and decimated the population, destroying part of the basilica complex.
The restructuring occurred in the Carolingian era, by Patriarch Maxentius
, starting dall'811, to which are due even the so-called Church of the Gentiles
and the Baptistery
, but still damaged by an earthquake in 988.
The building was then largely rebuilt in the century XI, in Romanesque style, and enriched with the imposing bell tower
73 meters high, built with marble recovered from the ancient amphitheater, which later became the model of local church towers.
Restored after the earthquake of 1348, the church presents some additions of Gothic roots, to which Renaissance style elements were added during the Venetian period, and in particular the great wooden ceiling.
Beginning of the century IV, however, remains the magnificent mosaic floor
depicting allegorical scenes of the Holy Scriptures, which combine the new Christian symbolism in a fine naturalistic representation, closer to Hellenistic models.
The exceptional state of preservation is due to the fact that since medieval times was covered by overlapping wood, being brought to light only in 1909.
Symbols of Christianity abound in various shapes of fish, while allegories of heaven and eternal life are offered by the birds on the branches and portraits of the seasons, and some more, the Church is represented in the images of the good shepherd surrounded by flocks of each breed and of fishermen who cast their nets.
On the right aisle in the back, is the Chapel of St. Ambrose
, wanted by the Della Torre
family, which gave the city four patriarchs, three of them buried in the Basilica, in monumental tomb arks.
Of great relief is the Crypt of Excavations
, which is an archaeological stratification starting from the remains of a domus suburban
of Augustan age, and then the Crypt of the Frescoes
, of the century XII, and the so-called Holy Sepulcher
, built in imitation of that in Jerusalem.