Gordon: Have you ever heard of the city of Aquileia? Neither had I, but in the second century AD it was the second largest city in Roman Italy. Attila the Hun gave it pride of place in his depredations in Italy, almost completely destroying the city in the middle of the fifth century. It never recovered as more than a small city thereafter.
What has been left behind is the largest set of Roman ruins to be excavated outside of Rome. Most prominent among these are a fourth century mosaic that covers the floor of the basilica. At 750 square meters it is simply enormous, and the quality of the work is outstanding. The basilica also has a crypt with 12th century frescoes.
Aquileia is the end of the short Via Flavia (we covered it in two days) and the beginning of the Via Postumia, which we will follow all the way to Genoa. Both of these names come from historic Roman roads.
It is wonderful to be in Italy. There are so many treasures to see, many in towns, like Aquileia, that we are unfamiliar with. Our first couple of days in Italy were in the foothills of the Alps, but today we were on land as flat as the Netherlands. We met countless groups of cyclists cruising this historic and bike friendly region.
And the food … OMG it’s delicious. We have had some amazing plates of pasta. The quality of the ingredients simply can’t be matched in Canada.