The Basilica complex is interesting in itself, showing the range of developments you might expect on a site which has been a church for such a very long time. But the highlight here is mosaic floor of the nave. Cleverly, a transparent walkway has been raised above the floor so that visitors can see the mosaics without damaging them. I was struck by the portraits of benefactors from the Romano-Christian period - clearly you could see them as individuals. The sea mosaic reminds us that Aquileia was an important port for many years.
Don't miss the crypts. It's not too expensive to enter both of them, but if you have to choose one, go for the bigger one (near the main entrance) which takes you round the foundations of the huge bell tower. Here you see more extraordinary mosaics, more secular as some relate to the remains of homes rather than church buildings. You get an extraordinary sense of an area which was built on again and again over a long period of time - layers upon layers. The other crypt has frescoes with some interesting references to the early days of the Christian church in the area but they are quite faded. Do please remember that the Basilica is to be treated as a holy place and quiet is expected - every time the murmur of voices got a bit loud there was an annoyed lady over a tannoy asking for silence, followed by a chorus of "shhhh"! Outside the basilica there is a little cafe which sold delicious slices of pizza and, even better, a sort of pasty made of pizza dough and filled with ham, tomato and smoked ricotta.
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