domenica 21 luglio 2024

A record year for the UNESCO site of Friuli

The future is in Aquileia

Decumanus of Aratria Galla courtesy Aquleia Foundation - photo © N. Oleotto
P.M. - 24/01/2024
After a 2023 which marked a record number of visitors (+15%) in its cultural sites with 373,909 accesses, 260,636 tickets sold (Basilica, National Archaeological Museum and Early Christian Museum, Episcopal Domus and Domus of Tito Macro) and more than 113 thousand admissions to the archaeological areas, Aquileia is aiming for 2024 with a rich program of events.

The "fourth most important city of the Roman Empire", fresh from the celebrations for the 25th anniversary of its entry into the list of Italian UNESCO world heritage sites, presented its projects for the new year.

The major summer events have been confirmed, anticipated by the Night of the Museums on 18 May, with the European Days of Archeology (15-16 June) and of Heritage (28-29 September) with the "open days" of the excavation sites, the extraordinary openings, the initiatives at the Archaeological Museum, at the Early Christian Museum and in the Basilica, experimental archaeology, concerts and theatrical walks.

On June 20th the solstice concert will be held at dawn in the ancient river port of Aquileia. From 21 to 23 June the great historical re-enactment Tempora in Aquileia will return, which for three days will bring Aquileia back to the atmosphere of two thousand years ago; the meeting between archaeology, cinema and dissemination will enliven the fifteenth edition of the Aquileia Film Festival from 30 July to 2 August with the usual public screenings in Piazza Capitolo.

“We have recently made the decision – explained the mayor of the Friulian city Emanuele Zorino – that for Aquileia 2024 will be the year of peace, with events and intiatives – which will start with the concert of Italian artist Noa on May 17 - and actions that will highlight the role of Aquileia as a promoter of unity, respecting diversity, also in view of GO!2025, where thanks to the collaboration with the Municipalities of Nova Gorica and Gorizia we are preparing important initiatives, worthy of a unique territory center of the Culture of the Peoples of Europe”.

The concert season in the Basilica of Aquileia is also rich with events, always with free admission, from 29 June to September, while on 23 March a cultural and musical walk will be organized at dawn in the basilica on the occasion of the spring equinox.

The National Archaeological Museum confirms the direction already traced with cycles of conferences which will open on 25 January with a meeting dedicated to the large funerary monument reconstructed in the museum garden, the first of a series of conferences dedicated to recent restoration interventions, organized in collaboration with the Aquileia Foundation, which will continue on 1 and 8 February. Furthermore, the #domenicalmuseo initiative continues this year too, which provides free entry every first Sunday of the month to the National Archaeological Museum.

“The results achieved in 2023 - explained the president of the Fondazione Aquileia Roberto Corciulo - arise from the close synergy with local bodies and associations in the name of those values for which UNESCO has recognized Aquileia as a World Heritage Site”.

The foundation has created a coordination table with the National Archaeological Museum, Foundation for the Conservation of the Basilica of Aquileia, Archdiocese of Gorizia, Region and Promoturismo Fvg, and has also involved many local associations with their volunteers (over 350) and economic stakeholders and citizens of the area with the aim of giving life to the projects that animate Aquileia.

Many projects in pipeline, the most important of which will be the ambitious east-west connection route which will allow the port area and the Via Sacra to be united, the forum, the decumanus of Aratria Galla and potentially also reach the theater site and the Great Baths, up to the Sepolcreto, with a completely accessible route that does not interfere with vehicular traffic.

Finally, a last and no less important news, confirmed by the director of Fondazione Aquileia archaeologist Cristiano Tiussi, concerns the extension from 1 to 5 months of the excavation and research projects, which will involve the most important universities of Friuli (Udine and Trieste) as well as the universities of Padua, Verona and Venice to carry on the fundamental work of "hands on earth" research to continue to reveal the wonders hidden in the Aquileia area.

“The Foundation - concluded president Corciulo - today manages a total area of 25 hectares. It is an important, but not exhaustive, portion of the area once occupied by Aquileia when it was a fundamental crossroads and one of the most important cities of the Roman Empire". It is estimated that the total area of the Roman city was equal to 90 hectares within the walls and 40 hectares outside. “There is still a great heritage, and perhaps 80% of what was Aquileia is still to be discovered” Corciulo said. A good omen for the future of one of the historically most important cultural and tourist destinations in Northern Italy and the whole of Europe.