Day 216: Daytrip to ItalySeptember 18, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C
Rested up from yesterday, we decided today would be the day for heading back into Italy and visiting our last couple of sites. It looked like the weather was going to hold, so we hopped into the car and headed off.
Drove back across the border, past Trieste and firstly to the town of Palmanova. This is one of the "Venetian Works of Defence" sites, a small fortress town situated strategically on a plain between the mountains and the Adriatic, meant as a bulwark against the Ottoman empire in the east. The town when viewed from above forms an almost perfect nine-pointed star, though it was admittedly harder to see that from ground level.
It was clearly heavily fortified though, with several rings of walls, moats and gates. We did some filming then walked into the centre of town. Here there are six main roads leading to each of the gates, all of which meet in the precise centre marked by an obelisk in a large plaza. Unfortunately for us it was market day, so the plaza was full of stalls selling cheap clothes and handbags. Thankfully no tourist tat though, and we only saw one other couple who looked like tourists.
Just a fairly short stop, I grabbed a coffee as we walked back to the car and drove about 25 minutes south to the town of Aquileia. This was a completely new site, with Roman ruins and a very early Christian basilica from around the 4th century. Apparently Aquileia was a hugely important settlement in the first couple of hundred years AD, with something like a hundred thousand inhabitants, though you'd hardly know it these days. Many Roman emperors stayed there, and it was an important trading crossroads as well.
There's not much left of it, some remains of the Forum, a fascinating harbour and riverfront area (though the river has long since dried up), some old villas and houses, and of course the basilica. The mosaic floor inside the basilica, dating from the 6th century, was absolutely incredible and easily the highlight of the day. You weren't supposed to take photographs but I might have snuck in a few cheeky video clips.
Suitably impressed, we stopped for lunch at a nearby cafe where we had paninis, another short look around before finishing our filming and heading back to Koper. Another quiet evening in, doing some work and a bit of relaxing.Read more