We had a beautiful Saturday with nothing planned, so we decided to jump in the car and head east to a little town called Aquileia. It is a small town near the Adriatic Sea and was once a colony of the Roman empire. It's only about an hour's drive from here, and we had heard about the Basilica being a point of interest. Besides that, it was near IKEA, and I needed to make a trip there for some house items, so we were killing two birds with one stone.
The Basilica was worth the drive. I think even the kids were impressed (in spite of the cold, did I mention it was near the sea, and the winds were chilly)
The entire floor of the church was covered in mosaics started in the 4th century. After having made mosaic figures for a nativity this past Christmas, we were all impressed with the amount of work and creativity that went into this project.
The pictures above show just the middle of the hall, there are mosaics under our feet, and behind each set of columns. And there were even more underneath the bell tower in a crypt.
We walked on a raised glass platform throughout and just enjoyed looking at the pictures. There were depictions of Jonah being thrown into the sea, of him being eaten by the sea monster, of him being spit out by the sea monster and of him under a tree. There were depictions of Jesus and disciples in a boat with nets overflowing with fish. Another was this picture of a tortoise and a cock.
This is an ancient depiction of light (the cock) defeating the dark (the tortoise), and there were at least two different places with this design.
Since the town was a Roman colony, there are not surprisingly some Roman ruins to spy as well. We walked along this path and enjoyed looking at some of them...mostly we enjoyed noticing that on the other side of the fence from these ancient ruins are some soccer fields.
Fantastic few hours.