Basilica Apostolorum, Italy
I-IV century A.D.

The Basilica Apostolorum is the most important and biggest (m 40x20) building in the area and it was built at the end of IV century A.D. It is a church divided into three naves by Greek marble columns and paved with mosaics representing Christian images and symbols. The pavement of the presbytery was originally at the same altitude as that of the naves but it was raised in V century A.D. Under the presbytery it is still possible to see the terracotta pavements of previous buildings. A big four-sided porch (m 27x18,5) was built in front of the Basilica at the beginning of the V century. The porch was partially paved in mosaics and was accessible via the Roman road. Along the two short sides it is possible to notice some rooms which have been interpreted as episcopate (south) and as guesthouses for pilgrims and monks (north). Beside the Cathedral there is a paved courtyard, which was originally surrounded by a porch and through which it is possible to access a funerary area with various sarcophaguses. The religious compound was destroyed in the VI century A.D. by a fire and it was buried under thick alluvial layers between the end of the VI and the VIII century A.D.

The site on which the Romans had founded Iulia Concordia, shows traces of frequentations from the 10th century B.C., but it is mainly between the 9th and the 8th century B.C. that the proto-historical populated site located on the hill at the margins of the lagoon developed itself with artisan areas proved by the presence of numerous furnace rests and by the finding of an under-ground furnace destined to the production of pottery. Well documented is also the manufacture of stag horns as well as bovine, swine and horse bones.

Concordia Romana: the city of Iulia Concordia (“Sagittaria” is an addition of the past century to remember the factory of arrows), was founded around 42 B.C. during the second triumvirate in a region where from centuries the Roman penetration existed. The reasons that pressed the Triumvirs to found the city can be summed up in the need of providing the war veterans an accommodation and to create a defensive barrier on the eastern border at the crossing of two important roads: the Via Annia and the Via Postumia.

Concordia actively participated to the life of the Empire and was involved, starting from the 3rd century A.D., in the wars aimed to contrast the increasingly frequent and ruinous barbarian invasions.

In the half of the 5th century A.D. the Huns of Attila (the destroyer) who, after destroying Aquileia, besieged Concordia which was laid waste. The inheritance of Concordia was preserved by the Church, by then the only institution capable of being a point of social, civil and cultural reference with a role of mediation between classical culture and the new Roman-barbarian reality.

Christian Concordia: Christianity gradually expanded in Concordia and was favoured by the frequent contacts with the East due to the commercial activity and the displacements of military troops.

In the wide social and political context of the patriarchy of Aquileia, the ecclesial community, headed by its Bishop, besides preserving the Christian faith, kept alive the historical and cultural identity of Concordia also during the dramatic events of the barbarian invasions.

Present Concordia: at the moment, Concordia is a centre of about ten thousand inhabitants and has a mostly agricultural economy. Every year, thanks to the initiatives of the Public Administration and local groups, important cultural and folkloristic events are organized.

Archaeological findings of the Roman age. The excavations in Concordia had started in the last century with the discovery, on the left side of the river Lemene, of a burial ground of the 4th-5th century A.D., called "Cemetery of soldiers" because of the high number of inscriptions on the sarcophagi stating the burial of the soldiers. The inscriptions, owing to the impossibility of preserving the graves "in loco”(on the field), were slit and can now be found in the National Museum of Concordia in Portogruaro.

In the area around the little city, always in the last century, was found a Roman bridge (in S. Pietro’s street) that united the city to the via Annia.

In recent times, starting from 1983, some excavations brought to the light remains of the thermal baths (via Claudia) and, on the square before the Cathedral, on the left respectively, a stretch of the "decumanus maximus", a road leading to the city road system, from the well-preserved pavement and, on the right, house ruins, cubed-earthenware floors, dump raceways, potsherds, etc.

In Pozzi Romani’s Street (a side street of S. Pietro’s Street) were discovered two wells of the imperial age. Finally, within the city perimeter, were presumably individualized the theatre and the forum.

Early-Christian memorials. Around 350 A.D. to commemorate the Martyrs of Concordia who had suffered the persecution of Diocletian, the "Trichora Martyrium" was built in Concordia (the remains are on the right outside the Cathedral), a three-apsidal building of small dimension that contains the relics of the Martyrs.

Subsequently, the Trichora was prolonged with the building of a small room with nave and two aisles. Before the small building, there is a small paved square surrounded by a side-walk. On the right side, you can see some boats without inscriptions that were probably left there for the buyers.

Around 381 A.D. was started the construction of the "Basilica Apostolorum" (in the downstairs floor under the Cathedral) divided in a nave with two aisles with columns surmounted by Corinthian capitals and a mosaic decorated floor. In front of the façade of the basilica, were found the remains of a four-sided arcaded court. The basilica was several times rebuilt until 589 when it was probably destroyed by the flood reported by Paolo Diacono in his Historia Longobardorum.

To the first half of the 4th century A.D. are dated the funeral rooms on the back of the early-Christian basilica. The monumental complex is very original. Inside you can notice two sarcophagi of which the most beautiful is that of Faustiniana, carved in the fore side and on the right side.

Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance art memorials. The Romanesque Baptistery is a very prestigious and of great perfection. Built in the 11th century upon the will of the bishop Regimpoto whose grave is in the atrium on the right wall, shows a style influenced by Ravenna-Byzantine influxes. It shows frescoes depicting figures of saints and episodes of the Bible. Inside the Baptistery is preserved a fragment of ambo that belonged to the second basilica of Carolingian age.

The current Cathedral was erected during the half of the 10th century during the episcopate of the bishop Alberico. Only in 1466 the building was built with nave and two aisles and, as it is shown by today’s appearance. Inside the Cathedral you can admire a Greek marble holy-water font of the first century A.D. On the right wall of the presbytery, a fresco depicting the Crucifixion (1467-1547); the wooden stalls of the 16th century are of remarkable value. On the right wall of the apse, the renaissance funeral memorial of the bishops of Concordia Francesco and Giovanni Algertino; the high altar in baroque style; a canvas of Padovanino (1588-1648) in the chapel of the saints Martyrs, which is a widen and embellished chapel realized at the beginning of the century by the work of Don Celso Costantini, then appointed Cardinal. Finally, on the right side of the Cathedral, you can admire the 28 metres high bell tower of the 12th century. The current parsonage, located behind the Cathedral, was built to be the Episcopal seat around 1450 in Gothic-Venetian style. As centuries went by, it underwent re-buildings and transformations. It is still possible to admire, on the first floor, elegant trilobated monophores (windows with one light).

The Civic Palace, before the parsonage, shows a renaissance style. In front of the Civic Palace, there is the characteristic monument to the Worker of the Land Reclamations (1911) work of the Cardinal Celso Costantini. The statue made of a perishable material, was replaced in 1954 with a marble copy.

Under the Friul-Adria Bank in I° Maggio’s street, it is possible to visit, on request, an archaeological area with remains of various ages, the most ancient of the end of the first century B.C. – first century A.D. Such remains were part of a house courtyard built in the first century A.D. and were part of three floors paved in mosaic, little earthenware cubes and “cocciopesto” (little fragments mixed with lime used for paving N.d.T.) respectively. A thermal building, part of a rich private residence, was built at the end of the 1st-2nd century A.D. on the ruins of previous housings. Today, are visible the remains of apsidal calidarium. The almost totality of archaeological findings is preserved in the National Museum of Concordia in Portogruaro. In Concordia, was opened a Civic Museum in which are collected many pieces of Roman, Early-Christian and Romanesque age that were recently found in the territory of Concordia.