Definition: Aquileia is an archaeological site in northern Italy. During the imperial period of the Roman empire, Aquileia was one of the wealthiest towns in the region.
Aquileia was founded about 180 BC, and it gained stature particularly after the construction of the Via Popilia (132 BC), a main Roman road connecting Aquileia and Altinum. As a commercial center of nearly 200,000 people located at a primary Roman crossroads, Aquileia connected central and northern Europe with the Mediterranean region.
Aquileia was also a center of glass making during the Roman imperial period until 452 AD when much of the town was destroyed by Attila the Hun. Many of the glass makers from Aquileia moved to the Venetian lagoon, founding workshops such as the one at Torcello.
Today, Aquileia is an archaeological park, with some of the ruins open to the public, including the Roman forum, the harbor, a necropolis and two residential areas. The extant basilica was first built in the 3rd century AD. It too was destroyed by Attila in the fifth century, but a new basilica was built atop the ruins in 1031 and it has been extensively remodeled since. Two museums are available for wandering around in as well.