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The Longobards

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Cividale preserves important monumental, artistic and cultural testimony of a Longobard civilization. Here the centres of power were to be found in the Gastaldaga, where the king’s estates were administered, as well as the Complesso Episcopale, the religious centre. Both of these centres, heart of the Longobard Cividale, conserve rich evidence of those times.

The Gastaldaga area is located in the valley area where the Santa Maria in Valle Monastery rises to which the [Longobard Temple is annexed (the Oratory of Santa Maria in Valle), a unique historic and artistic monument, and, as it seems, steeped in mystery and still a subject of study today.

At the time, the building was lavishly decorated with different types of marble, mosaics on a gold background, and a long line of saints on three sides: the renowned stuccowork has charmed visitors for the past three centuries with their extraordinary beauty.

Extensive evidence of the Longobards is preserved in two museums in the town: the Christian Museum of Cathedral houses brings together highly prestigious sculptures including the celebrated Ratchis altar and the Baptistery of Calixtus. The the Cathedral treasury is worth a visit. It includes a precious collection of sacred archaeological treasures and a picture gallery with important works from Verona and Pordenone.

If Cividale is a crown, one of its most precious jewels is the National Archaeology Museum situated in Provveditori Veneti Palace. It is difficult to describe its contents in just a few words: it includes Roman, early Christian and early Medieval artifacts, as well as more modern items. The Longobard collections should not be missed, a rare testimony of craftsmanship, of day-to-day life, funeral objects of the ancient population. In the basement level there are the remains of the Patriarchal palace.

Total time: in total from about 2 hours and 30 minutes to 4 hours (tours to Monastery, to Christian Museum and to National Archaeology Museum with entry cost)

Distance: circa 1.5 km
Difficulty: low (the museums are accessible also for people with limited mobility)

Starting point: Piazza Paolo Diacono, 10 (Sportello Informacittà – Information and tourist welcome)

- Corso Mazzini
- Piazza del Duomo: Palazzo Provveditori Veneti – now National Archaeology Museum (entry cost and tour)
- exiting from Archaeological Museum, cross the Piazza del Duomo infront of the Cathedral and turn into Corso Paolino d’Aquileia
- just after the corner of the Cathedral turn into via G.B. Candotti (there is a slight gradient) in the direction of the campanile and go to the the entrance of the Christian and Cathedral Treasury Museum (entrance costand tour)
- exiting the Christian Museum go back onto corso Paolino d’Aquileia and follow the road in the direction of Devil's Bridge
- turn into the second street on the left, via Monastero Maggiore and follow that until house number 34, where there is the entrance to the Santa Maria in Valle Monastery (entrance cost and tour)
- exiting the Monastery via the walkway on the Natisone, you reach S. Biagio square;
- Going back tovia Monastero Maggiore and reaching the Stretta Pozzo of Callissto (there are stairs here) from here it is possible to return to the Cathedral Square

There is also an alternative itinerary without architectural barriers:The Longobards - without architectural barriers