Città Fortificata di Cividale
The city of Cividale (originally, Civitas Austriae) is rich in history with origins from as far back as Prehistoric times. The site of the city, near the Natisone river, was a Celtic settlement, documented by ancient underground chambers still visible today; later it became an important Roman castrum (fortified settlement) called Forum Julii, enclosed by city walls. After the Lombard invasion in 568, Gisulf, King Alboin’s nephew, assumed the leadership with the title of Duke. The Lombard dominium, a period of peace, lasted until 776, the year in which the Lombards were defeated by Charlemagne’s troops who established themselves there. With the formalization of the Patriarch’s temporal power in 1077, Cividale became the capital of the Friuli state, being the Patriarchal seat and the centre of important administrative offices until at least the 13th century. During this period, the city walls were reinforced; works were carried out also during the Venetian era in 1516. What is left of the ancient defences are the Asquinia tower, three city gates and segments of the city walls, inserted in an urban context rich in important artistic and historical elements.