The area surrounding Venice, just a few kilometres from the city centre, is full of interesting places to visit whose urbanisation dates back to the dawn of time.
This vast area of Veneto has been inhabited since the Neolithic period, first by Venetic settled populations, before it was colonised by the Romans and became part of “Regio X Venetia et Histria”. Its capital city was Aquileia, and it is today one of the most important archaeological sites in northern Italy. Important towns sprang up here, such as Iulia Concordia, today known as Concordia Sagitteria and Altino, which was an important city along the Empire’s roads. It connected Via Annia and Via Postumia, linking Aquileia, a port on the Adriatic Sea, to Genoa, a port on the Tyrrhenian Sea, and Via Claudia Augusta that led to the ancient Norico region, which today corresponds to Austria and Bavaria.
Altino was therefore an important intersection of large arteries, as well as an important port for commerce and trading, since it was erected along the edge of the lagoon. There are only a few visible remains from this important settlement, which include some parts of the Via Annia road. However, the new archaeological museum that has been open only a few years displays artefacts found in the area, which illustrate its history from the Neolithic period right up to Roman times in a comprehensive way.
A reconstruction of what the city was like, visible inside the museum, gives you an idea of the size of the inhabited centre, which, like all cities of the Roman era, had a forum and an amphitheatre for shows.
You can climb the tower in the museum and admire the surrounding countryside, and if you close your eyes, you can imagine what this thriving city and important commercial maritime centre on the Adriatic Sea was like.
According to recent research and theories, it was the inhabitants of Altino who began settling on the lagoon islands by moving to Torcello. It was probably after waterways began silting up, preventing access to the lagoon and therefore to the sea and to ships with their cargo and merchandise.
To reach the new Altino Museum in Venice, you can catch an ATVO 25a bus heading to Piazzale Roma, and in about 20 minutes, you’ll reach the museum.