While walking around Oderzo, you venture into the charm of various eras, among medieval and Renaissance art and architecture, Roman archeology, and the remnants of its Paleovenitian origins.

The illustrious settlement of Opitergium, the modern-day Oderzo, as early as the first century BC, expanded beyond the Livenza river, thanks to plots of land allocated to the veterans of Caesar. During the Augustan age, it boasted the presence of a court, a basilica, and a circus. However, being in a strategic position not only brought on glory, but also made it an easy target. The town was razed to the ground several times: in 667 by the Lombard, Grimoald and, in 452, by the fury of Attila. The city walls were built in the thirteenth century and expanded in the following century, due to the development that the annexation with the Venetian Republic (1338) brought with it.

Today, the heart of the city beats in the main square, the ancient Piazza del Mercato – Market Square. Lapped by the Monticano river, you can enter the town by passing under the Torresin, the clock tower, which coincides with the southern gate of the ancient city wall. The tower is adjacent to the late-Gothic Cathedral, restored several times, where you can admire the paintings by Pomponio Amalteo and Palma il Giovane. The panorama of the distant mountains can be viewed from the square, with its peculiar sundial in the centre.

Blended into the urban fabric, you can admire remains from the Roman era. The ancient forum, the basilica, and several private buildings stood in the current area of ​​Via Mazzini, as well as numerous findings, such as sepulchral steles and alters. Remains of mosaics (the most famous depicting a hunting scene within a third-fourth century country estate) were found in the vicinity. Open-air archaeological sites are also found in a restaurant located near the Torresin, in Via dei Mosaici, and also between Piazza Grande and Piazza Castello. They can all can be visited with guides, by reservation.

The treasures of Opitergium are preserved in the Archaeological Museum, dedicated to Eno Bellis, adjacent the Pinacoteca named after Alberto Martini.

[photo by dvdbramhall via FlickrCC]

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