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13 places to visit in Friuli Venezia Giulia

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Lluis Enric Mayans
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Everyone knows that our splendid country contains magnificent itineraries and beautiful cities full of history. Many of us, however, are fixed on the classic paths already beaten by international tourism. But Italy owns pearls of rare beauty scattered everywhere: one of these is Friuli Venezia Giulia, in the far north east, on the border with Austria and Slovenia. Here you will find nature, sea, cities and ancient villages!

Are you ready to go? Let's find out together i 13 places to visit in Friuli Venezia Giulia!



Index

  1. Trieste
  2. Trieste Karst and Val Rosandra
  3. Udine and surroundings
  4. Cividale, Valli del Natisone and Valli del Torre
  5. Pordenone and surroundings
  6. Piancavallo and the Friulian Dolomites
  7. Polcenigo and Source of Gorgazzo
  8. Gorizia, Collio and Monfalcone
  9. Lignano Sabbiadoro
  10. Grado, Aquileia and Palmanova
  11. Carnia: Sauris, Forni di Sopra, Sappada and Tolmezzo
  12. Tarvisiano and Julian Prealps
  13. Gemona and Venzone
  14. User questions and comments

1 - Trieste

Trieste is the regional capital. It is located in its southernmost part and overlooks the Gulf of the same name. Italian, Austro-Hungarian and Slovenian influences, testify to the history that this area has lived, disputed over the centuries by different nations.

If you are short on time or for a first approach, we recommend the city tour by coach with audio guide! Do not miss a visit to the Roman Theater, at the foot of the San Giusto hill, in the historic center, and to the Cathedral of San Giusto, the main Catholic religious building in the city!

Trieste is above all linked to the sea, with its large and important port! Do not miss the district of Barcola, in the northern part, where there is a wonderful promenade where the people of Trieste relax during the beautiful summer days. Here you can also visit the Victory Lighthouse, built in memory of the sailors of the Great War and from whose top you can enjoy a wonderful view! Finally, a stop at Miramare Castle is mandatory, built in the second half of the nineteenth century, today it maintains original rooms, furnishings, ornaments and objects!



2 - Trieste Karst and Val Rosandra

If you stop in Trieste for a few days, we recommend that you dedicate at least one day to an excursion in the Trieste Karst. It is a historical region, more precisely a limestone rocky plateau between Friuli Venezia Giulia, Slovenia and Croatia. It was the scene of several battles during the First World War, and it is still possible today retrace paths and visit the remains of what remained from the war, through fascinating organized excursions.

One of the beauties of the Trieste Karst is certainly the Grotta Gigante, a large karst cave that can be visited inside! It is one of the most visited places in Friuli Venezia Giulia. There are various routes and activities to be carried out, but the visits are limited, so we advise you to consult and book your visit directly on the official website!

If you are a nature lover, you cannot miss the Val Rosandra either, a nature reserve with unspoiled nature, on horseback with the Slovenian border! Here you can indulge in various activities: there are routes for trekking and cycling, climbing walls and caving routes!

3 - Udine and surroundings

Udine is located in the heart of Friuli Venezia Giulia. Wonderful city with Venetian charm, is dominated by the Castle, which houses the Civic Museums, while the Patriarchal Palace houses the Tiepolo Galleries, with the works of Giambattista Tiepolo. Enjoy a walk through the streets of the center, with Piazza Libertà and Via Marcatovecchio and stop in Piazza Matteotti, also called Piazza San Giacomo, to drink a tajut, or a cut of Friulian wine! In addition, the center is full of taverns and typical restaurants in which taste the dishes of traditional Friulian cuisine!

The surroundings of Udine are also full of wonderful places! From Friuli-Cormôr botanical park, a wonderful green area of ​​about 30 hectares, full of games for children and paths, which hosts numerous events every summer. Moving northwards the territory becomes hilly and here you will meet cities like Fagagna and San Daniele. The latter is known throughout Italy for its specialty, San Daniele raw ham, which you can taste in the many bars.



4 - Cividale, Valli del Natisone and Valli del Torre

Cividale del Friuli is located in the eastern part of the region, in the beautiful setting of the Natisone Valleys. The city it was founded in Roman times by Julius Caesar with the name of Forum Iulii and was then an important Lombard center! Here you can in fact visit the Lombard Temple, an important historical testimony! Don't forget to cross the Devil's Bridge, on the Natisone river, one of the symbols of the city!

From Cividale, you can set out to discover the Natisone Valleys, an important historical-geographical and natural area! Here you can follow various thematic paths, such as the Gadda Path and the Path of the 44 votite churches, the latter developed on 4 different paths that lead you to the discovery of the churches scattered in the valleys (more info on the official website). Moreover, this area too, like the Trieste Karst, was the clash of important battles during the Great War, which you can discover by following the path from Castelmonte to Monte Matajur!

Finally, we advise you to discover the Torre Valleys, where the homonymous river flows, which originates near Lusevera and which includes wonderful places such as Tarcento, Nimis, Cassacco and Faedis!

5 - Pordenone and surroundings

From the eastern side we pass to the western side of Friuli, where Pordenone is located, formerly Portus Naonis, near the border with the Veneto! Its history is inevitably linked to the Noncello, the watercourse that runs through the city. In the historic center, all accessible on foot, you can admire ancient buildings, such as the Palazzo del Comune, from which Corso Vittorio Emanuele II begins, full of shops, clubs and bars. There are also numerous events taking place in the city, first of all Pordenonelegge, the Book Festival with the authors!

But we advise you not to stop only in Pordenone, the surroundings are full of unique locations and villages of their kind. Starting from Spilimbergo, one of the most beautiful cities of art in the region, where the prestigious Mosaic School of Friuli, founded in 1922, is located. You will then find Cordovado, part of the association of the most beautiful villages in Italy, and Sacile , characterized by Venetian architecture and Renaissance buildings. Also worth seeing are San Vito al Tagliamento, with its medieval charm, and Sesto al Reghena, part of the most beautiful villages in Italy and with the wonderful Benedictine abbey of S. Maria in Sylvi.



6 - Piancavallo and the Friulian Dolomites

Piancavallo is a town north of Pordenone and is the perfect starting point to discover the Friulian Dolomites! Here in the summer you can go hiking and trekking of various levels, as well as numerous outdoor activities. In winter, however, Piancavallo becomes one of the one of the ski areas of Friuli, thanks to the important and renowned ski resorts!

The Natural Park of the Friulian Dolomites, on the other hand, is the largest in the region and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It extends between the Tagliamento and the Piave and includes 9 municipalities and also the Bracis Lake, an artificial lake located in Valcellina. In this regard, especially if you are traveling with children, we recommend the Trenino della Valcellina, which promotes and allows you to discover these wonderful territories. Also not to be missed are the Caves of Pradis, formed by caves, ravines and limestone gorges.

Here, finally, they are found several locations became part of the most beautiful villages in Italy, such as Frisano, Poffabro and Borgo di Toppo. Also not to be missed are Erto and Casso, who became famous for the tragedy of the Vajont dam in 1963.

7 - Polcenigo and Source of Gorgazzo

Polcenigo, in the province of Pordenone, it is part of the most beautiful villages in Italy, thanks to its natural, historical and cultural characteristics! Do not miss a visit to the Castle of Polcenigo, of medieval origin, from which you can admire a beautiful view of all the surroundings! In the historic center you can then come across several sixteenth-century palaces and ancient churches.

Furthermore, its history is linked to the water and the Livenza river, with the San Floriano Rural Park and the Palù del Livenza - Humus Park. However, a visit to the Gorgazzo source, the point where the Livenza river is born, is not to be missed. In this nature reserve it is located a spectacular underwater cave and the name Gorgazzo derives from the Friulian term gorc, or abyss. You can easily reach it on foot from the center of Polcenigo and get ready for a show made of light and shadow and turquoise shades!

8 - Gorizia, Collio and Monfalcone

Returning to the eastern part of Friuli Venezia Giulia, you can meet the city of Gorizia, on the border with Slovenia, and not far away is Nova Gorica, the Slovenian counterpart of Gorizia. This is a border town characterized by Italian, Slovenian and Germanic influences. Numerous events take place here, the most important is Gusti di Frontiera, in September, where the streets are filled with stalls and stands with all the flavors of the world!

From Gorizia you can set out to discover the Collio, the hilly region that produces the excellent Friulian wines, thanks to its microclimate! Here you can taste some of the best white wines in the world and the whole territory is full of wineries and wine bars for tasting, perhaps accompanied by typical local products! The center of this region is Cormons, in Slovenian Krmin, where you can taste the Wine of Peace.

Finally, you cannot miss a visit to Monfalcone, from which you can reach the Military Memorial of Redipuglia, dedicated to the fallen of the First World War. This area and the whole Gorizia Karst was in fact the scene of numerous battles!

9 - Lignano Sabbiadoro

Friuli Venezia Giulia is the land of a thousand resources and, obviously, they could not be missing seaside resorts overlooking the Adriatic Sea!

Lignano Sabbiadoro is a place awarded with the Blue Flag which comes to life during the summer, when the beaches are stormed by the Friulians and the many tourists! Here you will find many equipped bathing establishments, numerous events and activities for all ages!

The locality it is divided into three parts: Sabbiadoro, Pineta and Riviera. Sabbiadoro is ideal for families with children and for those looking for all the services close to them, in fact there are numerous clubs, supermarkets and bars. Pineta, on the other hand, is more loved by young people, thanks to famous clubs and discos throughout the region! Finally, Lignano Riviera is the most peaceful area, ideal for relaxing.

10 - Grado, Aquileia and Palmanova

Another much-loved seaside resort is Grado, which is also one with the recognition of the Blue Flag. With its historic Venetian center, characteristic alleys, beaches and promenade, this location is ideal for relaxing in summer. Also, we advise you to taste the fish dishes in a typical restaurant, with fresh catch thanks to the work of the fishermen who go out every day by boat!

From here you can easily reach Aquileia, important Roman city declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site! Here you can admire several archaeological remains dating back to the Roman Empire and the wonderful early Christian mosaics. Inside the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta there is the largest Christian floor mosaic in the West.

Finally, we advise you to go as far as Palmanova, the star city declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This Renaissance fortress city is famous for its perfect star shape, with nine points. You enter the city through four gates and all streets lead to the central square, the Piazza Grande. Try searching for the city on Google Maps and you will immediately understand why it is one of a kind!

11 - Carnia: Sauris, Forni di Sopra, Sappada and Tolmezzo

Lovers of mountains and nature? Then the perfect destination for you is Carnia, mainly mountainous historical geographical region in the north of the region, on the border with Austria.

Here the activities to do are so many and it is perfect to visit in any season: in summer you can go trekking and walking, discover the villages and follow the Alpe Adria cycle path; in autumn with the foliage nature offers spectacular landscapes, it is the ideal time to discover the typical products of the area; in winter there are numerous ski resorts to devote to winter sports; in spring nature awakens, the ideal time to discover the villages and enjoy the clean mountain air.

Among the most famous locations there definitely are Sauris and its lake, which from 2020 also offers the longest zipline on the lake in Europe, e Forni di Sopra with the Dolomites, the ski slopes and the many hiking trails. Also worth visiting Sappada and Tolmezzo.

12 - Tarvisiano and Julian Pre-Alps

In the north-eastern part of Friuli Venezia Giulia, on the Austrian border, there is the whole area of ​​the Tarvisiano and the Julian Prealps. Mountain resort with one of the most important ski resorts in the region.

It is an area rich in natural beauty, like Lago del Predil and Laghi di Fusine, to visit in every season! In winter they freeze completely and are covered in snow. One of the jewels of this area is certainly Mount Lussari, on the top of which there is a small village and a sanctuary. It can be reached on foot (demanding trekking) or by cable car and in winter it becomes an important ski resort.

Finally, dedicate a day to discovering the Julian Prealps Regional Natural Park, important from a geological, naturalistic and landscape point of view which includes the towns of Chiusaforte, Lusevera, Moggio Udinese, Resia, Resiutta and Venzone. Uncontaminated nature, mountains, forests and waterfalls, to mention the Fontanone di Goriuda in the town of Chiusaforte. There are numerous trekking routes, including the Path for All, which is also accessible to wheelchair users. More info on the official website.

13 - Gemona and Venzone

On the borders of the Julian Pre-Alps Regional Natural Park are the towns of Venzone and Gemona. Venzone is was declared a National Monument and the most beautiful village in Italy in 2017. Completely destroyed by the terrible 1976 earthquake that changed Friuli, this town has been rebuilt while maintaining its original medieval structure. It is the only example of a th century fortified city left in the region! One of the most important events is the Pumpkin Festival, at the end of October, which will take you back to the Middle Ages thanks to the historical re-enactment.

Less than 10 km away is Gemona del Friuli, one of the most beautiful historical locations in the region. The city was the epicenter of the 1976 earthquake but, thanks to hard work and fast reconstruction, today it is the symbol of the rebirth of Friuli after that tragic event that caused many victims. The historic center is of medieval origin, a visit to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Romanesque-Gothic style is not to be missed.

Plan your trip: how to get there and where to sleep

Friuli Venezia Giulia is a region that meets the needs of every traveler! Whether it is nature, culture, history, whether you are traveling alone, with your family or as a couple, here you can truly spend unforgettable days!

The region is served by Trieste Airport, alternatively you can arrive at Venice Airport (compare flights - from € 29,00) and then reach your chosen location to base yourself by train! If you are coming from Northern Italy, the best solution is to arrive with your own car.

If you want to visit mainly the coast, enjoy a few days at sea but also historic cities such as Palmanova, Aquileia and Monfalcone, we recommend you choose Grado or Trieste (compare the best accommodations on Booking.com - starting from € 40,00 per room). If you want to enjoy a general overview of the region instead, the best solution is to stay in Udine (Hotels and b & b from € 40,00 per room), in the center of Friuli. From here, in one hour by car (rental from € 40,00 per day) you will be in the mountains in Tarvisio, in one hour at the sea in Lignano, in 45 minutes in Pordenone.

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