From the mountains of Tarvisio, on the border with Austria and Slovenia, in little more than one hour you will reach the beaches of Lignano and Grado or the region’s chief city, the Central-European Trieste. During the trip, a fascinating land that provides a variety of landscapes and experiences worth discovering, starting from the art cities rich in charm and culture.
GORIZIA, located at the centre of Europe: from the hill on which the imposing castle stands one can see – all in one moment – Gorizia, the Collio, the Slovenian Collio, Nova Gorica, up to the sea. Due to the beauty of its palaces (Coronini Cronberg, Attems-Petzenstein, Lantieri, Werdenberg, Strassoldo), Gorizia was defined the “Austrian Nice” by the Habsburg aristocracy that used to spend their holidays here.
UDINE, elegant and discreet, but also convivial and lively, is the city characterized by the colours of Giambattista Tiepolo (1696-1770), the famous Venetian painter who left in this land works of rare beauty. Udine is rich in art, with the wonderful palaces of its city centre, its museums, galleries, art exhibitions and cultural festivals. But this city will win your heart also thanks to the liveliness of its inhabitants, to its squares teeming with life, to the flavours and scents to be discovered and enjoyed in the ancient inns or in the trendy bars and restaurants.
Two great exhibitions are dedicated to Giambattista Tiepolo’s art. The Castle of Udine will host until April 1 “The colours of seduction. Giambattista Tiepolo and Paolo Veronese”, while the magnificent Villa Manin in Passariano, the residence of the last Doge of Venice, will host “Giambattista Tiepolo”, a highly scientific exhibition path of great impact that displays inestimable works coming from the most important European and international museums. Both exhibitions can be visited with the FVG Card, the regional tourist card that provides free access, throughout the region, to the main museums and historic sites, as well as the possibility to benefit from lots of services. >> FVG Card
PORDENONE, on the other hand, is a young and lively city that hosts great festivals that have gained international fame, like Pordenonelegge, which every year in September gathers big names of literature, and the International Silent Film Festival, born as a niche event that year after year has become a must for cinema enthusiasts. Pordenone is not only a cultural venue, it is also an ideal city to wander along the streets admiring its wonderful palaces.
And, then, TRIESTE, the city of the sea and of the bora wind, which has always been characterized by a Central-European atmosphere. It is the most international city in the region, suspended between the glorious past of “little Vienna on the sea” and a present as a cosmopolitan, charming and curious city. From the Molo Audace to the Vecchia Lanterna, a succession of sails, antiques shops and wonderful Neo-classical palaces. Looking at the horizon from the Molo Audace, you will see the white outline of Miramare, the romantic castle of Maximilian and Charlotte of Habsburg. Above the city, the imposing hill of San Giusto, where the history of Trieste began. The heart of Trieste is Piazza Unità, the meeting and starting point to discover the thousand facets of the city: its historic cafés, characterized by a pleasant Viennese atmosphere, its theatres and museums, the churches of the Borgo Teresiano open to all creeds, the many and characteristic restaurants where the inhabitants of Trieste devote themselves to the art of the “rebechin” – literally, “pecking up” twice before lunch – the mid-morning snack generally based on cooked ham sprinkled with grated horseradish.
And then a trip on the tramway that since 1902 has been climbing to Opicina, amazing the passengers who can admire Trieste stretching between the hills and the sea.
At the back of Trieste, the Karst plateau with a natural landscape of great beauty, scattered with typical villages and natural caves like the famous Grotta Gigante (Giant Cave), an exceptional Karst phenomenon that provides a display of stalactites and stalagmites of unimaginable sizes and shapes. >> FVG Art & Culture
Friuli Venezia Giulia is also a casket full of little but precious treasures of art: locations of Roman origin like Aquileia, Lombard like Cividale del Friuli, both, together with Palù di Livenza, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, fortress-towns like Palmanova, are only some of the gems in which the stone blends with the land. >> FVG Discovering & touring
A magic atmosphere can be enjoyed in the mountains of Friuli Venezia Giulia, where imposing rock faces dominate large forests and beautiful lakes. An ideal environment for all kinds of outdoor sports. An environment made warm by the local people, by towns characterized by enchanting atmospheres and enlivened by thousands of colourful festivals. Friuli Venezia Giulia provides a different way of enjoying the mountains, more natural and direct and satisfying from all points of view: from nature to sports, to the contact with people, indissolubly linked to their traditions and extraordinarily welcoming. >> Summer mountains >> Mountain snow
The COLLIO, on the other hand, is an enchanting hilly area of Friuli Venezia Giulia, situated on the border with Slovenia and famous all over the world for its excellent wine production, in which in particular precious white wines stand out. The Collio is also well-known for the wonderful landscape it provides its visitors: green hills covered in rows of vines, which in spring become even more beautiful with the colours of blossoming cherry trees.
Another gem of this border region is its food and wine tradition. Restaurants and inns, wine cellars and typical festivals: Friuli Venezia Giulia offers many amazing flavours. The strong points of Friuli Venezia Giulia’s typical products are the legendary San Daniele ham and the prestigious regional wines: 8 DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin) areas, where DOCG (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin) gems are also produced, such as Ramandolo and Picolit, full-bodied red wines with bizarre names like Tazzelenghe, and white wines unique in the world. As well as delicacies like the Sauris and Cormòns hams, salami, speck and bacon, without forgetting the brusaola (a kind of jerky) and pitina, a smoked meatball based on mutton, goat and game meat: a slow food presidium worth tasting!
The Adriatic sea is served: crustaceans and shellfish, traditional dishes like Grado’s boreto, the busara-style scampi of Istrian tradition, the sardoni (anchovies) of the gulf of Trieste and the ribaltavapori (fried whitebait) of Marano Lagunare.
Cheeses of all colours and shapes…Montasio, smoked ricotta and unknown cheeses that, however, are much appreciated, like the “Formadi Frant”, the Asìno and the “Karst cave cheese”, the Jamar, a cheese that matures in the complete darkness and silence of a Karst cave, at 80 metres of depth. Although frico (a soft or crunchy cheese pie), along with musèt e brovade (a sort of cotechino with turnips soured in marc), is the symbol of Friuli’s cooking, we must not forget the cjarsòns from Carnia (sweet or herb-filled ravioli) and the plum gnocchi of the area of Gorizia, which provide evidence of Central-European influences. >> Food & wine
But Friuli Venezia Giulia is also sea, beaches and fun.
Beaches, hotels, high-quality food and wine, cycle tracks, nature and art: this is GRADO, a seaside resort by Imperial decree. In 1892, in fact, emperor Franz Joseph of Austria promulgated a law by which Grado was declared the seaside resort of the Empire. Its mild climate, its healthy air and sand, the beauty of its sea had turned Grado into the favourite destination of the Habsburgs. Grado is not just a seaside resort with beautiful and perfectly equipped beaches, in the fascinating lagoon setting, it is also a town rich in charm and history. Its ancient early-Christian basilicas keep the secrets whispered in the alleys, in the campielli and in the small squares of this old town characterized by a typical Venetian charm.
LIGNANO SABBIADORO is one of Italy’s most renowned seaside resorts, it features eight kilometres of beach and is situated in a wonderful natural setting, between the Adriatic sea and the lagoon of Marano, an unspoilt stretch of shoals, channels and the typical straw-roofed casoni huts of the Stella river mouth. Lignano Sabbiadoro is the centre of the summer nightlife and entertainment: clubs, restaurants, pubs, ice-cream parlours, amusement parks, shops of all kinds. Actually, Lignano encompasses three locations: Sabbiadoro, a town perfect for shopping and nightlife; Pineta, a quiet area surrounded by greenery and famous for its “chiocciola”, the innovative spiral-shaped urban layout that distinguishes it, and Riviera, a relaxing area surrounded by a rich vegetation of maritime pines.
TRIESTE’S COAST.The line of white cliffs stretches from Duino to Trieste: a succession of small bays framed by rocks, to be reached by boat or down paths that descend towards the sea and cross the scented Mediterranean vegetation providing breathtaking views over the blue sea, like in the legendary Rilke path. Without forgetting the coast of Barcola and Trieste’s historic “bagni” (the bathing establishments), a few steps away from the centre of this wonderful Central-European city. A few kilometres from Trieste, in the extreme north-eastern corner of Italy, the coast seems to fold up: you have reached the Bay of MUGGIA, a characteristic town with Istrian-Venetian features. Berthing at the picturesque dock is like entering the calli and the small squares. The town’s Venetian atmosphere does not depend only on its architecture: the dialect, the customs and the gastronomic traditions reveal an intense past shared with the Serenissima Republic of Venice. In Muggia and in the surroundings comfortable and shadowy bathing establishments allow to enjoy the sea in complete relaxation. >> FVG Sea