What to see in Friuli Venezia Giulia for your first visit
I feel very lucky in having discovered the beauties of Friuli Venezia Giulia because until a few months ago I had never been there and I honestly did not consider it for nothing. And even though my first visit was just for few days, I realized that this region of northeastern Italy is perfect for getting rid of the chaos and noise of everyday life, to take refuge in a place of absolute quietness and start breathing again. All this to say that a visit to Friuli Venezia Giulia is filling your eyes with rich and above all varied natural landscapes, with nuances ranging from the intense blue of the sea to the red earth of the Karst.
However, if you are planning a trip to Friuli Venezia Giulia (and you have to do it because we are talking about one of the most beautiful regions of Italy, although not everyone knows it), accept the advice I am going to give you but keep in mind that things to see and the experiences to be done are so much. And if I have to do a first list, here’s what I would like to suggest you for your trip in Friuli Venezia Giulia.
1 – Trieste
San Giusto Castle
An Austrian beauty with lovely sea. The city of cafes and writers. An unmissable stop for those who choose to dedicate their holidays to discover this beautiful part of Italy. Trieste is the flagship of its region which summarizes all the typical aspects: the presence of the sea together with that of the plateau, the proximity to several different Europe, the contamination between the different culinary traditions, the mixed features of its people . Take all the time necessary to visit it, there are many things to see, starting with its castles, Miramare (picture on top) and San Giusto, to continue with the port, the streets of the center, the archaeological sites and the most historic neighborhoods.
2 – Grado
Grado is frequented mainly for its beaches (especially chosen by Austrian and German tourists) and for its Spas, but I like it above all for its small historical center of alleys and narrow streets and for the lagoon landscape of rare beauty in which it is immersed. I recommend to everyone a walk along the seafront in winter, when it is hard to meet someone and the only visitors to the beaches are the solitary fishermen.
3 – Palmanova
Once in Friuli Venezia Giulia do not forget to include in your itinerary one of the main reasons of pride of the region: Palmanova, in fact, is part of the Unesco Heritage. The star-shaped fortress-city will fascinate you with its military history that you can experience with a visit to the Civic and Historical Museum.
4 – Aquileia
Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta
Do not miss one of the most important archaeological areas of Friuli Venezia Giulia, also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Aquileia, thanks to the numerous remains emerging from the excavations, provides an important testimony of the Roman empire and the role that the area covered during that time. Moreover, a look at the delicacy of the mosaics dating back to the early Christian age and preserved inside the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta is a must. Once there, then, go up to the Campanile to enjoy the splendid panorama that extends to the lagoon of Grado.
5 – Cividale del Friuli
Even Cividale, a charming town with elements that dates back to the Longobard period, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011. It is just in search of the Longobards traces that you have to go, once you have passed the small and picturesque Ponte del Diavolo on the Natisone river. Beginning with a visit to the mysterious Tempietto Longobardo, whose origins and use are not yet well known, and the Monastery of Santa Maria in Valle.
6 – Historical-naturalistic paths
View from the Rilke Path
I began to get interested in forest walks after having visited Friuli Venezia Giulia. I’m not kidding, taking one of the many historical-naturalistic paths is one of the most characteristic experiences that can be done in this region. The ones I loved the most are the Rilke Path, a panoramic walk with a sea view that stretches from Duino Castle to Sistiana, just outside Trieste, and Brestovec, a path on the Karst dotted with trenches and other evidence from the First World War.
7 – Venzone
In every tour you can do, it is not possible to miss the visit of a village. What I suggest here is not just any village but it is the 2017 winner of “Borgo dei Borghi” competition, I am talking about Venzone, the small town of mummies and lavender perched on the Carnic Prealps. Another suggestive corner of the region is the Lago di Cavazzo (or Lago dei Tre Comuni), the largest lake in Friuli Venezia Giulia. Its banks are waiting for you to offer you many outdoor activities during the summer and for long relaxing and reflective walks in the winter months.