Friuli Venezia Giulia, located in the northeast of Italy bordering Austria and Slovenia, on arrival doesn’t project the typical Italian landscape, but shows a mix of Austrian and Slovenian influences. A picturesque coastal region, it’s one of the least visited regions in Italy, but one that has so much to offer. A short trip from Venice, visitors have much to gain by including this undiscovered region to their itinerary.
What’s drawing attention to the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia?
To entice travellers to the region, an incentive to visit has been released, tourists will have their train fares paid from anywhere in Italy. So, yes, officials are paying you to visit this beautiful destination. It also does not end there, travellers are handed a special card which grants you free access to local public transport, free entry to museums and discounts to local attractions. This incentive runs until the 31st of May, 2023. Now, let’s share why you should visit.
Here’s why you should include Friuli Venezia Giulia when visiting the north of Italy?
Scattered across this region there are some really beautiful towns to visit, all with their own unique character. The first, Trieste, the capital, and the most well-known, is almost completely surrounded by Slovenia and on arrival you will notice its strong Slovenian influence.
Prepare to wander. Trieste’s local piazza, Unità d’Italia, unlike most city piazzas located in the city centres, in fact is uniquely overlooking the sea, a perfect location to take a seat and people watch. A stroll along the Canal Grande leads you to a beautiful end canal with varied outdoor restaurants and cafes, there to enjoy the bustle, day or evening.
Coffee lovers will be happy to hear of Trieste’s unique coffee culture, to be experienced in one of the historic cafes. If vino sounds more attractive, the local region signature grape, Friulano (Italian for the Sauvignonasse variety) is synonymous with the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region and is one of the many wine varieties for you to experience. If Sparkling Wine is a favourite, Prosecco is made exclusively in the regions of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, so salute to that!
Next, we travel a little further north, to the city of Udine
Udine, a modern city that has held onto its traditions, is known for its Venetian charm, ancient buildings, and its beautiful piazzas. The most monumental square in the city, Piazza Libertà, referred to as the ‘most beautiful Venetian square on the mainland’ is the perfect place to start your visit to the city. Piazza Matteotti considered the living room of the city and the most loved square by both Friulians and tourists features a 16th-century fountain, and bars with outdoor tables, making this square a popular meeting point.
A visit highlight, the Udine Castle stands on a hill from which views reach out to the Adriatic Sea, as well as the surrounding mountains. The castle homes several museums and an art gallery with works by Tiepolo and Caravaggio.
Let’s talk cheese and prosciutto, Friuli Venezia Giulia is the place to indulge
Formaggio di Montasio DOP, Friuli Venezia Giulia’s signature cheese dates back to the thirteenth century. Belonging to the group of alpine cheeses, Montasio was initially produced as a way to preserve its key perishable ingredient, milk. Today, it holds the DOP mark (Protected Designation of Origin) where it can only be made in the Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto regions.
Prosciutto di San Daniele DOP, produced in the hilly area around the town of San Daniele in the Udine province, is sweeter and darker in colour with a more delicate flavour than other varieties. Its curing process differs from other regions, San Daniele hams are stacked on top of each other and left to mature for at least thirteen months. Featured on antipasti plates, Prosciutto di San Daniele has a rich, sweet flavour and traditionally served with home-baked breads, melons, and figs. Is anyone peckish yet?
Day trips to consider when visiting Friuli-Venezia Giulia; Gardo, an island destination or Aquileia, an ancient Roman city
Located on an island, Gardo is home to just over 8,000 residents, the harbour is dotted with yachts and fishing boats, along a Y-shaped channel. It faces the full length of the Adriatic Sea, so a perfect little holiday for those seeking a beach getaway, minus the busy crowds.
If you are seeking a mini-Rome experience, Aquileia is an ancient Roman city founded in 181 BCE as a colony of the early Roman Empire. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Italy’s main archaeological sites. A visit to Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia, is a must, the interior is majestic, the floor is made up of a marvellous mosaic from the 4th century, the largest early Christian mosaic in the Western world. Area Archeologica di Aquileia – Foro Romano is where you see ruins as well as a glimpse into how cities we built.
At Vita Italian Tours, our tailor-made itineraries have become so popular with those who want to take advantage of our rich local knowledge of Italy, where we can organise an intimate visit to this beautiful northeast region of Italy. Visits can be self-drive or chauffeur driven.
Contact us today to start planning your visit.