A summer holiday in Friuli

2020… expect the unexpected! Our plans like the ones of millions of travellers had to be rescheduled last minute and a canceled holiday in Croatia became a great opportunity to discover regions of Italy I had never seen before.

I spent a marvelous week in Friuli Venezia Giulia

This region is named after Julius Caesar, who created here the city of Forum Iulii (nowadays known as Cividale del Friuli) and over centuries of language transformations the name became Friuli.

Julis Caesar statue in Cividale del Friuli

Located north east of Italy at the border with Austria and Slovenia and Veneto it is not a region with a largely developed tourism, mostly local. Perfect for social distancing this summer!

Friuli has land borders, mountains, hills, sea and a lush environment in addition to an history that dates back thousands of years. All this is concentrated in an area where within the space of a few hours you can go from contemplating the sunset on a beach, to admiring the mountains peaks or to relaxing in the hills covered with vineyards.

During my entire visit I was always welcomed kindly  by the residents, and people invited me to return to Friuli next year.

We drove from Rome and in some 7 hours we arrived where we first had reserved an agriturismo (a sort of countryside residence). We booked last minute through a website and we did not know what to expect. But when we arrived we were really happy with the beautiful place. Our balcony room overlooked the vineyards. Villa Butussi is on Facebook or Booking.Com https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Hotel/Villa-Butussi-156053884460173/

my balcony view
breakfast in the vineyards
breakfast in the garden

If you are looking to relax, no frills this is an ideal place. The village of Corno di Rosazzo is surrounded by vineyards, wine factories (the owners of our house have their own vineyards, produce and sell wine see here:http://www.butussi.it) and you can visit a beautiful abbey (Abbazia di Rosazzo) ten minutes drive away. The area is the one known as the Collio where one of the most popular wines is Ribolla.

Cormons was our first visit. A small town just a few miles away from where we were, we arrived under the pouring rain so we couldn’t really enjoy its lovely architecture. There is an excellent Enoteca (winery) where to drink or have dinner as well. This Enoteca is associated with a lot of wine producers of the area so to promote the wines of the region.http://www.enotecadicormons.com

A guide is never lost!

The day after was spent visiting the amazing town of Aquileia. Founded by the Romans in 181 b.C.it soon became an important port trading with the ports in Eastern Europe. During the imperial age Aquileia became the 9th city of the empire and the 4th most important in Italy.

In the 4th century Aquileia became a very important Christian community. Not to be missed a visit to the stunning Basilica of Aquileia which houses the largest mosaic floor (760sq.mt) in a western church. Also recommended the visit to the Baptistry and to the Sud Halle with mosaic of the Peacoks, and the visit of the archaeological sites.

Tha following day we left Corno di Rosazzo and on our way to the mountains we stopped at Cividale del Friuli and then in San Daniele del Friuli which was on my wish list since this is the town where one of the finest Italian prosciutti is produced and from where it takes its name. Lovely town, architecture, art and food. Don’t miss a visit to the magnificent paintings in the church of S. Antonio Abate and obviously a lunch in on of the local restaurants. (I enjoyed the Osteria al Bersagliere https://www.albersagliere.it/)

The second part of the week was heading north, to the mountains of Friuli.

Our stops were Venzone where you can see how beautifully was reconstructed this medieval walled city after the terrible earthquake which shook Friuli in 1976.

Tagliamento river
Venzone: church destroyed by the earthquake
Venzone, the Duomo.

One of the places which I enjoyed most was the day spent on the Lake Sauris. This lake is a gem surrounded by an enchented scenario with lush vegetation. We did some hiking, and at the end of the day we were rewarded by a tasting of the prosciutto produced in the area of Sauris. Lake Sauris also offers a very long zipline over the lake, for the bravest only!

Lake Sauris
Lake Sauris

The last 2 days of the holiday were spent in the friulane dolomites. So we stopped in the village of Forni di Sopra. From there it was easy to get a chairlift (the Seggiovia Varmost) which took us at some 2000 m from where we could reach many of the trails. There are also many bike rentals and bikepaths. During the day we had a lunch in typical mountain huts. (Rigugio Giaf http://www.rifugiogiaf.it)

An excellent polenta and frico at the hotel Nuoitas (http://www.albergonuoitas.it)

Ricotta and bluberries pie
The view from the Malga Varmost

We left Friuli with a promise to return, since there’s so much more to visit.

Copyright © 2020 – Alessandra Mazzoccoli. All rights reserved. Please don’t use the photos without permission.

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