Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyIn the far north-east of Italy, bordering Austria to the north and Slovenia to the east, is Friuli-Venezia Giulia. With mountains, coastline, Roman ruins, diverse culture and fabulous food, this region has something for everyone. Despite this, it's not an obvious destination for tourists - which makes it all the better for those in the know.

 

Friuli-Venezia Giulia has strong Austrian and Slavic influences and is not altogether typical of Italy. It is semi-autonomous from the Italian government, reflecting the fact that it was, for centuries, disputed territory. In fact, the region as it is today was not established until 1963.

 

Perhaps confusingly, the city of Venezia (Venice) is not in this region but in Veneto, just south-west. The Venetians lost control of Venezia Giulia but the area kept its name. The 'Giulia' part comes from the Julian Alps, the eastern Alps that the Romans named after Julius Caesar. Friuli, formerly a separate region, takes its name from the city that was once the Forum Iulii.

 

This is a forward-looking region with a well developed economy.

 

Language in Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Although practically everybody in Friuli-Venezia Giulia speaks - or at least can speak - Italian, other languages are also widely used. Friulian, a relative of Ladin (spoken in Trentino-Alto Adige), is spoken in most of the region. Slovene and dialects of Slovene are spoken across the eastern parts of the region, and along the border with Austria there is a minority of native German speakers.

 

What to see and do in Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Enjoy the mountains

Skiing in Italy is always a joy and there's usually plenty of snow in the winter in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. While you're in those wonderful mountains, you can also snowboard, ice-skate, try some dog-sledding and stay overnight in an igloo.

 

Enjoy the sea

There are many beautiful beaches along the Friuli-Venezia Giulia coast. The most popular resorts are Lignano, with eight kilometers of golden sand, and Grado, a fishing port connected to the Italian mainland by a causeway.

 

Enjoy the lakes

If you prefer lake to sea, there are also many beautiful lakes in Friuli-Venezia Giulia for you to enjoy.

 

Explore the cities and towns

Trieste, ItalyTrieste is a very interesting city, a cultural crossroads of Middle Europe. Famous for its white rocks, blue sea and green hills, Trieste is visually stunning as well as intellectually stimulating. Highlights include the Piazza Unità d'Italia, the Roman theatre, the Castello di Miramare museum, the Cathedral and the Castle of San Giusto, and the Piazza Sant'Antonio Nuovo with its Roman Catholic church of Sant'Antonio and its Serbian Orthodox church of San Spiridione.

 

If you're a fan of the eighteenth-century painter Giambattista Tiepolo, Udine is the place to go. You'll find his art almost everywhere you turn.

 

If you're interested in archeology, Aquileia is a Roman site not to be missed.

 

 

 

Eating and drinking in Friuli-Venezia Giulia

The cuisine of Friuli-Venezia Giulia reflects the diversity of cultures in the region. As in the other border-regions, pasta is not as prevalent as it is in the rest of Italy; you're more likely to be offered polenta, dumplings or something made with barley. You'll also find a lot of soup on the menu, and goulash. It's nourishing, satisfying food that sustains an active lifestyle.

 

Particular regional specialities are:

San Daniele prosciutto - one of the best hams in the world

Montasio - a hard, cow's-milk cheese

 

Friuli-Venezia Giulia produces some good wines too - not a huge amount but of excellent quality. Grappa is also made in this region.

 

Recommended reading from Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Italo Svevo

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Italo Svevo, one of Trieste's most famous sons, took English lessons from one James Joyce, who lived in the city for over a decade. The meetings with Joyce gave Svevo the confidence to write his marvellous book La Coscienza di Zeno (Zeno's Conscience).

 

Susanna Tamaro

Another well known writer from Trieste is Susanna Tamaro, whose bestselling 1994 novel Và Dove Ti Porta il Cuore (Follow Your Heart) I enjoyed.

 

For more information about Friuli-Venezia Giulia...

Buy a guide book for travelling around Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

 

Check out these websites:

Regione Autonoma Friuli-Venezia Giulia - official website

Turismo FVG - official tourism website

fvg.INFO

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