This region of Italy, though small in size, is ripe with history dating back centuries to the Roman Empire. Learn more about this off-the-beaten-path place that boasts some incredible sights, delicious food and a diverse culture.
1) Cividale del Friuli is said to have received its name from none other than Julius Caesar when it was named Forum Julii in approx. 50BC.
2) One of the most fascinating towns in the area is Palmanova, which apparently took 200 years to build due to its unique design. The town and piazza were built with a nine-point star shape with protruding ramparts acting as a defense from multiple angles. Precise and meticulous, this town has a very different feel to a lot of other Italian cities.
3) Friuli Venezia Giulia has 3 designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visit: Palmanova, Cividale del Friuli and Aquileia. All three have amazing history, art and designs, making them the perfect places to add to any tour of the area.
4) Grotta Gigante, meaning Giant Cave, is one of the world’s largest caves, having been inducted into the Guiness Book of Records in 1995 but losing the title in 2010 to another cave discovery. First found in 1840, it was openly visited by tourists starting in the 1950s once electricity was installed.
5) There are over 50 Michelin Star restaurants in the Friuli region alone. Finding a delicious meal here is as easy as finding a seat at a nearby restaurant.
6) Aquileia, an ancient town with a long history, has an incredible story dating back to the Roman Empire. The Basilica here boasts incredible art including a mosaic with some of the first Christian depictions.
7) This region is also known for some famous foods like Prosciutto of San Daniele or Montasio cheese, named for the Montasio mountain range the cheese originates from.
8) Udine, in the Friuli region, can send you careening down a hill at up to 40km an hour on an Alpine bob coaster – Tarvisio’s alpine bob coaster to be exact. Descend 1000 meters through a forest at your own speed, and see the gorgeous views up close.
9) Trieste is home to the world’s largest sailing race, the Barcolana, which has been running for over 50 years.
10) Friuli is especially popular for white wine with about 35 varieties cultivated in this area. It is worth considering a trip here just for the wines alone – your new favourite might be a taste test away.