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Bike Touring the Friuli Venezia Region

BIKE TOURING FRIULI VENEZIA REGION

Bike Tour Friuli Venezia, Mt Zoncolan

 

Bike Touring in the Friuli Venezia Region offers some great riding for all levels of cyclist, mixed with the regions own unique flavors and rich history.  The Friuli Venezia Region is very similar to the  neighboring Veneto Region, offering flat, rolling hills, mid-mountain, and mountain routes.  However, the Friuli Venezia Region is more rustic and has been overlooked for centuries as a cultural destination.  This is a region of Italy that is still very authentic and off the beaten path and offers some great vacation options.

The most useful resource for touring cyclists is the brochure Friuli Venezia Giulia by Bike which describes the network of signposted routes. You can find these at some tourist offices but not all. The Italian version is also available on the web at pedalitalia.it.

REASONS TO BIKE TOUR FRUILI VENEZIA REGION

  • The old port city of Trieste
  • Riding the wine roads of the Colli
  • Tracing to old battle lines of WWI
  • Roman ruins and cities destroyed by Attili the Hun

BIKE TOURING ROUTES POSTED BY TOURIST OFFICE AND LOCAL RESOURCES

The Friuli Venezia Tourist office has a wide amount of bike touring information.  Each individual province is starting to develop their own material . 

Map showing the network of cycleways and cycle routes in Friuli-Venezia-Giulia

 Bike Touring Map of the Friuli Venezia Region

MOUNTAIN BIKING IN THE FRIULI VENEZIA REGION

There are a couple of useful maps showing where you can mountain bike on the regional tourism site.  Many of the maps are available at local tourist offices but it is best to download a copy from the maps page on the regional web site.

1 DAY BIKE TOUR ROUTES IN FRIULI VENEZIA

The Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region has produced a series of maps aimed at cyclists. These are widely available from tourist offices in English, German and Italian. They are downloadable from the thematic maps page.

Aquilieia to Grado Bike Tour, Udine Province

MULTI DAY BIKE TOURS IN THE FRIULI VENEZIA REGION

Bike Touring Trieste and Friuli Venezia Region

CLASSIC BIKE CLIMBS IN THE FRIULI VENEZIA REGION

Bike Touring Monte Zoncolan From Ovaro Climb

Carso (Karst) | Friuli Venezia Region

CARSO (KARST) | FRIULI VENEZIA REGION

Friuli Venezia Region

Riding or hiking near Redipuglia on the way or leaving Trieste, where the highlands bends to the right away from the sea, the landscape changes dramatically: it gives the impression that a huge limestone rock, the Karst, had fallen out of the sky and embedded itself on the extreme edge of the Julian plain. Today, the Karst, which is a precious as it is vulnerable to degradation and unauthorised building, is partially protected by the setting up to five regional nature reserves which are representative of the whole area. These reserves were formally established by a Regional law on protected areas, issued in 196, in the light of a future “Karst national park”, which is to encourage and to promote this complex and fascinating ecosystem.

The Regional natural reserves of Mount Lanaro and Mount Orsario

The reserves of Mount Lanaro and Mount Orsario, which are part of the municipalities ofSgonico (Zgonic) and Monrupino (Repentabor), exemplify the main characteristics and the history of the whole Karst plateau. The main characteristic of Mount Lanaro is its woodland, ranging from the hornbeam, which is hardly present in the deeperdolinas, to the solemn turkey oaks and durmasts, which provide a rare example of what the Karst may have looked like before the Neolithic age, when the mild climate encouraged the first humans to settle in the area. The end of nomadic life marked an important step for the evolution of the natural landscape. Initially, man cleared parts of the Karst woodland to provide land for agriculture and grazing land for sheep rearing. This caused the woodland to be fragmented, eroded by polluting agents, more and more impoverished and finally replaced by moorland, providing a semi-natural habitat rich in, often very rare, wild life.

In fact, these deforested areas started to host meadow species mainly originating from the oriental steppes, which soon adapted to being eaten and trampled on by grazing animals. It was a centuries old process of contemporary evolution and speciation, where man has played, and could still play, a determining role. However, the oak woodland dominated for centuries until sheep rearing and coal mining during the Middle Ages sped up the deforestation process, leaving a completely barren, Bora-wind-swept moorland by the beginning of the nineteenth century.

The huge reforestation process lead by the Hapsburg Empire over the last two centuries with the reintroduction of the Austrian pine as well as the abandonment of traditional rural activities due to the economic boom have marked a dramatic turnaround. Deprived of man’s interference, nature has activated its own imposing natural process towards woodland reforestation.

Today, the Karst is dominated by lush woodland made of hornbeam and sessile oak, interspersed with small portions of moorland which is becoming increasingly more overgrown with smoke-bush and juniper. This is a huge loss if we consider that this habitat is an excellent example of biodiversity. Mount Orsario still has areas of moorland which is tinged with multicoloured flowers at the beginning of spring or during late autumn. During summer, it emanates the typical scent of aromatic plants such as savory (Satureja subspicata liburnica), which is endemic to the western border of this area.

Besides the woodland and the moorland, the typical architecture blends harmoniously with the natural landscape thus turning it into an intimately complex, even secretive ensemble, just like the Karst houses and the dry-stone walls, which have been built with ancient stones and delimit roads and estates.

The regional natural reserve of the Duino cliffs

As part of the municipality of Duino Aurisina (Devin-Nabrez?ina), this reserve includes an area of high coastland made of fossil limestone and is the only example in the whole of the Northern Adriatic coast. Its calcareous walls interrupted by turrets and short strips of low bushes of aromatic plants “macereti” are a sheer drop from the cliff to the sea. Their height, together with the thermal-reflective characteristic of the sea and the fact that they are not affected by the “bora” wind, make these cliffs a valuable refuge for the Mediterranean vegetation and a testimony of the xerothermic age (2500-800 BC) when man, on the nearby mainland, started to manufacture metals.

Walking along the “Rilke route”, the only path across the reserve which winds its way along the cliff, one can notice how the deciduous plants gradually give way to the sclerophillous species. Some Mediterranean species such as the holm-oak blend with Illyrian species such as the manna ash and the hornbeam. These plants can be found in Greece as up to the Leme Canal, in Istria, and again along the Triestine coast.

These cliffs house many rare flora species such as the kartschiana Centaurea which is endemic to the sea cliffs and is exclusive to this area. The hot, dry rocky landscape is the ideal habitat for reptiles as well as the most suitable nesting place for the peregrine.

Together with the naturalistic and landscape peculiarities of this area we should not forget the coast of Duino and Mount Hermada, which protected the Austrian troops during World War I. The panoramic outposts along the Rilke path provided fortifications from which an eventual landing of Italian troops in the Sistiana bay could have been signalled.

Coastal Wet-lands of Friuli Venezia Region

COASTAL WET LANDS OF THE FRIULI VENEZIA REGION

trieste-coast

For those riding near the small town of Marano lagunare, only a few minutes from the San Giorgio di Nogaro exit. For those who have more time available, it is worth taking a boat trip, which offers a splendid view of the huge lagoon, and in particular of the Regional river Stella mouth Nature Reserve which covers about 1,400 hectares. This important area has long been declared a “wetland of international importance” by the Ramsar convention, due, in particular, to the high concentration of migrant water birds that congregate there.

The main vegetation is characterised by huge reedbeds, interspersed with small lakes and inlets. At the mouth of the river, the thickets are only reeds (Phragmites australis), downstream they gradually give way to sea bulrushes and sandbanks which form muddy islands carpeted by halophylic (salt-tolerant) vegetation growing abundantly where there is a higher concentration of salt.

The small town of Marano hosts the regional Nature Reserve of Valle Canal Novo. It includes a visitors’ centre and provides visitors with information on the naturalistic aspects of the 140-hectare area, providing some tours, and even walkways on the water such as, for instance, the typical Caminadasu l’acqua: observers are lead to typical hides made of reeds from which the landscape and bird-life can be viewed. To the extreme east of the Marano and Grado lagoon is the regional Nature Reserve of Valle Cavanata (330 hectares): an additional wetland recognized by the Ramsar convention of international importance, which has been blocked off from the sea and turned into a lagoon in the past.

The whole lagoon is well visible from the state road linking Monfalcone to Grado. For many years it has housed many gulls, cormorants, mute swans and other waterbirds. The halophylic vegetation predominates and includes many strangely named species such as sea-lavender (Limonium vulgare) or the pickleweed which are the most common plants in this area. The year 1997 is a memorable year since two couples of spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), a very rare species, nested for the first time next to a colony of re-introduced Graylag goose.
Slightly further eastwards, the Regional Nature Reserve on the mouth of the Isonzo river can be reached from the state road linking Grado to Monfalcone. The Isonzo river sources in the Julian Alps in Slovenia, and is about 140 kilometres long.

This is the most northerly area of the Mediterranean Sea, and the high rocky coasts, typical of the eastern Adriatic sea, end at Duino. They are replaced by low coasts and lagoons, which include Venice, and stretch down to the delta of the Po river, to the south-west, and form one of the most complex and important wetlands in the world. The Nature Reserve is located in an area with unique biological, geographic and historical characteristics. The protected area covers 2,350 hectares and has its core in the so-called “Isola della Cona”, which belongs to the municipality of Staranzano. The Reserve also includes some smaller territories located in other municipalities such as Grado, with its Caneo wetland and with a huge part of the estuary ridge; San Canzian d’Isonzo, with the so-called “Bosc Grand” wetland along the right side of the river, which is effectively less than one hectare wide; and finally, Fiumicello with its river beds of gravel and riverine woodland.

Legends and recent history

The legend narrated by the geographer Strabo says that many years before Christ, the Thracian, Diomede, had reared herds of white horses in honour of the goddess Diana (Arthemis) right in this area. For this reason the huge oak woodland carpeting the eastern bank of the Isonzo river was named Silva Diomedaea by the Romans. The once splendid woodland is now confined to the Isonzo river and in the Alberoni area. At that time the woodland served as a backdrop to the estuary of the mysterious Timavo river, the “shortest river in Italy” and the so-called “mother of sea”.
This river, which even today is still mysterious and mainly unexplored, runs underground for 40 kilometres and re-emerges just a rifle’s shot away from the Adriatic Sea, near the Duino castle, at the foot of the Karst area.

Slightly to the west of Isonzo river’s current position, the frightening, dark woodland Silva lupanica extended for kilometres as a natural barrier. It carpeted the whole of the low plains and acted as a border just behind Aquileia: the important city founded by the Romans in 171 BC.

Thanks to the road network “unwisely” built by the Romans, it was easier for Attila and his Huns to invade Italy: The barbarians conquered Aquileia in 452 AC after a long siege. As reported in Paolo Diacono’s Historia langobardorum, such invasion caused many pairs of storks to leave the area. A dramatic event which takes us back to the origin of Venice, when the Aquileia inhabitants took refuge first in Grado and later further to the West in the lagoon where they would set up a new, more protected city surrounded by insidious marshes and deep canals: Venice.
The areas around the Friuli-Venezia Giulia lagoon and more specifically, along the Isonzo river are acknowledged as steeped in European history. However, they have undergone a heavy development and significant environmental changes in more recent times. In fact, the area along the Isonzo river was progressively deforested and drained to be replaced by cultivated land as well as tourist resorts and new industrial sites. Grado itself, alas, is no longer an island due to tourist development. Hence, the strong necessity to preserve and, where possible, reintroduce at least some of the fauna and flora which have characterized this area for many centuries. For instance the storks, or the rare, white-tailed sea eagle (Haliaetus albicilla) after which the first Roman colony was probably named. A complex plan of refurbishment and, where possible, of restoration of degraded or reduced habitats is needed in order to reduce the continuous and progressive wetland degradation, in particular along the coasts.

A restoration plan

The estuary of the Isonzo river is still today one of the most important natural areas for its shallow waters, mudflats, wetlands as well as woodland and occasional springs. The so-called “Isola della Cona” is today linked to the mainland by a dam allowing easy access, but which also prevents freshwater from entering the Quarantia canal. All the springs in this area have been diverted and channelled into the new artificial Brancolo canal, causing the freshwater habitats to loose their original characteristics.

For this reason, based on a restoration project dating back to 1983, the wetland has been progressively re-designed and reintroduced on a fifty-hectare area. This project, mainly financed by the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region and by the European Union, includes the construction of a visitors’ centre to encourage eco-tourism and bird watching activities. Besides the shallow water areas, where frogs and amphibions live abundantly, also some islands, woodland, pools, canals, reedbeds and flooded meadows have been restored or newly created.

Fauna and Flora

Thanks to the recovery of degradated habitats, the many diversities in flora and fauna have widely increased. The most predominant are the bird-species which amount to over 300 species, of which at least 80 have also bred.

The most significant fauna species include, for instance, the black-winged stilt, which was nearly extinct in the past, the great bittern, the purple heron and the marsh-harrier which live in the dense reedbeds.

Thanks to the decrease of disturbance and habitat improvement thousands of ducks (up to 30,000 specimens) rest there during winter. This solution has had results beyond all expectations, considering the fact that this project had been criticised for being inadequate and restricted to too small an area for so many species. In other seasons there are great white and little egrets as well as the large, elegant spoonbill, which was considered to be nearly extinct as it requires highly specialized environmental conditions.

We should not forget the many water species living on the mudflats which emerge from water during low-tide, as for example the curlew, an elegant, mimical species with a long, curved beak, which has been adopted as the symbol of the Reserve; the noisy graylag geese, reintroduced with success, as well as thousands of white fronted goose from Siberia migrating to and from Africa. To re-establish such a complex eco-system, two groups of horses have been reintroduced to the area: one left free to graze in the pasture, allowing for a more uniform growth of the wetland vegetation; the other of trained ones used for the guided tours across the reserve. Both groups are Carmargue, an ancient, rustic breed which is used to the wetland habitat. Besides these horses, whose white mane recalls that of Diomede’s legendary horse, some cattle are periodically introduced into this area so as to re-establish the original balance between fauna and flora and the ancient migrations of the big grazing mammals. Even some amphibians such as the agile frog and the Italian tree frog have benefited from this improved habitat.

Sustainable tourism, environmental education, research

The Cona is well-known for its hides and screened footpaths, specially designed as observation points which do not disturb the wild fauna. The Marinetta observatory is undoubtedly the most interesting building after the visitors’ centre, which was inaugurated in 2002, and the “Museum of the Ducks”. It is entirely thathched with reeds, and is three storeys high. It overlooks the re-established wetland. It allows the noisy groups of visitors to enjoy an exceptional view of under water life and the Gulf of Trieste. The view reaches as far as Istria, the Karst and the Julian Alps; birds of prey are frequently seen swooping to capture one of the thousands birds in the area or plunging spectacularly into water.

Future prospects

The philosophy behind the projects carried out along the coast or in the lagoon aim at concentrating visitors in specifically designed areas so as to keep the more delicate and fragile territories as secluded as possible. This extremely effective solution has preserved the protected areas, and in some cases has also extended the territory as well as creating many new jobs related to sustainable tourism. In order to enhance the results reached so far, a biological station has been created in the Reserve with the aim of providing the guidelines for the managment and monitoring of the whole coastal and lagoon areas of the Region.

Dolomites of the Friuli Venezia

DOLOMITES OF THE FRIULI VENEZIA REGION

Friuli Venezia Dolomites

The natural Park of the Friuli Dolomites which covers an area of 37,000 hectares incorporates one of the most beautiful areas of the region. It includes the municipalities of Andreis, Cimolais,Claut, Erto, Casso, Frisanco and Tramonti di Sopra which are part of the province of Pordenone; and Forni di Sopra and Forni di Sotto which are both in Udine.

The main area of the Park, which in the past was not easily accessible due to its complex mountain network, has been preserved thanks to limited intrusion by humans. Its habitat and its spectacular landscape offer a high degree of wilderness, which makes this area a paradise for excursions, trekking and mountain climbing.

Many itineraries have been carefully modified and provided with accommodation facilities. They are spread over a territory of great geological interest, probably the most complex territory of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. Due to erosions caused by pollution, the rocks of the Dolomites have been re-modelled into different, spectacular shapes whose range of colours modifies according to the different light.

The “bell-tower” of Val Montanaia is the symbol of the Monfalconi area, which is part of a typical dolomite landscape. It is an imposing rocky tower which was climbed for the first time in 1902 by the two Austrian alpinists, Saar and Glanvell.

An easy route made by the Alpine troops at the beginning of the 1900s, leads you up to the Casera Casamento, where dinosaur footprints have been recently discovered embedded in the rocks. This discovery is of great interest.   

The footprints belonged to a two-footed animal with three digits on each foot, which probably lived in the Triassic era 215 million years ago, when the area was covered by vast mud flats.
An easy panoramic route from Costa to Casso, also known as the ancient “coal road” (Trui dalSciarbon), leads you to theZemola Valley, which is important from natural, historical and ethnographical viewpoints. Its pleasant landscape blends with the ancient and severe architecture of Erto and Casso, unfortunately, the images evoked by the tragic dam-burst and flooding of the Vajont valley inevitably dims the charm of this place.

At the end of 1600, the road was used by women who carried heavy panniers of coal on their shoulders. The coal was produced in the coal mines (poiàt) and transported down to Longarone. From there, it was loaded on to rafts which transited along the Piave river to Venice. This exhausting activity took place until the fifties but only in the last years was a cable car used to transport the coal down to the Piave valley.

It is easy to see many wild animals along the route from the Settimana to the Cimoliana valleys leading to the park or while stopping at the many, recently refurbished refuges. The patient and careful watcher is rewarded by the unforgettable sight of bucks, deer, chamois, and, higher up, of rock goats and marmots which often peep out from the vegetation and the rocks of their habitat. More easily discernible is the silent but spectacular flora of the Park. Its important species are surely one of the reasons why this territory has become a protected area. The following endemic species such as the sandwort (Arenaria huteri), the Daphne blagayana, a species of Thymelaeacea, the Froelich gentian (Gentiana froelich), the Primula tyrolensis and the Primula Wulfeniana are but some of the many valuable species of plants growing in the area. We should not forget more common species such as the splendid lady’s slipper (Cypripedium calceolus), a kind of orchid which blossoms profusely at the beginning of summer. Besides the flora and the fauna, the park also offers some fresh springs which turn into streams and small torrents and break into the silent woodland, remodelling its landscape and its rocks.

Some promotional projects for the Natural Park of the Friuli Dolomites have been set up particularly in schools. Over the last years, many students from all over the region and surrounding areas, have learned more about this naturalistic area thanks to the guided tours which take place throughout the year and are available to everyone. This is an interesting way of learning how the environment mutates in the different seasons. To help the visitor appreciate and enjoy the nature reserve, six visitors’ centres have been set up in the territory, some of which are open all year round, others by appointment only and only during high season (summer time). They all give additional information about the protected area.

The visitors’ centre at Cimolais is an important point of reference for tourists who wish to have information about the many excursions around the Park, which are ideal for those visitors venturing into the Natural Park for the first time. In particular, there is an educational tour which offers additional information about the fauna, flora, rock formations and vegetation. A brief interlude to familiarize the visitor with the surrounding, natural environment. The visitors’ centre at Erto is entirely dedicated to the floods which happened after the Vajont dam burst in 1963. The area is divided into two sections, one of which hosts an exhibition of old photographs which take us back over the centuries, to discover the traditions and habits of the Vajont inhabitants prior to the tragic event of 9 October 1963 and then to that fatal night, when a huge rockslide from mount Toc fell into the artificial lake, causing the dam to collapse and the death of 2,000 people. The other section gives a detailed analysis of the whole event, starting from the hydroelectric project of the Vajont right up to the court hearing following the tragedy. The story is narrated on descriptive panels; it is also possible to consult technical charts and examine and compare the plastic models of the area. The multimedia room offers a cd-rom which makes it possible to have a more general view of the catastrophe through the computerized reconstruction of the rockslide and original films dating back to that period.

The area of Andreis hosts a bird-life sanctuary, which was set up by an association for the care of wounded birds in cooperation with the local vet association. The area consists of a research centre, a study area, and a network of aviaries. The most interesting part is surely the aviaries, which can be found to the north of Andreis. They host different species of birds such as hawks, kestrels, buzzards, tawny owls, sparrow hawks, one goshawk and one golden eagle. Some of these birds have been so badly injured that will have to remain in captivity; others are freed once they are fully recovered. During convalescence, they are kept in special cages which are kitted out with rehabilitation equipment. When these birds are set free, the Park organises events, which are attended by adults and students, with a view to making them more environmentally aware. In the upper Tagliamento valley, the visitors’ centre at Forni di Sopra hosts the exhibition “La vegetazione del Parco”. It is about the vegetation of the area and is combined with excursions tailor-made for children, such as the “children’s pathway”. The visitors’ centre at Forni di Sotto has an exhibition on the different species of woodland, which is named “Le tipologie forestali del Parco”. 

It also includes interesting itineraries concerning the archaeology of the woodland, such as that of the “Teleferica della Val Poschiadea” (Cable car of the Poschiadea Valley). An additional visitors’ centre is to open soon at Frisanco and it will host an exhibition about dairy farming. The idea of an educational tour about the ancient dairy techniques was carried out after a former local dairy was refurbished. The tour describes the activities in a shepherd’s hut and the production of typical products.

The nearby “Forra del Cellina” Nature Reserve is adjacent to the parkland which extends over the municipalities of Andreis, Barcis and Montereale Valcellina. This Reserve includes the mountainous area between Barcis and Montereale which has been eroded into a gorge by the Cellina torrent. It carries the sediment into the Pordenone area where it is deposited, forming wide river beds.

This narrow gorge is similar to a canyon and is characterized by fluvial erosions which over the centuries, have created appealing rock sculptures such as the “marmitte dei giganti”. A winding road crosses the left side of the gorge for about ten kilometres up to the green lake of Barcis. Today, this attractive trail is not open, but it is due to be refurbished thanks to European Community funding. The tormented aspect of this valley led the most prominent poet of the Cellina valley, Giuseppe Malattia della Vallata (1875-1948), to believe that Dante may have found inspiration for spirals of his Inferno right here.

Exploring the Trieste Province in the Friuli Venezia Region of Italy

EXPLORING THE TRIESTE PROVINCE | FRIULI VENEZIA

Trieste Province of Italy


TRAVELING THROUGH THE TRIESTE PROVINCE IN THE FRIULI VENEZIA GUILIA REGION

When you start your adventure in the Trieste Province your best point of departure is the captial city of Trieste.  The city of Trieste is an international city with a historical and cultural heritage that can , awarded it the title of Middle European city. The City and Province are filled with splendid landmarks, stunning nature, and a rich and an ancient maritime tradition.

The local cuisine offers a mixture of Slav dishes, Austro-Hungarian cakes, soups from Friuli as well as Oriental spices.

Among this ethnic and cultural melting pot, however, there is a typical Italian flavour, the espresso coffee, which can be enjoyed in one of the many caffé (historic coffee houses). Going to these coffee houses is a traditional habit and a great pleasure for those who want to spend their time alone or in company. In Trieste coffee houses have always been venues for cultural events and meeting points of peoples. Trieste as a city was once the main port city of the Austria-Hungarian Empire and many of the most peculiar landmarks of the city today go back to the Habsburg period.

Trieste is also characterized by the liberty style, the rationalist architecture and by the more modern architecture of some public buildings. As a free-trade city, it soon became a venue for different populations such as Greek, Hebrew, Swiss, Germans, Slavs and English and, consequently, a meeting place for different religions too. The city hosts a Jewish temple, the Greek-Orthodox Church of San Nicolò, the Serbian-Orthodox Church of San Spiridione and an Evangelist Church. Among the many Catholic Churches, San Giusto Cathedral is the most famous one as it is the symbol of the civil and religious life of the city itself.

The stretch of coast below the lighthouse is called Barcola: it is a renowned area where the sailing boats competition “Coppa d’Autunno Barcolana” (Barcolana’s Autumn Cup) takes place every year, on the second Sunday of October.  More than one thousand boats coming from all over the world join the local competitors to celebrate this event which is not only a competition but also a celebration of the sea.

The well known Opicina tram links Trieste to Opicina. It climbs up a steep track despite the Bora wind (annual winds that sometimes reach 150 kph). Another town in the province of Trieste is Aurisina, whose name means “paese sul ciglione” (town on the cliff), which is located between the Carso and the sea. Sgonico is famous for the Grotta Gigante (Giant Cave), which was discovered during the mid 19th Century and open to the public since 1908. It is characterized by outstanding calcite concretions. The ancient village Monrupino was an important outpost since the Middle Ages, it consists of an intricate maze of narrow alleys and steep slopes.

EXPLORING THE COUNTRY SIDE OF THE TRIEST PROVINCE

Traveling along the Trieste Provinces coastline you can reach Miramare castle. Surrounded by white towers, it stands on top of a small promontory among a huge park. Maximilian of Habsburg, the brother of Frances Joseph and Emperor of Austria, decided to live in Trieste and had this romantic palace built for his love of Charlotte. Even though a tragic destiny conspired against the two unlucky lovers, their presence lives on today in the stunning rooms of the castle, decorated and furnished according to the 19th century fashion.

The hills of the Carso are made up of limestone that has been eroded over the years by wind and rain, it has always been considered a desolate place.  The Carso surface shows dolinas, rocky land riveted by rain and while the surface seems only to be white stony ground beneath so of Europe's most extensive cave systems.  The entire area is dotted with small churches, strongholds and castles, which were built on the remains of an ancient “castellieri” (prehistoric fortresses).

There are several wine cellars of country houses that sell wine and other home made products. The wine Terrano, grown in the “red land” is the local product and can be tasted everywhere.

Situated on the mountainous coastline, Duino is characterized by the castle of counts Torre and Tasso, which dates back to XIII century, and also by the remains of an ancient fortress built around 1000. 

Duino is linked to Sistiana by the Rilke pathway. This path winds along the cliffs and was named after the Romantic German poet Rilke who took his inspiration for his Duinesi poems in this very place. The track goes through the white stony ground of the Carso upland allowing the visitor to discover a landscape with a peculiar flora and fauna.  Sistiana is a renowned tourist area known for its beach and swimming areas, this village is characterized by its tourist port.

Outside Trieste, eastwards, is Muggia, a tiny village with narrow alleys which remind us of Venice and its atmosphere. Its history is mainly related to that of the Serenissima Republic. In order to remain loyal to Venice, Muggia parted from Trieste in the XIII century and was controlled by the Venetian republic in the following centuries. The village is surrounded by Medieval walls and is characterized by a 14th-century castle. Every February, Muggia prepares itself for Carnival which is, as a matter of fact, a joyous medieval feast.

The province of Trieste offers the visitor a varity of landscapes and cultural interest.  One should not miss the chance to visit one of Europe's more fabled but lesser known citys.

WHAT TO VISIT IN THE TRIESTE PROVINCE

 

 

Gorizia Province | Friuli Venezia Region

GORIZIA PROVINCE | FRIULI VENEZIA REGION

Gorizia Province Italy

The Province of Gorizia is a province in the autonomous Friuli–Venezia Giulia region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Gorizia. It belonged to the Province of Udine between 1924 and 1927 and the communes of Sonzia,Plezzo, Bergogna, Caporetto, Tolmino, Circhina, Santa Luciad'Isonzo, Gracova Serravalle, Canale d'Isonzo, Cal di Canale, Idria, Montenerod'Idria, Castel Dobra, Salona d'Isonzo, Gargaro, Chiapovano, Aidussina, Santa Croce di Aidùssina, Cernizza Goriziana,Tarnova della Selva,Sambasso, Merna, Ranziano, Montespino, Opacchiasella, Temenizza, Rifembergo, Comeno, San Daniele del Carso, Zolla, Vipacco, San Martino di Quisca and San Vito di Vipacco; and the eastern part of Gorizia, were part of this province between 1918 and 1924, and from 1927 to 1947. These communes are now part of Slovenia. It has an area of and a total population of over 142,035. The Province has a coastal length of less than 100 km. There are 25 communes in the province. Around 11% of the population of the province is of ethnically Slovene. Italian legislation ensures the protection of the Slovene linguistic minority in 9 of the 25 municipalities comprising the province. Three rural municipalities (Doberdò del Lago, Savognad'Isonzo and San Floriano del Collio) have an ethnically Slovene majority, but the majority of native Slovene speakers in the Province live in the urban area of Gorizia..  The Province is bordered by Udine Province, Trieste Province, Slovenia, and the Adriatic Sea.

Gorizia Province Italy

WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN GORIZIA

Dominated by its castle, The city of Gorizia is an Italian town that keeps its balance between its German and Venetian origins.During the Middle Ages, its imposing castle was inhabited by the Counts of Gorizia whose estate covered those territories nowadays belonging to Italy, Slovenia, Austria Boemia and Croatia. As we walk through the centre of Gorizia, we reach Palazzo Attems-Santacroce which overlooks Piazza De Amicis and hosts the Provincial Museums. Behind this striking palace is the ancient Jewish Ghetto and its Synagogue which hosts the Jewish Culture Museum. Along some main roads like Corso Verdi, Corso Italia and the charming Viale Venti Settembre there are some elegant open air coffee houses and shops.

For the gourmands, Gorizia offers unique recipes accompanied by local wines, like the D.O.C. (Controlled Denomination of Origin) wines from the Collio and the Isonzo areas. As a matter of fact, the hilly area of the Collio is famous for its high quality wines.Precious white wines like Sauvignon, Pinot grigio and Tocai can be tasted in many farm houses and wine cellars, which are always open to tourists and to those willing to drive along the “wine route” going from Gorizia to Dolegna.

The City of Cormons is the heart of the Collio area and is located in an enchanting hilly area very close to Gorizia. It has always been the main town of this enchanting hilly area, renowned not only for its geographic position but also for its trade. Its historical centre is surrounded by the ancient city walls dating back to the Longobardi (Lombard) time, which are the most ancient part of the city. Since the Middle Ages, the Market square has been the deputed place for the rite of the tajut, the Friuli appetizer which consists of a glass of white wine and some gossip.

Another town worth remembering is Gradisca, also known as the “countryside estate”. Firstly dominated by Venice, it was later ruled by the Hapsburg family. This town still preserves its ancient defensive walls as well as the Duomo, the Civic museum, the Merchant’s Loggia, the Monte di Pietà (pawnshop), the government palace of the Venetian rulers and the tower palaces.

Another significant town is San Floriano, whose inhabitants are proud of their Slav ancestors. Between the 5th and the 6th Century, their ancestors settled down right in this area and were able to revive the ancient Roman traditions. Vineyard growing nowadays is the main activity of this area and, in order to celebrate the ancient rites, a procession is held in mid July of every year, in honour of the Saints Ermacora and Fortunato.

Grado is a fascinating town that is characterized by its charming outline and its huge bell tower.It reveals its green pinewood, its gardens, parks, ports, sandy beaches and its buildings ranging from simple, ancient houses up to the most modern ones, to guesthouses and hotels. Among its ancient heritage, the town boasts some precious early Christian basilicas.Besides, the tourists are more and more attracted by its golden sandy beaches.

The town of Monfalcone has always played an important role as a link with Central and East Europe. Its fortress stands on a hill which was strategic for the control of the coastline going from Grado, Trieste up to Istria.

Guide to Bouldering Areas in the Friuli Venezia Region, Italy

BOULDERING AREAS IN THE FRIULI VENEZIA REGION

claut udine

Many of the Bouldering Area's in the Friuli Venezia Region are located in river beds.  There are only a few places to explore.

Bouldering Sites in the Friuli Venezia Region

There are only a few bouldering sites in the Friuli Venezia region,and several are river boulders and limestone.  There are no large destination spots, but there are a few places to enjoy.

FRIULI VENEZIA BOULDERING GUIDE

  • Claut
  • La Napoleonica
  • Torrente Vinadia
  • Val Resia

Julian Alps Regional Park | Friuli Venezia

JULIAN ALPS REGIONAL PARK | FRIULI VENEZIA REGION

Friuli Venezia, Julian Alps

The Regional Park of the Julian Alps was set up in 1996. It includes the municipalities of Chiusaforte, Lusevera, Moggio Udinese, Resia,Resiutta and Venzone, which are all in the province of Udine. The whole area, which is completely mountainous, measures about 100 square kilometres. This pre-alpine territory which extends from the Tagliamento river to the Slovenian border has become a protected area thanks to its specific characteristics in terms of nature, landscape and ethnography.

Nature

The park joins two geographically different areas: the Alps and the Julian Pre-alps. The first contains Mount Canin (2.587 m), including the peak between the Baba Piccola and the Prevala Pass, the whole Foran dal Muss plateau, the Bila Pec? and the Ladris peak. The Cochiaze-Guarda,Plauris-Lavara ridges as well as the Musi chain belong to the Pre-alps. They consist of long ranges of mountains running parallel from east to west and sloping down towards the Friuli plain.

The typical geomorphology, vegetation and the fact that human settlements are limited to the valley bed, provide the area with a high degree of wilderness and offer the perfect setting for long walks in a wild and suggestive landscape, often in complete solitude. The huge variety of fauna and flora come basically from three big bio-geographic areas: the Mediterranean, the Alpine and the Illyric regions. These species cannot be easily found anywhere else. The endemic species, the karst phenomena at high altitude, the springs, the abandoned mines, the dark beech wood, the rural villages, the livestock, the diversity of colours in autumn and then steinbocks, chamois, whistlers, all these greatly contribute to enhance these areas. Besides, they represent an important point of reference for the different cultures belonging to the Friuli and Slav regions.

Ethnographic aspects of the Resia valley

The Slav communities of Alta Torre and Resia valleys have maintained their ancient heritage through customs, music and dances which are not found anywhere else in the Alps. There are many folk celebrations in the different towns of the valley, such as the ancient carnival of the Resia Valley (Püst) where all the participants are dressed in old and worn-out clothes to look like tramps babaci or kukaci, or wear the most beautiful and precious traditional white masks, the so-called Te lipe bile mas?kare.

Ancient celebrations such as the “donation of cheese” or the “cambio della cameranza”* usually belong to religious ceremonies, which are enthusiastically accompanied by local music and dances.

The first settlements in the Resia Valley date back to the 7th century AC, when some Slav populations reached Italy after the Avari and the Longobards. In the past, Resia was a secluded valley between the Musi chain to the south, and the imposing Canin rock to the east and to the north. From the cultural viewpoint, it is a linguistic area with extremely important traditions, which are studied, even today by many Italian and foreign researchers. The Resian language derives from the Alpine Slavonic which is the basis for the Slavonic language spoken today. The question still remains as to whether it should be considered a dialect or a language in its own right. Resia is well known for the knife-grinding craft, which is still carried out in Stolvizza, where the local museum is dedicated to this ancient activity. The earthquake in 1976 badly damaged the most typical buildings, however the towns of Coritis and Stolvizza still have the typical Resian houses with stone walls and wooden balconies. As we move towards the Canin area, located between the Italian and the Austrian borders, the variety of ethnographic aspects is replaced by the significant remains dating back to the First World War, which had a strong impact on the area.

A project for environmentally friendly tourism aimed at sustainable development

Today, the Ente Parco is the authority in charge of the safeguard and promotion of this protected area. In co-operation with the local town authorities, the Ente Parco aims to protect and maintain the integrity and vitality of the territory for future generations, as well as set up the basis for sustainable, social and economic development. One of its main objectives was to enhance the area by improving its tracks and facilities. Many refuges, such as Goriuda, Rio Nero, Cjariguart, Canin have been refurbished and turned into rural hotels for those who need a stopover point during daily excursions or even longer trekking itineraries.

During summer it is possible to stop at the Malga Coot, a holiday farm at the foot of the Babe which is part of a project for the reintroduction of alpine livestock such as theplezzana sheep and the Resian cow. It also offers the opportunity for horse riding and trekking. The visitors’ Centre at Prato di Resia provides visitors with many information points and services. The structure overlooks the charming valley and the north-side of the Musi chain. Visitors can have more information about the area through exhibitions set up in dedicated rooms or they can go on a virtual tour of the area. The visitors’ Centre also offers accommodation for 20 people. Particularly interesting is the permanent exhibition “Forests, man, economy”, which is located in the Palazzo Organi Martina at Venzone. It is dedicated to the woodland and to the related activities. Some other visitors' centres will be soon set up in the surrounding areas, for instance at Resiutta (mining activities), at Sella Nevea (karst areas and speleology) and at Lusevera (protected areas of the Eastern Alps).

Marshes in the Friuli Venezia Region

MARCHES IN THE FRIULI VENEZIA REGION

venice-lagoon-trieste

The biotopes are small protected areas which aim to safeguard the local habitat and the rare species of flora and fauna often subject to extinction. Since 1996, when a regional law on protected areas was issued, 24 biotopes have been set up so far.

They mainly cover coastal resurgent areas, the magredi plains and hilly areas, where natural habitats are rare and greatly reduced. Together, the areas represented are the “magredi” (poor meadows), the wet coastal regions, low-lying peat fields and the hill and mountainous marsh areas.

The combination of different soils in today’s Friuli plain is due to different types of fluvial-glacial sediments which have been further modified by man while exploiting the different natural resources over the centuries. In the past, any traveller who visited these areas would see arid meadows spreading over large areas of the high plains, wide marshes in the resurgent areas and woodland on the low plains. Land reclaiming and rationalisation as well as improved farming techniques have helped increase the exploitable agricultural areas and created more uniformity of landscape among the plains.

Today’s traveller can satisfy his curiosity by visiting the biotopes of the magredi of St. Quirino and of the marshes of Flambro and Virco: they not only exemplify those habitats which have nearly become extinct today but are also the only remnants of the ancient Friuli plain.  

The “Magredi” of St. Quirino

The huge alluvial sediments carried by the Cellina and Meduna torrents have certainly formed the part of the plain which has been less influenced by man. Its primitive soils, together with seasonal grazing of livestock, have contributed to form and maintain large expanses of poor pastures, the so-called “magredi”. This kind of landscape was very common in most of the Venetian-Friuli high plains. The progressive rural development has lead to conserve almost only these areas which are under military ownership or near the shores of torrential rivers. The biotope of St. Quirino covers and protects an area of about 20 hectares. Although the “magredi” could seem uninteresting, the flora is rich in species from the Mediterranean, Illyric, Alpine and Central-European areas. The abundance of flowers in spring includes many orchids and rare species of plants such as a particular type of cabbage (Brassicaglabrescens), which is endemic to the Friuli “magredi”, and the Crambe (Crambe tataria), probably introduced by the Barbarian invasions and today perfectly integrated in the habitat. Its closest stations are in Hungary. As a matter of fact, there are different types of meadows to discover, which stretch from the river shores up to the higher terraces, where a layer of infertile, leach soil characterises the ground and has caused the partial stagnation of water.

The fauna includes many species of birds of prey. Its landscape is certainly remarkable: during clear, winter days, these meadows seem to blend with the snowy peaks of the Carnic pre-alps. The slight inclination of the alluvial cones to the south allows a wider view nearly up to the sea. The river beds which are usually dried-up unless some significant flood occurs, give the impression of being on a steppe, similar to that of Central Asia. Nowadays the arid meadows need to be looked after to prevent bushes from completely overgrowing the area, now that seasonal pasturing of livestock is no longer common, thus avoiding the extinction of fauna and flora.

The biotopes of Flambro and Virco

The low-lying alkaline peat fields and the ancient landscape around the Friuli resurgence are a rare sight these days. The two biotopes of Flambro and Virco are probably the best preserved areas. The springs are formed of water which runs under the gravel in the high plain, and emerges thanks to a different consistency of the substratum. Pools, springs, moats and rivers form a complex water network on the surface. Among the most significant habitats, are the so-called alkaline peat areas and the small areas of purple moor grass “molinieti”.

Those poor areas had little to offer to their inhabitants. The grassland was mown at least once a year and the carts were carried along small, raised cattle-tracks. In the past, these areas were more extensive and the huge quantity of water could guarantee their preservation.

Today, the ground water table has retreated and the grassland is neither mown nor produces straw. The ever growing bushes suffocate the rarer species. Armeria helodes and Erucastrum palustre are two plants of European relevance which grow only in few small areas of the Friulan alcaline fens. There are also some other rare species such as the round leaf sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), a carnivorous plant which makes up for the lack of nitrogen, characteristic of peaty soil, by eating insects. These habitats house many birds of prey as well as many amphibians and rare insects. The dynamics of this environment have made it necessary for an active part to be played in the management of the biotopes, bushes need to be cut back and the grasslands mown so as to protect the environment which is becoming rare and on the verge of extinction.

By walking along these areas you understand how complex the agricultural habitat of this plain could have been: with its marshes, peat fields and arid plains, which were often enriched with organic fertilizer and alternated with cultivated fields, woodland and hedges which grew in patches depending on the quantity of water available. Today, water is channelled into ditches or canals along the fields, it is a driving force as well as a key element to better understanding this habitat, whose skyline is almost always interrupted with trees or with orderly hedgerows.

The peat fields of Schichizza

This biotope covers roughly 10 hectares on the west-side of the Fusine plain, between the Julian Alps and the Caravanche. As in all the Tarvisio area, eastwards of the Camporosso Pass, the water flowing down from this area reaches the Danube basin. The climate of the Fusine plain is similar to that of Central Europe as it is colder and drier than the Prealps.

The habitat, which is characterised by marshy meadows and peat fields interspersed with numerous streams, is dotted with Scotch pines, and recalls the landscape of the Central and Northern Alps rather than that of the marshy lowlandsSome rare species of plants such as the white hellebore (Veratrum album subsp. album) and the white beak sedge (Rhynchospora alba) carpet this biotope. Extensive blossoming of Siberian irises (Iris sibirica) and marsh gentians (Gentiana pneumonanthe) enhance the flora. Among its fauna there is the oriental hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor roumanicus) and many other small mammals. Of great interest is also the wide mown grassland, which is often very wet and covers almost all the plains adjacent to the biotope. Some traces of the ancient railway, which was inaugurated in 19th century and linked Tarvisio with Jesenice and Lubiana, can still be seen here.

Province of Pordenone | Friuli Venezia Giulia Region

PROVINCE OF PORDENONE | FRIULI VENEZIA 

pordenone province

The Province of Pordenone was established in 1963 detaching from the Province of Udine the places on the right side of the Tagliamento River. The province includes the Parco naturale delle Dolomiti Friulane - Cimolais and 2 Natural Reserves, Prescudin and Forra del Cellina - Barcis.

The province of Pordenone is the westernmost of the four provinces in the autonomous region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia in northeastern Italy. It is bounded to the east and north by the Province of Udine. To the west lies the Province of Belluno, to the southwest the Province of Treviso and to the south, the Province of Venice, all in the region of Veneto. The province is located in the lowlands of the Po-Venetian Valley, south of the Venetian Prealps and the Alpine foothills of Friuli. It is the only province in the autonomous region that does not border on the Adriatic Sea. The provincial capital is the city of Pordenone, an ancient port on the River Noncello.

Hilly country in the north of the province give way further south to the flat land of the lower Po Valley. Rivers cross the province from north to south carrying runoff from the melting snow in the Alps. Much of the water sinks underground and resurfaces on the plains as a zone of springs.

HISTORY OF PORDENONE PROVINCE

Pordenone was settled before 2000 BCE and was situated along the boundary between Villanovan and Alpine Halsatt cultures.[2] It was under the rule of Treviso during the Middle Ages, although it was sacked by Aquileian soldiers in 1233 CE. The Austrian House of Habsburg subsequently ruled the area between 1278 and 1508, although the land surrounding it was briefly entirely under the rule of Venice. In the 15th century it was an important centre for the production of paper, textiles, ceramics, silk, and wool, and attracted Tuscan merchants.

In 1508, Venice occupied the city in response to calls from pro-Venetian residents of Pordenone, but this occupation was not well-received. It fell under the rule of Bartolomeo d'Alviano after this occupation until 1537, when Venice invaded the city. It was left under Venetian rule until the invasion of the area by Napoleon in 1797; it was later controlled by Austria between 1813 and 1866. In 1866, it was conquered by the Kingdom of Italy. It was the third Italian city to use hydroelectric power, after Milan and Tivoli, in 1888. It was occupied by Austrians during World War II, and it was bombed forty-three times in World War II.

TOWNS OF THE PORDENONE PROVINCE

Rock Climbing Guide to the Friuli Venezia Guilia Region, Italy

 Rock Climbing Guide to the Friuli Venezia RegionRock Climb Italy's, Friuli Venezia Region

The Friuli Venezia Region is a great location for a climbing vacation.  Many of the classic cliffs are along the Adriatic coastline, and if you climb at Erto or across the Solvenia border at Osp, you will find climbs at higher grades to challenge yourself on.  

Friuli Venezia region consists of a flat plain, close to the Tagliamento river and to the Adriatic coastline, with its plain and lagoons; a foothills region that includes the  Carnic and Julian Pre-Alps; and an Alpine Part, which includes the Carnic and Julian Alps. The main climbing areas are near the city of Trieste with some smaller cliffs thoughout the northern part of the region.  The best know climbing area is Erto climbing area located in the western part fo the region near the Veneto Region border.

PLEASE READ:

If you can get to one of the sites I have described be sure and buy the local guidebookif it is being sold by someone who has bolted routes in the area. The routes I recommend and routes I have tried over the years, I cannot tell you how some of the routes are now since I do not climb at the same level.

Map of rock climbing sites in the Friuli Venezia region of Italy

Friuli Venezia Rock Climbing Sites
  • Doberdò del Lago
  • Erto Rock Climbing Site | Climb Italy
  • Anduins (Masarach)
  • Bosplans (Al Palazzo)
  • Costiera
  • Napoleonica
  • Sistiana
  • Avostanis (Pramosio)
  • Ponte San Quirino
  • Rifugio Pordenone
  • Piancavallo
  • Dardago
  • Val Rosandra
  • Osp
  • Dolge Nuve
  • Falesia del Nut
  • Bila Pec
  • Monte Strabut
  • Cretons
  • Madrabau
  • Villanuova
  • Sompiago
  • Braulins
  • Masarch
  • Travesio

 

Rosandra Valley | Friuli Venezia Region

ROSANDRA VALLEY | FRIULI VENEZIA REGION

Rosanda Valley Friuli Venezia

This reserve is entirely within the municipality of San Dorligo della Valle (Dolina). It includes the highest peak of the Karst, Mount Cocusso, which is 670 metres high, and the deep crevasse of the Rosandra valley, formed by the Rosandra torrent. With its 30-metre waterfall, this torrent marks the presence of the fault formed where limestone andflysh meet. From this point on, the torrent runs on calcareous soil and forms small waterfalls, lakes and gorges. Of exceptional value are not only the Karst woodland, the non-spontaneous Austrian pinewoods and the particular characteristics of the moorland of Mount Stena, but also the different habitats of the Rosandra valley ranging from watery to rocky landscapes. This valley’s morphology is unique, and besides the north-west, south-west direction allowing an easy passage for the Bora wind, also the mountain ridges are different.

Its vertical rocky walls exposed to sun to the right contrast with the huge alluvial fields to the left, thus creating nearly completely contrasting microclimates. In particular, there is a pioneering vegetation along the “macereti” consisting of mountainous and rocky species, with a high concentration of rare species from alpine and oriental areas. This is the only area in Italy where species such as the Moehringia tommasinii, a very rare oriental chickweed, grow. The thistle variety, Drypis spinosa ssp.jacquiniana is a tertiary species which survived the glaciations thanks to these extremely selective cliffs which provided protection for many species.

Despite its wild and apparently inhospitable aspect, this valley has been densely populated since prehistory.

The remains found and the fortifications strategically built on the opposite mountain sides so as to control access, together with the roman aqueduct transporting water to Tergeste (the ancient name for Trieste) the small medieval church of St. Mary in Siaris and some other remains, represent this area’s history and traditions over the centuries. 

The Great War in the Friuli Venezia Region

WW1 IN THE FRIULI VENEZIA REGION

In October 1915, two countries contested a particularly strategic area, known today as “Carso Goriziano” (Karst of Gorizia). On one side the brave, badly equipped, Italian troops, on the other side the Austro Hungarian troops who were trying to protect a nearly collapsing Empire. And on this arid and colourful upland, history set up its natural stage. A theatre of war, described as «a desert of stones and blood», still remembered with compassion today. It was not by chance that the Isonzo Valley was later visited by unusual tourists in the post-war period: i.e. by the former soldiers of the Italian and the Austro Hungarian troops returning to the same places where bloody battles had taken place from 1915 to 1917. Simultaneously, as this phenomenon became common in all Europe, the most famous tourist guides started to include these unusual battlefield itineraries.

The former soldiers and their relatives have recently been replaced by a new generation of tourists. Less sombre tourists, people fond of the so-called military tourism, yet who are often real globetrotters and are keen to visit the battlefields of Europe (from Waterloo to Normandy). There are many interesting sites along the border with Slovenia. Some of them have only recently become accessible since 1991 and are the real symbols of the Great War.

We suggest the route from Monte Sabotino along the Isonzo front, (the strip of land leading from the Monte Nero to the mouth of Punta Sdobba). It covers an intricate network of galleries, trenches, open air monuments and memorials which are viewed with astonishment, fascination and dismay even by the better informed visitors. Time has stopped here. A sad silence arises from a remarkable wild landscape as a reminder of the battlefields, disturbed only by the fortifications dug in the rocky soil.

If we look at the arid tracks winding along the crest of the Mount Sabotino, it is difficult to believe that thousands of soldiers fought for a strip of Karst whilst literally clinging on the rocky spurs above the Isonzo river.

From this point, the Gorizia Karst winds along the whole valley. (the Slovenian side bears the name of Goris¡ka Brda). The Collio is a very small area known all over the world for its top quality wine as well as for the bloody and cruel battles which occurred between 1915 and 1916. These battles were remembered by the famous war correspondent Alice Schalek. She reported that Oslavia was a dead land, as mortally wounded as the fallen of its territory. Today, Oslavia gives the impression of an idyllic, quiet place, only disturbed by the impressive ossuary tower.

In this area, distant only a few miles from the “iron curtain” which separated the West from the East for half a century, the silence of nearly sixty thousand fallen reposed in the few regiment cemeteries not pulled down in the 30s, seem to reveal how a peaceful coexistence of different populations can be both fragile and yet necessary.

This attitude, however, has two faces. On one hand, cooperation activities, trade over the border and cultural exchanges (Gorizia was said to be the most open border in all Europe during the dark 70s), on the other hand diffidence, closeness towards the Slavic world, which was too different and unknown to be accepted without fear. Slovenia has planned to enter the European Community in 2004 as well as the removal of the border between the two countries after the following years. And so, uncertainty will fade away and a new monument, another emblem of the past, will be probably erected.

Separation is a recurrent theme proposed by the tourist offer of the Isontino area. The Museo della Grande Guerra (Museum of the Great War) has represented the heritage from the main provincial museums since 1990. It also features the collection of the Museo della Redenzione (museum of the redemption) which was hosted by Palazzo Attems from 1924 to 1983. The museum has been designed to offer a hint for reminiscence as well as an impartial version of the dramatic war events from which only a message of peace shall arise. It features an interesting study centre which has never ceased to innovate in terms of collections and layout solutions. In fact, in 1999, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Divisione Alpina Julia (alpine troops active during World War I) a thematic exhibition was added to the existing cultural itinerary. Today, it represents the main reference point for all of the study activities related to the First World War. It combines efficaciously the art of collecting with the historical analyses and historiography introspection so as to answer to the only question made by those who have visited all the battlefields. Why has war occurred?

From Gorizia, a town ready to promote the visible war tracks in the nearby areas (the Ossuary-Podgora well serves this purpose as a remarkable open air museum), it is easy to reach the Carso, the limestone barren land mentioned in Scipio Slataper’s songs, a war volunteer who had been killed next to the Ossuary. The Carso represents a war memorial for a whole generation of Italians, Hungarians, Slovenians, Austrians, Bohemians and Rumanians. Today, it is included in many tourist guides promoting the area, such as the Hermada, which represents a challenge for a type of integrated tourism, going beyond the usual frontiers.

And exclusively in this area, the “dodici battaglie dell’Isonzo” (the twelve battles along the Isonzo river) took place on 8th August 1916, which concluded with the takeover of Gorizia by the Italian Army.

Along these tracks across a bare territory, changing into bright colours in Autumn, visitors come across many memorials and museums which recalls the sacrifice of the Sacrario di Redipuglia, “the Cemetery of the Undefeated of the Third Battalion”.

Constructed in 1938, it is a national monument dedicated to the over one hundred thousand of fallen warriors who rest in peace beneath a flight of twenty-two white steps.

A surreal scenario in which the perspective leads the visitor’s eyes towards the sky and to the three bronze crosses placed on top of this unimaginable “stairway to heaven”. At the foot of the huge monumental area, built on a side of the Mount Sei Busi, centrally lies the huge tomb of the Duca d’Aosta, which hosts the Commander of the Third Battalion and his generals. On 4th November of every year, the high offices of State attend the Armed Forces Day which in particular commemorates all the fallen of the Carso, who died during one of the most dramatic events of the 20th century.

Travel Guide to the Friuli Venezia Region, Italy

TRAVEL GUIDE TO THE FRIULI VENEZIA REGION OF ITALY

Historically, parts of the Friuli Venezia region has been part of Austria, then later part of Yugoslavia before becoming a part of Italy.  The region that is now known as Friuli Venezia Giulia was  created as an autonomous Italian region in 1963.  As you travel the region you will see the influences of these historic powers have had over the area even today.)

 

From north to south there is a big difference in the appearance of the region. Heading north from the coast there are large lagoons to cross that are popular with nature lovers and an extensive area of flat agricultural terrain. Then you enter into the hills of the Prealps where  vineyards cover the central area  and the Carso plateau along the border with Slovenia. Further, to the north and east of you reach the high mountain scenery of the Julian Alps  and  Friuli Dolomites that dominate the horizon in Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

Provinces of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region of Italy

TRIESTE PROVINCE- UDINE PROVINCE - GORIZIA PROVINCE- PORDENONE PROVINCE

Because of this mixed geography the region has both popular coastal destinations in the summer and mountain ski resorts in the winter, as well as year round opportunities to enjoy the impressive scenery. 

friuli-region-map

WHAT TO SEE IN THE FRIULI VENEZIA REGION

Friuli-Venezia region is away from the more popular destinations in Italy and has plenty to discover.  The region is an ideal destination for those wishing to avoid the tourist hordes and explore somewhere new.

Among the highlights in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, is the town of Udine, and the nearby  towns of Spilimbergo and San Daniele. As well, the colourful town at Goriziaand the Lombardy style town at Cividale del Friuli are great places to visit. Other suggested destinations include the towns of Grado and Pordenone, while the Carso valley and plateau contains several attractive hill towns and villages that are quite isolated.

Also in the region are some impressive Roman ruins at Aquileia, reminding is of the towns important role as a centre of Roman Italy and now a UNESCO protected heritage site. The City of Trieste is the known for its cafe and the being where James Joyce lived for a time should be a must.  Near Trieste be sure to visit the Grotte Gigante, the largest (visitable) cave system in the Europe.

If you like beaches the region is border by the western part of the Adriatic coast with sandy beaches and popular resorts such as Lignano Sabbiadoro and Grado. While the section of coast to the east of Monfalcone has more dramatic scenery with cliffs of the Gulf of Trieste.  Here you will also find the castle at Miramare, Trieste and the old harbour at Muggia.

In the northern part of the region there are a few popular ski areas that include Forni di Sopra, Piancavallo, Ravascletto and Tarvisio.  The northern part of the Region borders Austria with whom Italy fought against in WW1.  The old battle grounds of Caporetto, the Redipulgia memorial and area near the Piave are all interesting sites to visit.

 Physical Profile of the Friuli Venezia Region of Italy

friuli-profile

OUTDOOR RECREATION IN THE FRIULI VENEZIA REGION

TOWNS OF THE FRIULI VENEZIA REGION

Trieste – Capital of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, important port city in region, formerly part of Hapsburg Empire, beautiful architecture along waterfront
Udine – Historic capital of Friuli region, beautiful historic center and churches, near the UNESCO-designated Aquileia Roman excavations and cathedral
Pordenone – City near Veneto border, home to 12th-13th century churches and palaces as well as the remains of a Roman villa
Gorizia – City near Slovenian border, primarily medieval historic center, much of the city was heavily damaged during World War I but has been rebuilt, sights include a castle, cathedral, and 17th century church
Lignano – Beach resort town on Adriatic, also known as Lignano Sabbiadoro
Grado – Beach resort and spa town on peninsula between Venice and Trieste, near ancient Roman city of Aquileia
Palmanova – Small city near Udine, 16th century walls (still intact) form a 9-pointed star pattern
Tarvisio – Alpine ski resort town near borders of both Austria and Slovenia
Monte Zoncolan – Popular mountain peak in Alpine part of region, commonly used in bike races, popular ski destination

 

Udine Province | Friuli Venezia Region

UDINE PROVINCE | FRIULI VENEZIA REGION

Udine Province of Italy

The Udine Province is located in the Emila Romagna Region of Italy. The province is bordered by Pordenone Province, Gorizia Province, Adriatic Sea, and Austria. 

Udine Province Italy

what to see in the Udine Province

The city of Udine is documented as be a thousand-year-old city but archaeological evidence now shows it birth started two millennia prior, Udine was once surrounded by thick city walls. The layout of the current historic city centre seen today, began to take shape during the early period of Venetian control in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Also enjoy the specially priced “Friuli Doc” menus laid on by local Osteria, comprising the ancient yet simple cuisine of the Alpi Carniche and the region’s marine areas.

You can enjoy superb and unparalleled views over the entire Friuli region from the Colle del Castello. There is a legend that Attila enjoyed the sight of the burning city of Aquileia from this hill.

Savours and colours are also a major theme in city of San Daniele, a small hilltop town renowned for its gastronomic delights and itself a veritable treasure chest of art, history and culture. The town is especially famous for its remarkable ham, the “Sandaniele”.

Another splendid city just a short distance from the sea is the city of Aquileia, which offers visitors a landscape dotted with relics from a prestigious past. This Roman colony was founded in 181BC by order of the Senate, with the aim of warding off the Celts and establishing a base from which to control operations in the Adriatic, and also the two tribes, the Lyrics and the Istrians. Aquileia quickly became an operations base and an important garrison for the entire North-Eastern Alps. However, with Attila the Hun’s conquest in 452, the strategic importance of the Roman stronghold was weakened while the role of the Aquileian church was promoted.

Another town steeped in history, mystery and culture is Cividale. The town dates back to around 50BC and was founded by Julius Caesar as a location of strategic military importance for controlling the North-Eastern border passes. It later became a municipium and was subsequently included in the so-called “Tenth Region” of Italy. When the Lombards invaded Italy in 568 their king Alboino chose

Another historical location is Gemona, a prehistoric settlement populated first by the Celts and later by the Romans. Gemona castle fell into disrepair at the end of the Venetian period, was destroyed completely in the earthquake of 1976 and is now coming to the end of a period of ongoing restoration.

It would be wrong to touch on defence without mentioning the town of Palmanova. The imposing fortress of Palma, later known as “la nuova”, was constructed in Friuli by the Venetians as a defence system. The construction of the citadel, which is designed in a striking nine-pointed star shape with 18 sides, was only given the go ahead after it was decided not to exploit defences at Udine.

Towards Codroipo in Passariano is the Villa Manin, the largest villa in Northeast Italy. The immensity of this villa lends it the air more of a Central European residence than a villa, in spite of the fact that it possesses all the traditional characteristics of a Venetian-inspired villa

Leaving the motorway at the San Giorgio al Nogaro exit, it is only a short drive to the Marano lagoon, a vast area that encompasses the Foci dello Stella nature reserve. This wide expanse has long been recognised as a wetland of international importance, most notably on account of the migratory birdlife that populates the area. With regard to flora, this takes the form of an immense stretch of reed thicket broken by pools and small bays that turn into “sandbanks”, small, muddy islands topped with salt-water plants.

Another important nature reserve in the region is the Valle Cavanata. This reserve is host to a population of gulls, cormorants, swans and other aquatic birdlife. Lastly, a little further towards the East lies the regional nature reserve of Foce dell’Isonzo.

Lignano Sabbiadoro never fails to attract holidaying tourists. The resort is located on a peninsula that hangs out into the Adriatic Sea. A special feature of Lignano, as its name suggests (sabbia – sand; oro - gold), are the eight kilometres of fine sand which reflect the warm, golden tones of the sun.

Venice to Trieste Bike Tour, Northern Italy

VENICE TO TRIESTE BIKE TOUR | FRIULI VENEZIA

Bike Tour the Adriatic Coast

The Friuli Venezia Region offers countless sites with a special charm just waiting to be discovered; Medieval fortress towns, Roman archaeological excavations, Italian Piazzas, and buildings embossed with Venetian influence will help any visitor forget time and pace, helping you relax. While on the one side, the Adriatic stretches calmly and silently, the Julian Alps rise majestically to the north. The tour follows the historical migration routes from the Balkans and middle Europe into Italy

  • DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Easy (plenty of extra loops after you reach your destination)
  • BEST TIME OF YEAR TO RIDE: Later April/Early May or Late September.  Warmer months make the routes crowded with beach traffic.  During the off season you will find very little open at most of the beach resort areas. 
  • TYPE OF BIKE: Road Bike or Hybrid

HIGHLIGHTS OF TRIP

  • Venice and the surrounding islands
  • Carole
  • Grado
  • Beaches of the Adriatic
  • Portogruaro
  • Aquilea
  • Miramare castle
  • Trieste
  • Portoroz
  • The Carso
  • Istria

Day 1: Saturday - Arrival in Venice (Mestre)


Arrive at the hotel on the mainland where the tour will begin. For those arriving early Venice is just a short boat ride away.

Day 2: Sunday - Venice - Jesolo- Carole (37 miles/60 km)

Cycle through the backcountry following the river Sile to reach Jesolo and surroundings. The beaches of Cavallino seem endless, this strip of land north of the Venice lagoon, is lined with fishing boats and souvenir stalls on the sea side, and farmland on the inland. Before you leave Venice through the "backdoor," the opportunity exists for an excursion to the lighthouse at the outmost end of the island for a last view of the city and surrounding islands.

After Jesolo ride through the old Roman settlement of Ecorle and along the coast passing fishermen's cottages, until you reach Caorle a wonderful, small, seaside resort with a historical center. (Overnight Carole)



Day 3: Monday - Carole - Portogruaro (37 miles/59 km)


Leaving the sea for a while and heading in land, toward the horizon of the Julian Alps, you are riding through the lands between the Piave and Tagelmento Rivers. There is an extra loop that takes us over to where Ernest Hemingway was wounded in WW1.  Or head straight to Portogruaro.

During the period of the Venetian Republic, Portogruaro was regarded as a very important river harbour in the "Serenissima." Even today, there are those in Portogruaro who regard their city as the most Venetian. They are not entirely incorrect, when you look at the Venetian embellishments of the magnificent buildings and places. (Overnight Portoguaro)

Day 4: Tuesday - Portoguaro – Aquileia - Grado (37 miles/ 60 km)


Besides the beaches of the Adriatic, there is a lot to discover: ruins of former Roman cities, ancient churches and lonely landscapes on the edge of the lagoon. Wondering along various canals we will first reach Aquilia. Once a large city of the Roman Empire,and visit the excavations of Aquilia before making your way to the seaside resort town of Grado. (Overnight Grado)

Bike Tour Italy's Adriatic Coast

Day 5: Wednesday - Grado – Miramare - Trieste (33 miles/53 km)


Today's route continues through the Carso of Trieste once a barren landscape of rocky caverns, before returning to the sea and a coastline of unique beauty. Where the elevated plateaus plunge into the deep blue water and the white precipices stand upright jutting towards the heavens. The coastal road then follows through the towns of Duino, Sistiana, Miramare, and Barcola. Take time to visit the castle of Miramare above the Bay of Grignano. Trieste is where you will be spending the night. (Overnight Trieste)

Day 6: Thursday - Trieste – Portoroz  (19 miles/31km or 35 miles/56km)


After a short distance, you leave Italy to enter Slovenia. The route continues mostly on cycle paths through well-known seaside resorts like Koper (Capodistria) and Izola (Isola d' Istria), to Piran (Pirano) finally reaching Portoroz (Portorose), a spa resort on the Slovenian Riviera.

There is a more challenging route that takes you over and through the Rosandra Valley. A beautiful ride through the hills.

Day 7:  Friday - Portoroz – Porec - Protoroz (36 miles/59 km)


Cycling past the salt gardens of Secovlje where sea salt is recovered through natural vaporization, you cross over the border into Croatia. The route travels through the Croatian part of Istria, the largest peninsula on the Adriatic with its slightly hilly terrain on the way to Porec, the most important coastal city on the west coast of Istria. It is certainly worth a visit to Euphrasian-Basilica which has been taken up by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site.

Day 8:  Saturday -Departure


Return by boat to Venice or a quick shuttle over to Trieste to catch a train back to Venice.

Bike Tour Italy's Adriatic Coast

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