COLLI GORIZIA WINE ZONE
The Collio Goriziano is the 4th largest DOC in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia in terms of areas planted. It is also the 4th leading producer in terms of volume, trailing the Friuli Grave, Isonzo and Colli Orientali del Friuli region in production. Over 85% of the Collio production is in white wine grape varieties. While still low in comparison to the rest of Italy, the yields in the Collio Goriziano are higher than the 3.5 tons an acre average of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia. In the Collio, the yields average around 4.4 tons/acre (77 hectolitres/ hectare) though some quality conscious producers have lower yields. Winemaker Mario Schiopetto was one of the first to incorporate German winemaking techniques like cold fermentation to white wine production in the Collio Goriziano. Today, winemaking on the region is very technologically advance with refrigerated fermentation tanks, pneumatic wine presses, and centrifugation bottling systems. The objective of most Gorizian Hills winemakers is to maximize the fresh fruit and pure varietal characteristic of the grape. To that extent, oak influence is not widely used in this region though some winemaking are experimenting with its use and different blends of grape varieties to produce more complex wine.
The Gorizia Hills (Collio; or Brda) is a hilly microregion in the Friuli Venezia Region of northeastern Italy. It lies on the right bank of the Soča (Isonzo) river, north and west of the Italian town of Gorizia, after which it is named. The region has around 120 square kilometres and 7,000 inhabitants, mostly ethnic Slovenes, with a small number of Friulian speakers in its westernmost part (in the municipality of Dolegna del Collio). Today, the majority of the region is in Slovenia, with around 60% of the territory and 80% of the inhabitants. The Slovene part of the Gorizia Hills lies entirely in the Municipality of Brda. The Italian part lies within the boundaries of the Province of Gorizia, and it's divided among the municipalities of San Floriano del Collio, Cormons and Dolegna del Collio. The region is predominately a white wine producer with Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia Istriana, Chardonnay, Pinot bianco, Pinot grigio and Sauvignon blanc being the leading varietals. Red wine is produced under the Collio Rosso designation and is usually a blend of Merlot, Cabernet franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. In Italy, the Gorizia Hills are designated Denominazione diorigine controllata (DOC) and belong to the Italian wine region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The DOC is located in the province of Gorizia near the border with Slovenia. Some Slovene wine from the region of Brda also carry the designation of Collio due to their vineyards overlapping across the Italian border.
Along the wine route there are many places that reminds visitors of the cruel remains of the First World War, for instance the ossuary of Oslavia which hosts the bodies of sixty thousand fallen. There is also pleasant landscape offered by the hills overlooking the whole plain around the Isonzo river, i.e. San Floriano, Spessa, Còrmons, Ruttars, where the ancient nobility built their castles, towers and manors. The Collio invites its visitors to bike or walk along country roads and paths, enjoy nature, relax and stop for a holiday in its woods and parks. All characterized by a perfect landscape of vineyards as well as by good wine and food from its wine cellars andagriturismo (farms serving local dishes).
CORMONS GORIZIA | FRIULI VENEZIA REGION
A column of smoke arising from the top of the mount Quarin signalled danger. From fortress to fortress it reached the Carnia, the boundary of the Roman Empire, which was threatened by barbarian invasions. Of that ancient fortress in Cormòns, only a massive breached tower and an irregular ring of stones belonging to the ancient walls remain today. Nonetheless, the expansive view is always marvellous from these remains.
From the top of the Alps the view descends to the so-called “Soglia di Gorizia”, i.e. the lowest passage of the Alps from which the barbarians coming from the Far East countries entered Italy during the dark ages. The gentle slopes of the Collio patched with vineyards and cherry trees lie all around the area. Southwards, the plain is crossed by the Isonzo River which flows into the Adriatic Sea, glittering in the sunshine.
From the top of mount Quarin, the panoramic view up to nearby Slovenia lets us understand why Cormòns is pleased to define itself as “the heart” of the Collio. The town not only represents a geographic centre but also an economic point of reference. As a matter of fact, it has been the main centre of this enchanting hilly area next to Gorizia for ages. Today it is well reputed for its wine, excellent restaurants, elegant hotels and comfortable agriturismo (farms serving typical regional dishes.)
The ancient origin of its name probably derives from the Celtic word Carmona, (the land of weasels). In the VIII century, it was seat of the Aquileian patriarch and prior to that it was already famous for its wine and fruit production.
In the Middle Ages, it was a trade centre. Between the 1600s and the 1700s it was embellished with churches and palaces. Today, Cormòns is a quiet town in Hapsburg style featuring private and public buildings with nice facades, churches with onion-like domes and a theatre in neoclassic style.
The most ancient part of Cormòns is the medieval centa of Lombard origins, i.e. a maze of narrow alleys lined with brightly painted houses, around which lies the historic centre, characterized by harmonious 17th- and 18th-century buildings. Like for instance, the Cathedral of Sant’Adalberto, an imposing 18th-century building, the neoclassic palazzo Locatelli (now seat of the Town Hall) whose harmonious façade overlooks Piazza XXIV Maggio, the “lounge” of the town. As a matter of fact, the Cormòns inhabitants enjoy meeting in this square, which hosted the market during the Middle Ages. Today, thanks to a renowned wine cellar and to elegant bars, this square has been deputed for the tajut, rite (the very popular aperitif of the Friuli region consisting of white wine “flavoured” with chats). The Piazza XXIV Maggio has a magical atmosphere on the summer evenings, with people comfortably seated at the tables of the bars, listening to music and admiring the starry sky into the small hours.
Strolling around Cormòns, we discover small architectural treasures, such as the late medieval tower belonging to the ancient wall ring, which is today part of a very well kept vineyard at via Cancelleria Vecchia, the monumental gate surmounted by a triple lancet window of the 18th-century building Devetag-Del Mestre at n. 70 via Matteotti, the church of St. Leopold located in the south east area featuring precious stalls carved in wood, the 18th-century sanctuary of the Rosa Mistica, designed by the Lombard architect Carlo Corbellini. Just in front of the sanctuary, in the centre of Piazza Libertà lies the bronze statue of the Hapsburg Emperor Massimiliano I, an unusual work of art which stands imposingly on a high marble pedestal. We ask ourselves whether it represents nostalgia or retaliation . It is a witness of the past and of a century-long presence of the Austro Hungarian Empire.
In 1903, the statue was set in the square formerly named piazza Cumano, to commemorate the 4th anniversary of the annexation to the Great Empire. By means of this statue the Cormòns inhabitants paid tribute to Emperor Massimiliano I, who in 1518 had granted to Cormòns the status of ‘town’ and tax exemption for six years. These concessions were possible thanks to the remarkable wines destined to the Emperor’s table.
The statue was removed at the beginning of World War I and relocated in the square in 1981 upon wish of the Cormòns inhabitants, who are very attached to memories and traditions. A spectacular historic representation in honour of the Emperor and of the strong link with the past is held in Cormòns on the first Sunday of September during which duels on horses are performed, more than five hundred ladies and knights, fencers and Lansquenets parade along the main streets. Added to this, another awaited event takes place on the second Sunday of September: the feast of the grapes. The rite of the grape harvest is one of the older events in Italy and has been celebrated for over seventy five years. On this occasion the so-called “wine for peace” is shipped to major head of states around the world in a sign of peace and brotherhood. This special wine is fermented from the harvest of over four hundred grapes coming from the ‘Vineyard of the World’ (a blend of vines originating in the five continents, which is grown in the area, thanks to the enterprise of the Producers’ Association of Cormòns).
DOBERDO DEL LAGO | FRIULI VENEZIA REGION
Doberdò del Lago is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Gorizia in the Italian region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, located about northwest of Trieste and about southwest of Gorizia, and borders the following municipalities: Duino-Aurisina, Fogliano Redipuglia, Komen (Slovenia), Miren-Kostanjevica (Slovenia), Monfalcone, Ronchi dei Legionari, Sagrado, and Savognad'Isonzo. It is located in the westernmost part of the Kras Plateau. It is inhabited mostly by Slovenes. Before World War One, Slovene-speakers comprised almost the totality (around 99%) of the population. In the 1971 census, 96% of the inhabitants were Slovene-speaking. Since then, the number of Slovenes has slightly fallen, mostly due to the increased immigration of Italian speakers from neighboring towns of Monfalcone and Ronchi dei Legionari. Today, an estimated 86% of the inhabitants belong to the Slovene ethnic minority. Doberdò localities include Devetachi, Jamiano, Marcottini, andVisintini.
During World War I, the village was the scene of the Battle of Doberdò. Since many Slovene soldiers fought in the battle as soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian Army. A popular war song Doberdob with the verse "Doberdob, slovenskih fantov grob" ("Doberdò, the grave of Slovene lads"), made the name of the village known all across the Slovene Lands. In 1940, the Slovene writer Prežihov Voranc chose the name of the village as the title for one of his best-known novels, Doberdob (undertitled: "The War Novel of the Slovene People"). With this novel, Doberdò became the central symbolic place of the Slovene victims in World War I. Doberdò is also a symbolic place for the Hungarians, since many of them died in the battle fighting in the Austro-Hungarian Army. In Hungary, there is a popular war song with the name Doberdó, reminiscent of the battle. In May 2009, a chapel commemorating the Hungarian victims of the Battles of the Isonzo was inaugurated in the hamlet of Visintini () with a trilingual, Italian-Hungarian-Slovene inscription.
FOOD IN THE GORIZIA PROVINCE | FRIULI VENEZIA REGION
The far northeastern territory in Italy has never served as a boundary. On the contrary, it has been a “melting pot” for different cultures and traditions throughout history, distinguished by the tasty dishes typically found in the Mediterranean Sea and Middle European regions.
Many towns such as Grado, the historic cradle of the Venetian cuisine, Cormòns, the town of the patriarchs displaying the Friuli flag, San Floriano del Collio, with one of the many castles set between the Karst and the Julian Alps housing warriors from beyond the Alps during the Middle Ages, widely express the rich variety and always gratifying cuisine from the Friuli region.
A wide range of dishes such as the “boreto alla graisana” (a Grado fish soup which is spicy, doesn't contain tomatoes and is eaten with white polenta), the gnocchi made of plums, thegulyas (goulash) of Hungarian origins, the wild fowl “in paiz”, the kugelhups, (a cake of Austrian origins), the strudel di ricotta (roll of pastry filled with ricotta cheese), are combined with modern dishes that are chosen to compliment the tight links of Gorizia and its province with the Hapsburg dominion, the poverty of the villages scattered around the Karst, and the controversial “love-hatred” relationship with the High Serene Republic of Venice.
Such dishes have successfully lasted through the test of time and represent one of the most interesting and pleasant cuisines in the new Europe, rooted in its territory while maintaining its origin. It is a cuisine to taste with joy from a country that has represented a remarkable meeting point for both the Far East and Western country.
GORIZIA | FRIULI VENEZIA REGION
The Town of Gorizia (Friulian: Guriza) is a town and comune in northeastern Italy, in the autonomous region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. It is located at the foot of theJulian Alps, bordering Slovenia. It is the capital of the Province of Gorizia and a local center of tourism, industry, and commerce. Since 1947, a twin town of Nova Gorica has developed on the other side of the modern-day Italian–Slovenian border. The entire region was subject to territorial dispute between Italy and Yugoslavia after World War II: after the new boundaries were established in 1947 and the old town was left to Italy, Nova Gorica was built on the Yugoslav side. Taken together, the two towns constitute a conurbation, which also includes the Slovenian municipality of Šempeter-Vrtojba. Since May 2011, these three towns are joined in a common trans-border metropolitan zone, administered by a joint administration board. Gorizia is located at the confluence of the Isonzo and Vipava Valleys. It lies on a plain overlooked by the Gorizia Hills, renowned for the production of outstanding wines, under the name Collio Goriziano. Sheltered from the north by a mountain ridge, Gorizia is protected from the cold Bora wind that affects most of the neighbouring areas. The town thus enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate throughout the year, making it a popular resort. The name of the town comes from the Slovene word meaning "little hill", which is a very common toponym in Slovene-inhabited areas.
GETTING AROUND IN THE CITY OF GORIZIA
The Italy-Slovenia border runs by the edge of Gorizia and Nova Gorica and there are several border crossings between the cities. The ease of movement between the two parts of town have depended very much on the politics of both countries, ranging from strict controls to total free movement since December 21, 2007 when Slovenia joined the Schengen area. Designated border crossings are (Gorizia- Nova Gorica):
- Casa Rossa- Rožna Dolina: main international crossing checkpoint
- Via San Gabriele-Erjavceva Ulica: previously only for local traffic with passes, nearest crossing to Nova Gorica center
- Via del Rafut-Pristava: previously only for local traffic with passes
- San Pietro (Via Vittorio Veneto)/ Šempeter pri Gorici (Goriška Ulica)
- Piazza della Transalpina (square): open pedestrian square dissected by the border that was once fenced. The square was never an official crossing and signboards were erected to prohibit people from crossing square from one side to the other
- The major highway crossing at San Andrea- Vrtojba is located nearby to the south of the city.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN GORIZIA
- The castle, built within the medieval walls, was once the seat of the administrative and judiciary power of the county. It is divided into the Corte dei Lanzi (withfoundings of a high tower demolished in the 16th century), the Palazzetto dei Conti (13th century) and the Palazzetto Veneto. The Lanzi were the armed guards, the term being an Italian form of Landsknecht. The palatine chapel, entitled to Saint Bartholomew houses canvases of the Venetian school of painting and traces of Renaissance frescoes. There is also a Museum of the Goritian Middle Ages.
- The Cathedral (originally erected in the 14th century), like many of the city's buildings, was almost entirely destroyed during World War I.World War I photo of the destroyed cathedral, by Jindřich Bišický, from link. It has been rebuilt following the forms of the 1682 edifice, a Baroque church with splendid stucco decoration. A Gothic chapel of San Acatius is annexed to the nave.
- The most important church of Gorizia is that of St. Ignatius of Loyola, built by the Jesuits in 1680–1725. It has a single nave with precious sculptures at the altars of the side chapels. In the presbytery Christoph Tausch painted a Glory of St. Ignatius in 1721.
- The Palazzo Attems Petzenstein (19th century), designed by Nicolò Pacassi.
- The church of San Rocco.
- Palazzo Cobenzl, today seat of the archbishops.
- The Earls of Lantieri's house, which housed emperors and popes in his history.
- The Palazzo Coronini Cronberg, including an art gallery.
- The Transalpina railway square, divided by an international border.
GRADISCA D'ISONZO | FRIULI VENEZIA REGION
Gradisca d'Isonzo ( or Gardiscje, , archaic ) is a town and comune of the Province of Gorizia in Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region, The town is located in north-eastern Italy on the right bank of the Isonzo River, southwest of Gorizia. It received town privileges on 14 July 1936. As of 2011, the population of Gradisca is about 6,580. The town is an important centre of the Friulian culture in the Julian Venetia region.
WHAT TO SEE IN GRADISCA D'ISONZO
- Castle, built by the Venetians in the late 15th century over a pre-existing fortress known from 1176. It was enlarged under the Austrian domination (16th-17th centuries), later being turned into a jail. Among the people imprisoned here was Federico Confalonieri.
- Church of Santo Spirito, with an altarpiece by Pompeo Randi.
GRADO | FRIULI VENEZIA REGION
People have always been attracted to unknown places located outside of their own territory. Hence, there is a strong need for everyone to escape from their own environment to learn about different cultures, people, ways of living and traditions. For this reason, and thanks to the many attractions offered, Grado has always been a favourite destination for people arriving from every place.
Once you have reached Belvedere from the mainland you drive a long way across the splendid lagoon that is divided by this panoramic road. While driving, you can really surrender to imagination and wonder what is beyond the horizon.
A dive into nature allows you to focus on intense aromas that are always characterized by a light brackish smell.
Off to the left side, in the background of the surrounding landscape, you can see the island della Madonna diBarbana and to the right are mud-flats dotted with straw huts.
As you keep driving, you notice a small town with a huge bell tower off ahead in the distance, which becomes clearer and clearer as you get closer to the town. On both sides you admire the lush green of a pinewood forest, gardens, parks, small harbours, beaches and different kinds of houses, from simple ancient houses of the ancient borough in Veneto style to modern houses, guesthouses and hotels. Before reaching the town, you pass a revolving bridge that links the mainland to Grado, an island featuring the characteristics of almost all those islands that have been isolated from the mainland for a long time.
Set amidst nature, the island of Grado features a remarkable heritage, such as the early Christian basilica and its historic centre, its port for fishing, motor and sailing boats, its golden and sloped beaches, which have excellent sand and, because they are facing southwards, are suitable in particular for children. The excellent quality of its sand contributed to the transformation of Grado from a poor fisherman’s village to a renowned tourist centre. In 1892 it was officially inaugurated as a health care centre thanks to a decree issued by Emperor Francesco Giuseppe. In the past it was frequented by the Austro Hungarian nobility. Nowadays it is frequented by tourists, arriving from all over the world, who have found a suitable place to discover, admire, study, relax, enjoy and regain energy.
The Thermal Centre.
Grado is a stripe of land trapped between the Adriatic sea and the lagoon, away from river mouths, industrial sites and large towns. The combination of pure sea air, high rate of iodine, dense salt content in the water and the excellent characteristics of the pure sand all contributed to the successful inauguration of the first spa in Grado in 1873. Its beneficial factors were scientifically proven, and thus it became well known for its therapeutic qualities.
Today, the island boasts one of the few psammotherapy (sand bathing) centres famous all over the world. The recognition is due in particular to the perfect position of the establishment, which while facing the Adriatic Sea it also faces South towards the Mediterranean sun. Today, the modern spa establishment offers a wide range of treatments ranging from the first sand bathing technique used by our grandfathers to the newest sophisticated healing methods acknowledged by the medical profession, which include sand baths (psammotherapy), aromatherapy treatments with sea water, balneotherapy (therapy in tubs with ionised sea water), and physiotherapy in adequate rooms for the specific treatment of skin diseases.
In general, the treatments offer regenerating therapies for the general well being and relaxing methods against various diseases caused by the stress of modern life. The thermal centre features a pool containing seawater, which is filtered, sterilized and heated to approximately 32 degrees Celcius. The combination of seawater and the high water temperature offer remarkable benefits for those who wish to bathe in a comfortable and healthy environment. It is possible to swim, as well as to relax against one of the many jets of water. Annexed to the thermal pool are a sauna room, a Turkish bath, and a multi-person whirlpool tub.
There is also a Shiatzu tub which combines the traditional hydro-massage with the oriental methods as the jets of water are specifically directed towards the meridian lines of the body.
MONFALCONE | FRIULI VENEZIA REGION
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. During the Roman age, the mouth of the Timavo river was a renowned spa area for the Aquileia inhabitants.
During the Middle Ages there was a small village called Vicus Panzianus, today called Panzano, the heart of the industrial district of Monfalcone.The location of Monfalcone was strategic for the control of the invasions from East Europe. Emperor Ottone I rewarded the Patriarch of Aquileia with the villages and fortresses so as to be protected from the Hungarian invasions. In 1420 Venice conquered the town and its fortress.In the following centuries theMonfalcone area became the scene of many battles against the Turks first and later against the Austrian and the German populations.The fortress was restored in 1525 and has maintained the same style up to today.
The new town of Palmanova overshadowed Monfalcone’s strategic importance. All the areas close to the North-east border were affected by World War I and Monfalcone, claimed by the Italian “nationalist” movement of the Irredentists, became the scene of cruel battles. The town was severely damaged and then conquered by the Austrians after the defeat of Caporetto. It was given back to Italy after the end of the War, on 24th October 1918. The border areas between Italy and the former Jugoslavia were disputed during and after World War II. Monfalcone was definitely given back to Italy on 14th September 1947. Today, thanks to the ever growing shipyard activities, many other related industrial activities have rapidly expanded and allowed an economic growth as well as a population increase. The chemical, electric, electromagnetic, iron and steel industries are among the most important activities.
SAN FLORIANO DEL COLLIO | FRIULI VENEZIA REGION
On a crisp Autumn day of 1181, Ermelinda, the abbess of the Benedictine convent in Aquileia, together with her followers, reached the small town of San Floriano located on the lowest rise of the Collio. She wanted to acquire more properties in favour of the convent, and as the farmers living in the small town were still free from the feudal bounds, they sold some vineyards and fields to her.
The names borne by San Floriano inhabitants, which were handed on from the Chartarium Monasterii Aquileiensis, proudly recall the barbarian origins of theirslavic forefathers : Bizlau, Stogian, Budin, Zdebor... Between the 5th and the 6th centuries their ancestors had settled in the Collio and revived the ancient Roman sites. After the conversion to Christianity, the town had inherited the name from Saint Floriano, a very old faith bound to the fertility of fields and vineyards and to the fertility rites of Spring, which was symbolized by water, a traditional feature of the Saint.
So the vine-growing has developed with the town to the present day. An archaeological site located at the foot of the hill of San Floriano, ¥teverjan in Slovenian language, witnesses the presence of a Roman villa villa rustica dating back to the Augustus age. Slightly northwards lies the Dvor estate recalling the first ruling family of the town, the Dornberg, who since the 1300s have kept for themselves ten percent of the grape harvest. As a consequence, the disputes between the inhabitants and the town rulers during the grape harvests were always riotous and violent.
The Dvor building and the chapel with a severe Baroque interior, (the Slovenian word Dvor means Court) belonged to the Strassoldo and then to the Tacco families. In the 1600s the Formentini family from Cividale moved to the tabor on top of the hill. This was a fortified building to defend the family from theturks and the Veneto people. In that area, in ancient times lay the church of San Floriano, which was restored during the Baroque age. It collapsed during the first World War and rebuilt in Romanesque style in 1926.
The church also featured a towering bell tower of Aquileian style. Some events celebrated today go back to the religious Aquileian tradition, such as the procession of the saints Ermacora and Fortunato, which takes place during mid July. It is a sort of fertility or propitiatory rite, a procession walking through the vineyards, praying for a good harvest.
In Autumn, after the feast of San Martino, the renowned white wines of San Floriano, such as Tocai, Ribolla and Malvasia, are available for the many visitors who arrive every year from far and wide to enjoy a day or more of the hospitality offered by San Floriano, in this peaceful atmosphere disturbed only by the continuous renewal of nature.