The small town of Marano Lagunare is easily reachable from Lignano Sabbiadoro by sea and it is a required excursion. Different motorboats make daily trips from Lignano to Marano, to explore the city, the wonderful lagoon and the typical flavours of the sea.
In Marano there are even today many palaces from the Republic of Venice.
In fact, the city was one of the centre of the Republic and one of the most important palace, still visible today, is the Loggia Maranese, a close loggia with ashlar in Istrian stone, where the community gathered.
Near the Loggia you can notice the Torre Millenaria (Millennium Tower), 32 m., of which there are first news on 1066. It is likely that in the beginning it had been a sighting tower. The tower has been badly damaged by the earthquake of 1976 and the superior part has been rebuilt. On the same square faces the Palazzo dei Provveditori, home of governors of the fortress, that now hosts an exhibition of objects.
Of great importance is the Lagoon of Marano, whose considerable variations of salinity offer visitors different environments with different vegetations and type of birds. For this reason, in the lagoon there are two regional nature reserves: the regional nature reserve Foci dello Stella and the regional nature reserve Valle Canal Novo.
Reserve Foci dello Stella:
The nature reserve Foci dello Stella encompasses the delta of river Stella and the surrounding lagoon area: it is an extensive and lush cane field intersected by a winding water system, that extends smoothly into the lagoon. The cane field is a great expression of the reserve Foci dello Stella. The centre of the park is an beautiful example: the mouth of the river of resurgence located in a lagoon zone. Reason of high natural value is the presence of bird: many birds, both for species and for quantity, inhabit and animate the entire environment. Many of them stop on it during the migrations, many spend on it the winter and others choose it to nest, as the purple heron.
This area is the favourite by bird-watchers, because in the cane fields and canals they can see beautiful birds in their natural habitat.
The nature reserve Foci dello Stella is reachable only by water, so the excursion is only by boat.
Reserve Valle Canal Novo:
The reserve Valle Canal Novo is made by a former fishing valley of 35 hectares and by some arable lands. The valley is a lagoon area with ponds, not accessible by the tides by perimeter banks. The main aspect is that of a salt marsh, because the valley doesn't receive fresh water from inland, but only through rainfalls and three artesian wells.
The management of the waters coming from the wells and the creations of some structure allowed to differentiate the salinity from area to area and, thus, to increase the biodiversity of the valley, offering a large overview of vegetation and birds to all visitors.
In this valley it is possible to make different excursions by land between casoni, panoramic observatories and a bridge that goes in the water.
An excursion in Marano allow you to discover the casoni, the typical houses of fishermen, many of them are now restaurants, in which taste very good fish dishes, cooked according to traditional recipes.Details
Friuli is famous for its excellent wines, known and exported in all over the world and, in fact, it speaks in general of Vineyard Friuli, in which there are different characteristic zones.
Even tourists that stay in Lignano, taste the typical wines of the regional cellars and vineyards, but if they want to make an unforgettable experience, we suggest an excursion in the area of Collio.
At the eastern patch of the region, in province of Gorizia and close to the border with Slovenia, the Collio is an area of production of fine wines to which, among the first in Italy, has been recognized since 1968 the Controlled designation of origin (DOC).
From the hills of San Floriano and Oslavia above Gorizia to the hills of Ruttars, Lonzano and Vencò on the banks of the river Judrio, that one marked the border between Italy and Austria, it is a succession of rolling hills with small villages and vineyards, which stretch for about 1600 hectares.
This hilly area is developed almost continuously along a direction east-west, showing large surfaces exposed to the south, well suited to a highly skilled viticulture.
This situation has favoured the cultivation of vines since ancient times.
Land of great white wines, Collio has a large productions of Pinot, Tocai Friulano, Sauvignon and of renowned White Collio.
Among the red wines excel the Red Collio, Cabernet and Merlot.
Between excellent wines and beautiful landscapes, where are located small towns surrounded by vineyards, you can also taste wines directly in the producing cellars and relax along streets lined by rolling rows.
On every hill stands a small village around its church and castles witness the rich past of the region. It is possible then add the wine tour also the visit to small towns like Cormons.
Obviously wines accompany the cuisine of the area, that is a very original mix of Austrian, Friulian and Slovene traditions: recipes handed down from generation to generation make the gastronomy of Gorizia something special.
Among the typical dishes of these areas there is the ham in the bread sprinkled with grated horseradish, the jota (a soup of sauerkraut, potatoes, beans and beef or pork rind) the Friulian barley and beans soup, the Austrian bread gnocchi, in spring the omlettes with herbs, while in autumn muset and brovade (pork sausage with white turnips grated and fermented in the marc), goulash ( spicy in infinite variations), the kaiserfleisch (smoked pork, sprinkled with fresh horseradish and served with sauerkraut and bread gnocchi) the venison with polenta, veal or pork shank.
Among the dessert, the Gubana rules, a roll of puff pastry filled with nuts, raisins, candied citron, pine nuts and walnuts.
For a moment of relaxation under the trees, the Bosco Romagno is the ideal place. Bosco Romagno is a nature park of 53 hectares. Inside there is a fitness trail and several paths to easily enter the forest, where you can glimpse deers, wildcats, foxes, badgers, squirrels and dormice. If you want to eat a packed lunch and have a rest, tables and benches are placed in strategic places.
Not only excellent flavours that delight the palate, but also landscapes of the past to relax body and mind.Details
Gemona del Friuli rises on the mountainside of Prealpi Giulie and its country offers tourists the chance to make many excursions in the nature, as well as visits to nearby towns and villages.
Gemona has a very ancient history, even if it is not possible to date precisely the first village that was in this area.
Since prehistoric times was Gemona one of the main passage of the street that from the Adriatic Sea headed to the north-east Alps.
The first Celtic settlements can be classified around 500 BC in the current village, that today is called Godo. That's where is present the fountain Silans (Silans in Latin literally means spring), that confirms that also in Roman time the Via Julia Augusta went through these lands. This thesis is also confirmed by the numerous archaeological remains, that have been found in this area.
In the second half of the twelfth century it was a free city, with its statutes, while in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries it was an important centre of commerce under the Patriarchate of Aquileia. The prosperity made it an important centre, with churches and mansions, with walls and a castel.
After the conquest by the Republic of Venice in 1420, commercial traffics decreased and began the decline of the city, until the recovery in the second half of the twentieth century.
Unfortunately, this recovery did not last long: in 1976 two earthquakes devastated it, together with other small towns in Friuli. As the epicentre of the quake was located near the city, Gemona became notorious as the capital of the earthquake. Despite the great devastation, the city, as its neighbour Venzone, reborn with the most part of destroyed buildings.
A trip in Gemona starts from the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, built on a precedent church between 1290 and 1337. The façade is adorned with three rose windows, and the central one was realized in Venice between 1334 and 1336, and with the Renaissance portal.
Near the Cathedral rises the Bell Tower built between 1341 and 1369 and completely destroyed by the earthquake, but rebuilt with its original parts.
The Museum of the Cathedral and treasure of the Duomo are in the hold parsonage and are open to the public since 2006. In the Museum there is the oldest baptismal register of the world of 1379 (the first baptism is recorded March, 3rd, 1379), an exceptional witness for the history of the city.Details
San Daniele del Friuli is located at the top of a hill near the Alpine foothills, in the middle of Friuli, a position from which it dominates the surrounding plain. The city is compact and it is part of the Slow Cities, that is, those cities that commit themselves to improve the quality of life of residents and visitors, giving to the city government the experiences made in the world of food and wine.
San Daniele it is part with the raw ham, local product that has a particular flavour thanks to the climate of that area. The cold air from North and the warm air from the Adriatic Sea meet and mix together along the river Tagliamento, which is a natural conductor. It follows a perfect constant ventilation, with the right humidity: ideal condition for the seasoning of meat.
In addition to raw ham, the city offers also the trout, here called "the queen of San Daniele", raised in a traditional way.
From the historical point of view, it is not clear the birth of the city, nor of his history during the Middle Ages, but we know that San Daniele was the third most important market after Aquileia and Cividale, while in the seventeenth it was one of the centres of Protestant Reformation in Friuli.
In the main square there the Cathedral of San Michele Arcangelo preceded by steps, the bell tower, unfinished, was started in 1531 on project of Giovanni da Udine. Inside the Cathedral, we find a baptistery of sixteenth century.
Next to the Cathedral is located the ancient Town Hall, which hosts the municipal archive, with documents dating back to the twelfth century and the important Guarneriana Civic Library.
In San Daniele there is also a castle, of which stays only a tower and some remains. The whole area is a park and from it you have an excellent view on the amphitheatre morainic whit its castles, the friulian plain and the Julian Alps.
Not to miss is the traditional festival "Aria di Festa", that takes part in the last weekend of June. Four days, from Friday to Monday, during which you can taste in the streets and squares of San Daniele the ham in perfect conditions, carefully sliced and eaten immediately. This festival attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the territory.Details
In Gorizia you can breathe the typical atmosphere of a border town: in Piazza Transalpina, up to 2004 physically divided by a wall, you can stroll with a foot in Italy and the other in Slovenia. Gorizia is the meeting point of two world, the Latin and the Slavonic, with their different cultures and traditions, but united by the same beautiful land made of gently rolling hills of vineyards. Gorizia is part, in fact, of Collio, one of the DOC wine regions in Friuli.
The first signs of settlements date back to the first century BC, but the name Gorizia was nominated the first time in 1001. The city reaches the maximum enlargement between the thirteenth and the fourteenth century, when the county came to Padua and Treviso, in the western region of Slovenian and in the near territories of Austria.
In the half of 1400 Gorizia goes under the Republic of Venice up to 1500, when goes to Maximilian I of Hapsburg. From that moment the city of Gorizia remains under the Hapsburg until 1918, becoming part of Austrian Littoral.
During the First World War, Gorizia is conquered by the Italian troupes in 1918 and all the county becomes province. During the Fascist period, the city was restored and equipped with new roads and an industrial area. Since the mid-twenties the Fascism begin to apply even in Gorizia, as in the rest of the Venezia Giulia, the denationalization policy of the Slavonic minorities on the territory.
During the Second World War, after the Italian surrender September, 8th 1943, the territory of Gorizia was scene of an heroic resistance to the Nazi. At the end of the conflict, with the peace treaty, the municipality had to give the three-fifths of its territory to Yugoslavia with the 15% of population. The old down town and the greater part of urban area of the city remained, however, in Italian territory.
Gorizia was compared with Berlin, because it was cut in two as the German capital by a wall with guard towers armed with machine guns. Now in the square, where the wall once ran, there is a mosaic and a commemorative plate. With the entry of Slovenia in Schengen treaty in 2001, Gorizia and Nova Goriza (the Slovene part of the city) are finally no boundaries and have the chance to make a series of project of mutual interest.
Gorizia welcomes visitors with the castle, that rises on the higher point of a hill. The castle welcomes visitors with a Venetian lion, which is not the original affixed by the Republic of Venice during their brief occupation, but by the Fascist government after a sweeping renovation.
Inside there are the foundation of the tower. From here you can go to the Palace of the Provincial and the Palace of Veneto. Under the loggia that connects these two buildings, are visible the quarters of the garrison as they appeared in the Middle Ages: the kitchen with tables and cupboards, cutlery and chairs, a table for bread dough and other objects.
In Gorizia there is also the Cathedral of Sant'Ilario of Aquileia and San Taziano. The Cathedral has undergone various vicissitudes during his life, amputations and restorations, but you can still see testimonies and memories of eras and styles that have marked its history.
Among the other places to visit, we suggest the Church of Sant'Ignazio, desired by the Hapsburg and the Vatican to stop Protestantism, the Synagogue of 1700 and the Church of San Rocco built in the late fifteenth century.
For a relaxing break, Gorizia offers different parks in the city. There are also green areas in their natural state, such as the Park of Castle and the Vally of Corno, which extends between the district of Straccis and the city centre, along the river Corno.
Among the not protected areas, particularly charming is the first part of the river Isonzo in the municipal area, located in a gorge where water springs from the walls, with an extremely varied vegetation.Details
Venzone is a town in Friuli Venezia Giulia, who owes its fortune to the favourable geographic location: an obligatory point of passage from the time of Celtic (500 BC).
These are then followed by the Romans, who made of Venzone their city along the route of the Via Julia Augusta, that from Aquileia led to Norico. In this settlement was probably joined the castrum. Later there were several invasions of barbarians, until the Lombard and Carolingian.
During the Carolingian Empire (776-952) there was the first settlement of Venzone and in 1077 it became part of the Patriarchate of Aquileia, exerting an important role for the control of trade.
In 1420 under the Doge Tommaso di Mocenigo became part of the Republic of Venice, reaching in that period its peak. In 1797 Venzone was occupied by the troupes of Napoleon and after the Campoformido treaty it was dominated by the Austrian for a brief time. In 1866 became part of Kingdom of Italy.
In 1965 it was declared a national monument of great historical and artistic interest.
The history of Venzone is closely linked to the violent earthquake which shook the Friuli in 1976 and which completely razed to the ground many villages and towns, including Venzone. Thanks to the foreign aid and the tenacity of the inhabitants, the city reborn with and unprecedented technical and cultural operation, reassembling its architectural identity through the reconstruction stone by stone of all its buildings. This action, without precedent, has made that Venzone can be again rated among the most important and interesting historical towns of Italy.
From this point of view has been very important the reconstruction piece by piece of the fourteenth century Cathedral of Sant'Andrea. Collapsed during the earthquake, it has been completely rebuilt with its pieces and open to the public in 1995. in the Cathedral you can damire the frescoes, the only remains almost intact after the quake in 1976.
Near the Cathedral there is the cemetery chapel of San Michele, of the first half 1200 and rebuilt after the destruction of 1976, in whose crypt are preserved the famous mummies of Venzone.
The "mummies" are the bodies of people who were buried in tombs in the Cathedral between the fourteenth and the nineteenth, so it was important people for the city (such as notaries, nobles, lawyers, priests, rich merchants). The mummification process was not due to the human intervention, but to natural causes (temperature and humidity, high presence of calcium solfate in the soil). The popularity of this mummies was already in the past centuries, so much that the even Napoleon would visit it in 1807.
Beside the city, we suggest to visit the entire territory of Venzone, where nature offers the opportunity to make exceptional excursions: from the simple and relaxing walk in the greenery along easy paths, to the excursions in mountains and in the Park of Prealpi Giulie, from the nice experience of the horseback riding along the banks of the river Tagliamento to discover the springs of Pradulin in Portys and of Ledra in Venzone, to the opportunities for mountain-biking along the many forest trails.Details
Duino Castle is located few kilometres from Trieste and it stands on a steep spur of rock overlooking the sea. From this place you enjoy a wonderful view on the Gulf and its park with the bunker from the Second World War and the Maria Rilke path allow to walk in the particular Mediterranean vegetation, the northern in Italy.
The castle is a massive building, on which stands the sixteenth-century tower that still retains its millennium structure. Around this tower, on the ruins of a Roman outpost, was built in 1300 the new castle, not far from the old one, which probably was dedicated to the cult of the Sun God and is now romantically called The White Lady.
This name is inspired by a snow-white rock that, viewed from the sea, it looks like a female figure draped in a long veil. According to the legend, an evil king threw his wife from a cliff and the sky, moved to pity by the cries of the girl, turned the girl to stone before she touched the water. It is said that every night the White Lady comes off the rock and begins to wander through the rooms of the castle until dawn, when she comes back to the rock.
The new castle is for over 420 year property of the Princes von Thurn und Taxis, who live there and since 2003 they opened most part of their house rich in important works of art and historical relics for visits, as well as gala dinners, meetings, weddings, art exhibitions, concerts, photographs and films.
Since 1600 the castle accommodated important personalities, as Sissy Empress, the Archduke Francesco Ferdinando, Johan Strauss, Franz Listz, Gabriele D'Annunzio, Paul Valery and, especially, the hermetic poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who in this castle composed the first two famous Duino Elegies.
In memory of this event, was named to the poet a panoramic path – Path Rilke - about 2 km ling. Opened after the restoration in 1987, it runs high on the rock between Duino and Sistiana Bay, with beautiful view on the Cliffs Nature Reserve. Few walk steps from this paths there is the park of the castle, where there are ancient trees, lawns, flowers and aerial architectures.
In the park you can also visit the bunker of the Second World War, an original museum excavated in the rock. Open in 2006, the bunker has been built in 1943 by German Kriegsmarine to defend the Sistiana Bay in case of attack by the Allies. Used before as air-raid shelter, when the war ended it has been used by the British Army as fuel deposit. Now, thanks to a great work of restoration, there are different historical relics.
Duino, a place where getting lost between princes and poets, along a picturesque path that goes in a magical world with the scent of Mediterranean vegetation, where the view extends to the sea from the white cliffs.
Aquileia was founded as military colony by Romans in 181 BC to counter the advance of barbarian people. Soon the city became an important starting point for expeditions and military conquests, in addition to become an important trade centre. Under the reign of Caesar Augusts it reaches its climax with a huge population and become the residence of many emperors.
With the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, Christianity explodes in public, showing a large and fast development. The bishops of Aquileia grow in importance in the following centuries, giving a strong contribution to the development of Western Christianity, both in terms of doctrine and for the authority exercised.
Aquileia withstands to the several incursions of barbarian people, but not to Attila, who penetrates in the city in 452, devastating it and spreading salt on the ruins. The authority of the church and the myth of a city that had been strong survive, though now the direct control of Aquileia is limited to a very small area. From 568, after the Lombard invasion, the region of Aquileia is divided between the Roman-Byzantine and the Lombards. The city still continues to give his name to the patriarchy, even when in the fifteenth century was occupied by the Republic of Venice.
After a short passage in the Holy Roman Empire, the city follows the fortunes of the Venetian Republic, and was annexed by the Habsburgs with the Treaty of Campoformido until his final union with the rest of the Friuli and Italy after the First World War.
The Basilica is a real museum where you can find different architectural styles, mosaics and frescoes of great value. Begun soon after the edict of Milan, after several restorations and additional buildings, the church still retains the shape of the eleventh century. Of particular interest are the mosaic floors that cover almost the entire church. Among the ancient walls of the Basilica has maintained an amazing mosaic floor of the start of the fourth century in an exceptional state of preservation.
The National Archaeological Museum is the largest of northern Italy for the wealth of remains from Roman times.
Fascinating are the Forum, the Cemetery and the Port River.Details
Concordia Sagittaria was built in 42 BC by Romans as Iulia Concordia, where Via Annia and Via Postumia crossed each other. Quickly became a Roman town of great value, becoming between the III and II century AC a sort of military town. In this period there are strong barbarian invasions and to protect the most exposed Aquileia, troops are stationed troops in the town to move quickly to defend the city of the Patriarchs.
Thanks to the contacts with Aquileia, in the late Imperial period Concordia grows culturally: a rapid spread of Christianity and a settlement of ecclesiastical hierarchy. The devastating floods in the late sixth century investing Concordia and above the lowest adjacent areas, damage seriously the life of the city, along with the sacking of barbarians.
A revival of Concordia occurs between the X and XI century, when the Cathedral is built. But the unhealthy environmental conditions contribute to the transfer of the episcopal see in the near centre of Portogruaro, who becomes the heir of the historic diocese of Concordia.
If you want to make a jump back in time, go to Concordia Sagittaria. Here you can breathe the air of ancient Rome and live a day in a town rich in monuments, buildings, squares and Roman ruins.
Concordia Sagittaria is an ancient Roman colony with more than 2000 years of history. The Roman and early Christian finds continue to appear to this day from several excavations and you can see them both in the Archaeological Museum and along the street of the town among the Roman buildings.
Pass through Via San Pietro: here you will see the arch of the Roman bridge, the forum and the theatre. Near Via Claudia there are the baths, one of the most important buildings of ancient Romans' life.
The archaeological jewel of Concordia is the square with the ruins of Trichora Martyrium of the mid-fourth century D.C., a building constructed to commemorate the martyrs of the Diocleziano's persecution, and with the St. Stephen Cathedral of tenth century. Under the Cathedral you have the opportunity to visit the ruins of the Basilica of the fourth century with its precious mosaics, built on an earlier Roman house. The beautiful square is completed by the bell tower 28 meters high in Roman style and by the Baptistery of late XI century in Byzantine style, with well-preserved frescoes and a baptismal font.
To conclude the tour of Concordia Sagittaria you can visit the Archaeological Museum, where there is a remarkable collection of ruins from the town's necropolis: steles, inscriptions and funeral urns, flooring's remains and an original sundial.Details
Villa Manin is an architectural complex built by the Manin family in the sixteenth century to celebrate the power and the richness of the House. The work of Ludovico Manin in the seventeenth century makes the villa an integral part of the surrounding territory.
The life of the majestic complex of Passariano has always been linked to historical and political events of this area: in this way the Villa became headquarter of French troops commanded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1797. Napoleon himself lives there plays the negotiations leading to the Campoformido Treaty. With this Treaty, which marks the end of the Venetian Republic in favor of the Hapsburg Empire, begins the decay of the power of the Manin, leading the Villa to degradation in the nineteenth century.
After half of the twentieth century the Villa was purchased by the Ente per le Ville Venete and in 1969 by the Autonomous Region Friuli Venezia Giulia, the current owner.
The atrium of the Villa is a warm welcome for all visitors, who immersed themselves in the most richly frescoed room: it was Louis Dorigny to paint the Triumph of Spring in the round central.
At Villa Manin there are also stable museums as the Carriage Museum and the Armory, and a beautiful chapel dedicated to St. Andrew the Apostle.
Villa Manin is set in an eighteen-hectare park which is part of the complex. During the walk it possible to admire very interesting views along the avenue of Mimosa or the avenue of Magnolias.
The Villa hosted important exhibition of art with prestigious names like Tiepolo, Sebastiano Ricci and other, up to Kandinsky, Courbet and Monet and now Munch.Details
Miramare Castle is a charming place that extends on the sea just outside Trieste, behind which develops a fine park gardens with trees and plants coming from all over the world.
The castle strikes for its elegance and whiteness, that stands out with the blue of the sea and the green of the vegetation. It rises on a spur of rock in Grignano and its constructions is tied to a legend. It is said that the Archduke Maximilian Joseph of Hapsburg, overtook one day by a storm in the sea, found a shelter in the small bay of Grignano and, attracted by the charming place, decided to build here his home. In the castle he lived with the young wife Charlotte and the building became their love nest. Their lives spent in the luxurious rooms elegantly furnished, until the sudden and tragic death of Maximilian in Mexico.
Inside, the castle is divide in many rooms: the ground floor was used by the Emperor Maximilian and the wife Charlotte, while the upper floor was used, in a period after, as residence of the Duke Amedeo D'Aosta, which lived here for about 7 years and modified some rooms as the style of the time, removing also the imperial insignia and replacing them with Savoy crosses.
All rooms are well preserved and retain all the original furnishings including ornaments, furniture and objects dating back to the mid-nineteenth. Particularly noteworthy are the music room, where Charlotte played the forte-piano.
Around the castle it has been created a large park, one of the biggest in north Italy, with firs from Spain and Himalaya, cedars from North Africa and Lebanon, cypress and redwood trees from America. In the park there is also a small castle, a building that served as residence for Maximilian and Charlotte during the construction of the castle, but that became a prison for Charlotte, when she lost the reason after the murder of her husband in Mexico.
In the park there is also the historic building that houses the Tropical Park: a series of natural environments recreated to offer an adequate habitat to many species of butterflies and birds, many of which are hummingbirds.
Part of the park has been turned into Italian garden and goes nicely with large steps to the sea, where has been created the WWF Miramare Marine Park: protected fauna and flora in about 30 hectares of coastline.Details
Venice is the main city of Veneto and of North-east Italy, chief town of the homonymous province of the region Veneto. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city is located, together with many small islands, in the lagoon of Venice, in the north-west part of the Adriatic Sea. Its town counts about 270.000 inhabitants, of which about 60.000 in the city, about 176.000 in the cities of dry land Mestre and Marghera and in the villages surrounding and about 31.000 in the various islands of its lagoon. The town is very large and divided, on speaks about ten different dialects.
Historically known as "La Serenissima" or the "La Dominante", has been for more than a millennium the capital of the Republic of Venice.
In the heart of the Serenissima you can breathe all the history and the power, that crossed this city, elements well represented by the Basilica of San Marco: gold-coloured and covered with mosaics that tell the history of Venice, together with the beautiful bas-reliefs depicting the months of the year.
Above the main door, the four bronze horses of Constantinople (these are copies: the originals are in the Museum of San Marco) remind the fourth Crusade in 1204. the five big domes dominate the Greek cross plan and make it recognizable and visible from afar. But the interior of the Basilica is the real jewel: lavishly covered of gold with an unparalleled mosaic decoration that extends on the entire plan. The result of a work that has certainly lasted for decades, it is probably that the iconography had been dictated by a unique program. Looking the splendor of gold and be transported to another time is a matter of seconds!
Once out of the golden Basilica, it is the Doge's Palace to attract attention. A masterpiece of the Venetian Gothic architecture, the palace was the seat of the Doge of Venice and of the magistrates and today it is seat of the Civic Museum of Doge's Palace. Begun in ninth century, the construction of the palace continues through the centuries both for renovation and extension and for real reconstructions caused by fire. Especially, after a fire towards the end of 1500, Andrea Palladio, Tiziano and Veronese take part in the reconstruction and decoration of some state rooms on the main floor.
In the early seventeenth century were added the so-called New Prisons (Prigioni Nuove), beyond the river, connected to the Palace by the Bridge of Sighs, passed by the condemned persons translated by the Palace, seat of the courts, to the prisons.
Charming is the Hall of the Great Council, one of the greatest in Europe, where there was the Great Council, composed by all Venetian nobles, with the Doge and the Signoria. This room is astonishing for its spaciousness, due to the absence of columns, and for the decorations, assigned to Tintoretto, Veronese and Palma il Giovane. Special is the decoration of the entire wall of Tintoretto, behind the throne: Paradise is the largest canvas in the world.
Can not miss a walk on the Baroque Bridge of Sighs that takes to the Leads, the ancient prisons, where also Giacomo Casanova was imprisoned.
In the beautiful Piazza San Marco stands the Bell Tower, in front of the Basilica. One of the highest in Italy, it has a simple shape and from its top, reachable through a lift, it is possible to have an exceptional panorama of Venice. From Carnival 2001 takes place the flight of the angel from the bell tower to the Palace of the Doge. An angel in the flesh, hung on a cable, takes flight on the Sunday before Shrove Tuesday, event that marks the beginning of Carnival.
Another well known place of Venice is Rialto Bridge, that crosses the Canal Grande, the largest waterway of the city. Rialto Bridge was up to mid 1800's the only way to cross by foot the major canal. Besides to be a real monument, the bridge is also the ideal place for shopping: both ramps, in fact, offer shops on both sides and the full coverage of the bridge allows the shelter from the rain and the sun. The audacity of the project led some to think that the bridge would collapse, but still stands and is one of the most important elements of Venice.
These are just the biggest and best known palaces and monuments of Venice, but the city holds many others of equal beauty. The Arsenal of Venice, the heart of the shipping industry of Serenissima, the Ghetto of Venice, beautiful core with several synagogues dating back to 500, the Lido, the beach, the Theatre La Fenice, jewel of Italian opera, Murano, Burano and Torcello, the three major islands, and many other palaces, monuments, squares and churches.
Trieste is chief town of the omonymous province and of the autonomous region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The city is located in the far north-eastern Italy, near the border with Slovenia, in the northernmost part of the Adriatic Sea and it overlook the Gulf that takes his name. Despite the proximity to the sea, the territory presents a hilly to mountainous morphology. Mount Carso, for example, reach the altitude of 458 metres above the sea level, located about ten kilometres from the city centre. Surrounded by the plateau Carsico, the city is divided in different climatic zones depending on the proximity to the sea or on altitude.
Under the streets, crossed every day by hundreds of people, flow small rivers coming from the plateau. In the past free to flow, since the city grew in the second half of 1700, they were channelled into special pipes and still today they flow under Via Carducci, Via Battisti or Via delle Settefontane.
Trieste is a borderland, a meeting point of different cultures, religions, languages, arts and ethnic groups that in the different periods influenced the development of the city, left a deep mark and combined together with the life of its inhabitants. In fact, you can see a medieval castle on the hill of San Giusto, churches of different religions to which Trieste has always given hospitality, palaces in neoclassical, Art Nouveau and Baroque style, Roman ruins and buildings of the eighteenth century.
You will be enchanted by the antiquarians in the "città vecia" (old city), walk along the orderly streets of Borgo Teresiano, taste a very good coffee at Tommaseo, a presnitz in the cake shop where Joyce was one of the family, refresh yourself with the boiled meats in Austrian tradition or with the sardines "in savor" in the old taverns. In Trieste you can find everything and discover how many different thoughts and styles can peacefully coexist, creating a unique and fascinating place.
Fascinating as the Piazza Unità d'Italia, the main square in Trieste, from which you can enjoy a wonderful panorama on the Gulf.
It is located at the foot of the hill San Giusto, between the Borgo Teresiano and Borgo Giuseppino. The square is on one side on the Gulf of Trieste and it is surrounded by many palaces. Rectangular, for surface it is the biggest square in Europe overlooking the sea. At the bottom of the square stands the Town Hall, while on north-east there is Palazzo Mondello dating 1870, Casa Stratti with the famous Caffè degli Specchi opened in 1839 and the Government Palace. In front of these buildings, you find Palazzo Pitteri and the oldest shipping company in Italy and one of the oldest in the world: the palace of the Lloyd Triestino.
The square and its palaces have been renovated between 2001 and 2005, making these place the lounge of Trieste and the reference point for all tourists wishing to visit the city.
From Piazza Unità d'Italia, that took this name after the annexation to Italy in 1955, you can visit Cavana, the characteristic old city with its winding streets, or reach the near Piazza della Borsa with the imposing Palazzo della Borsa. Also known as the second lounge of the city, the square was the economic centre of the city throughout the nineteenth century. Piazza della Borsa continues until the beginning of Corso Italia, an important city street.
After Piazza Goldoni, you arrive in Via Carducci, where it is recognizable the structure in Hapsburg-style.
In fact we arrived in Borgo Teresiano, built around the middle of eighteenth century and wanted by the then Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. The area was designed to give a little breathing space and develop to the city, that was witnessing the flourishing trade port. It was obtained by the burying of the salt pans of the city, urbanizing an area outside the city walls.
Right here there is Canal Grande, built at the same time with the Borgo Teresiano, so boats could reach the city centre to load and unload their goods.
In its initial shape, the channel was longer as it is today, and it came up to the church of Sant'Antonio. The end was in fact buried in 1934, with the rubble coming from the demolition of the old city, obtaining so the current Piazza Sant'Antonio, still today the Canal Grande is crossed by the Red Bridge, where there is a statue of James Joyce, in memory of its permanent in Trieste. At the beginning of the channel, there is the Green Bridge.
You must not forget the banks: a nice walk along the coast of the city allows to see particular glimpses and to stop in the characteristic coffee bar suspended on the water with a breathtaking panorama. Walking along, you can also discover the entire coast of Trieste, arriving at the Miramare Castle, love nest of Maximilian and Charlotte of Austria.
But don't linger over these information. Live Trieste and discover its essence, made of suggestive mixing of different cultures, arts and people.
Udine is chief town of the homonymous province and it is considered the today chief town of the region Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
The city is located at the centre of the region and it is, as the crow flies, about 20 km from Slovenia and about 54 km from Austria. This puts the city in a strategic position, at the intersection of East-West and North-South European lines, on the road to Austria and to the Eastern Europe.
It rises in the plains around a hill, on which it is located the castle, few kilometres from the hills and bordered by the river Cormor at West and river Torre at East.
Chief town of the historical region Friuli, inhabited from the Neolithic period, its importance grew thanks to the decline of Aquileia before and Cividale after. Named as Utinum in the occasion of the donation of the city castle by the Emperor Otto II in 983, in 1238 it became seat of the Patriarchate of Aquileia. Thanks to the Patriarch Bertoldo of Andechs, who moved from Cividale to Udine where was built the patriarchal palace, Udine became the most important city in the region for the commerce.
During the First World War Udine was, until the defeat of Caporetto, seat of the high Italian command, much to receive the title of "Capital of War".
One of the most suggestive places is sure the Castle of Udine, that stands on a hill and dominates the entire city. From immemorial time, was present on the hill a fortified site testified by the remains of Neolithic and Roman period found on the castle hill. After many changes, the castle was severely damaged by the earthquake of 1511. In 1517 begun the reconstruction, but it lasted long time, for lack of funds, vastness and complexity of the project. Today in the castle there are the Civic Museums that include an art gallery, the archaeological and numismatic museum, the Museum of Risorgimento and a photo library. The rooms of palace hosts often temporary exhibitions.
In the big garden-terrace on the top of the castle, there is the Casa della Contadinanza, in which lived the representatives of the farmers. The building has then hosted the armory of the castle and in recent times it has been used as place for tasting of typical products.
The domination of Venice appears in all its charm in Piazza della Libertà with the Loggia del Lionello, one of the meeting points of the inhabitants. The loggia is in Venetian Gothic style and it was, already at the time of Republic of Venice, enriched with many works of artists that succeed in the time. Now the most part of them are in the museum of the city.
In front of the Loggia del Lionello there are the Loggia and the Temple of San Giovanni, with many references to Brunelleschi. In the Loggia of San Giovanni is located the clock tower, built in 1527 on project of Giovanni da Udine, which was inspired by the tower of Piazza San Marco in Venice. On the top there are two Moors striking the hour on the bell, the today sculptures in copper have replaced the original in wood.
From Piazza della Libertà you can reach then the Castle of Udine through a climb, where you cross the Bollani Arch, surmounted by the lion of San Marco. You reach so the church of Santa Maria of Castle, the oldest in the city. Place against the church there is the House of Confraternity, medieval building renovated in 1930. Near, it stands the Grimani Arch, erected in 1522, through which you reach the forecourt of the castle.
The situation of the region, after the loss of Gradisca in 1511, was characterized by a series of borders named "Leopard skin", where enclaves of Venetian Republic were in the territories of Austria and imperial possessions were in Venetian territories.
To strengthen the defenses on the territory of Friuli, Venice decided to build from the beginning a fortress in the centre of the Friuli plan, which could stop the raids of Turks and stem the expansionist intentions of the Archdukes. To realize this project, took part a team of engineers and expert architects.
October 7th, 1593 the first stone was laid for the construction of the new fortress: Palma. During the Venetian period, the fortress was equipped with two circles of fortifications with curtains, bastions and moat to protect the three entrances to the city. Palmanova was conceived especially as war machine: the number of the ramparts and the length of the sides were set according to the range of the cannons of the time. In 1797 an Austrian major entered with a trick in the fortress and it conquered Palmanova, but Austrians did not have time to enjoy the conquest, because French regained immediately the city.
After the Campoformido Treaty, Palmanova came back to the Austria for some year; in 1805 French took possession of the star-shaped city and in this period was realized the third circle of fortifications. In 1814 Palmanova returned to the Hapsburg. During the Austrian rule (1815-1866) was built the Teatro Sociale, destined to become a hot house of Risorgimento values, so that in 1848 the fortress rose up against the Austrians.
In 1866 Palmanova was annexed to the Italy Kingdom. During the First World War the fortress was refueling hub for troops on river Isonzo; after Caporetto, Palmanova was burned by Italian troops in retreat. In the Second World War, the Archpriest Giuseppe Merlino made the Germans withdraw from the decision to raze the city. By Decree of President of Italian Republic, in 1960 Palmanova was declared "National Monument".
Still today the entrance to the city of Palmanova is possible through the three monumental gates, the only building visible from outside the fortress that still retain some original architectural characteristics. Fro its structure and composition of the three circles of defense walls, the city offers the possibility to see the development of the fortifications during the centuries.
In the city, Piazza Grande is in front of you. A perfectly hexagonal square, in the centre of which stands a base in Istria stone, from which rises the high standard, from immemorial time witness of the historical events of the fortress and symbol of the fortress itself. On the square overlook the most important buildings, including the Cathedral of Palmanova, the best example of Venetian architecture.
Among the museums, we suggest the Historical Civic Museum, an important point for information about the city, for events and excursion in surroundings. It also contains an interesting collection of antique weapons, coming from Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome.
To list all the interesting places of Palmanova is very difficult, because the entire city is a monument: every house, street, entrance doors. Everything is historic and relates the life of the city. Starting from Porta Udine, where you can see the natural place of the big wheel for the lifting of the drawbridge, you turn right at the first cross and take Strada delle Milizie. This street ran in a circle near the walls and it allowed a rapid movement of the troops and materials. On the street overlook the Military Quarters and buildings for artillery.
Along the itinerary you will see the Powder Magazine and the Defensive Barrack of Napoleon, the Laboratory of Powders, the Sant'Andrea Quarters that housed the cavalry and today, after a careful restoration, is occupied by residential buildings, the San Zuane Quarter for the infantry and the Venetian Powder Magazine, the oldest building of the city.Details
Between 56 BC and 50 BC, thanks to the initiative of Julius Caesar, Romans created a town, Forum Iulii, from which took the name the entire region Friuli. The Roman walls are at the basis of the Venetian walls still exist.
In the fifth century AD, after the destruction of Iulium Carnicum by the Avars and of Aquileia by the Huns, Cividale grew as populations and strategic importance, becoming bishopric seat. With the arrival of Lombard in 568, Cividale was the chief town of the first the Lombard Duchy of Italy (Duchy of Friuli). In that time it changed the name in Civitas, the city par excellence, who became then Cividale.
Destroyed by Avars (610), it remained an important centre and revived with the name of Civitas Forumiuliana, to become the military and political centre of Venetian. The seat of Patriarchate of Aquileia remained even after the expulsion of Lombard up to 1238.
From the twelfth century it was a free town and centre of an important market; since that moment it was the greatest political and commercial centre of all Friuli, so much to obtain from the Emperor Charles IV the opening of the University in 1353. In 1419, during the war with Venice, to drive out the Hungarian, the city surrendered to Venice.
In 1797 with the Campoformido Treaty between Napoleon and Austria, Cividale went to the Hapsburg and only in 1866, after the Third Independence War, the city was annexed to Italy Kingdom with Veneto and Friuli. During the First World War it was seat, for a short time, of the command of the II corps and it was damaged by air raids. After the defeat of Caporetto, Cividale was occupied by Austrian.
Of all these historical events, especially of the Lombard domination, Cividale shows proudly the signs. In fact, starting from the Cathedral Square, you meet immediately the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta built from the fifteenth to the eighteenth-century in Venetia Gothic style. Inside there is the beautiful Silver Altar Piece of Pellegrino II, one of the masterpiece of Italian medieval goldsmith's art.
From the Cathedral you enter in the Christian Museum which houses, among others, the Baptistery of Callisto and the altar of Ratchis, Lombard masterpieces. The Baptistery is named after the Patriarch Callisto and it is an octagonal baptismal font with columns that support finely decorated with inscriptions and floral motifs arches. The Altar of Ratchis, dedicated to the eponymous king of the Lombard, is a rectangular stone richly decorated.
In Piazza Duomo there is also the Palazzo dei Provveditori, built on a project of Palladio, which houses now the National Archaeological Museum of Cividale del Friuli and hase, especially, archaeological finds of Lombard period and important medieval manuscripts.
Behind the square you will find the Lombard city: with a short walk you will be in front of the Lombard Temple, the highest expression of early Middle Ages. In front of the temple of eight century, the beautiful panorama on the river Natisone. The monument has a great prestige because of the exceptional works of arts, so that for many the same name of the city ideally identifies with the name of the Lombard Temple. The mystery surrounding this small temple is dense: it is unknown whether the original destination, the primitive structure and the workers who worked there. Of particular beauty are the stuccoes in the main part of the temple and the frescoes.
One of the mystery of Cividale is the Celtic Hypogeum. A short distance from the Lombard Temple it is located this place rich in charm and mystery dug into the ground, of which is however unknown the function. The hypogeum consists of different underground rooms, carved into the rock with primitive techniques. A steep stair leads in the central room, from which radiate three corridors. In the walls there are niches and rough benchesm but the great mystery is represented by three coarse masks. The original function of this very special monument is still an unresolved question. Apart from the fanciful interpretations mix of legend, it was hypothesized a funerary use of the hypogeum in Celtic time, while others believe the rooms, jails of the Roman or Lombard period.
Certainly the most intriguing legend is that concerning the construction of the huge Devil's Bridge, that crosses the river Natisone and from which you enjoy a wonderful view. The legend wants that the bridge was been built by the devil (hence the name) in exchange of the first passer-by. According to tradition, the inhabitants of Cividale were not able to build a bridge at that place, so they called the devil, who promised to solve the problem in exchange for the soul of the first who had crossed the bridge. Inhabitants accepted this condition and the devil built quickly the bridge with the assistance of his mother, who brought in her apron the great stone at the centre of the river, between the arches. Inhabitants of Cividale were not fools: doing a dog cross the bridge, they deceived the devil, who had to be satisfied with the soul of the animal.Details