Elegant and discreet, proud of their own beauty and never exhibitionist, the cities of Friuli Venezia Giulia have travelled the world, listening to foreign languages and meeting distant cultures and religions. To see this, you just need to stand in Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia and look at the Audace Pier in Trieste, where the first Italian ship docked on November 3 rd 1918, symbolising the annexation to the Kingdom of Italy, although the city had to wait until 1954 to become Italian; or you might choose to walk in the colourful square outside the Transalpine Railway Station in Gorizia, with one foot in Italy and the other in Slovenia. For centuries Celts, Romans, Huns, Lombards, Venetians and Austro-Hungarians passed through these places, all leaving an indelible mark that mingled with local traditions. Thus Trieste “dressed in Hapsburg clothes”, Udine became the home of Tiepolo, Gorizia was called the “Austrian Nice” and Pordenone alternates between Roman, Baroque and Gothic influences, where one can find Sacile, the “Garden of the Most Serene Republic of Venice”.
Set in an unrivaled corner of the world, between the white karst landscape and the dazzling blue of the northernmost part of the Adriatic Sea, Trieste has always been a vital meeting point between the East and the West because of the central role of its’ port. The city that for centuries belonged to everyone and to no one still has the cosmopolitan soul of a place where different cultures, languages, religions and traditions can meet.
Udine, the elegant and convivial city, where the refined architecture is linked to the rustic charm of the osterias, the city in which Giambattista Tiepolo’s treasures are kept, Venice school’s last great painter. This artist left a number of masterpieces, many of which can be seen in the Archiepiscopal Palace, in the Cathedral and in the Gallery of Historic Art in the castle that overlooks the old town centre. Using the audio-guides and free bicycles one can discover the beautiful sites of the city in complete freedom.
If Trieste reflects its ancient role of regional trade emporium, Gorizia has always been the real “melting pot” of Central Europe. It was here, at the crossroads of three European cultures – Latin, Slav and German – that the last wall of the Cold War between Eastern and Western Europe was torn down in 2004. The Hapsburg bourgeoisie loved the climate in Gorizia: it was called the Adriatic Nice with its enchanting parks spread at the foot of the hill where the hamlet and its medieval castle are placed.
Pordenone is an elegant town with a charming historical centre, a true mosaic of 16th century palazzos, Romanesque churches, porticoes, frescoed façades, and Gothic and Baroque buildings. A stroll beneath the prestigious arcades of the Corso or a visit to the museums or to the temporary art exhibits will allow you to discover local history and culture.
- Miramare Castle, fairy-tale residence of the Archduke Maximilian of Hapsburg and Charlotte of Belgium.
- Take the literary trail: the streets and places that inspired great masterpieces by Italo Svevo, Umberto Saba,
James Joyce and Veit Heinichen.
- Explore the characteristic historical cafés of Trieste and enjoy ancient Central European traditions.
- Visit the Grotta Gigante (Giant Cave) in Sgonico, Europe’s largest tourist cave.
- Go for an unforgettable ride on the Opicina Tram, the historic cablecar dating back to 1902.
- Follow the religious routes – from the Jewish districts to the ancient traces of Islam and the Orthodox Churches –
that will take you through Gorizia, Trieste, Udine, San Daniele and Gradisca.
- Gorizia’s medieval castle and Provincial museums.
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