The most incredible cities of Art in Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Friuli Venezia Giulia is a northeast Italian region bordering Austria, Slovenia and the Adriatic Sea. It’s home to the sharp-peaked Dolomite Mountains and vineyards producing white wines. Trieste, the capital, was once part of the 19th-century Austro-Hungarian Empire. Its famous sights include the old quarter, the waterfront Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia square and Castello di Miramare, a former royal residence. Friuli is the perfect destination for art lovers, a wonderland that has seen the passage of different cultures and traditions, a basket of architectural treasures in its elegant cities such as Udine, keeper of the works of Tiepolo, the last notable painter of the Venetian school. His timeless masterpieces can be appreciated in the Archbishop's Palace, in the Cathedral and in the rooms of the Ancient Art Gallery of the Castle which dominates the city from above.

An important city of the Roman Empire, Aquileia boasts the richest archaeological remains in Northern Italy after Ravenna and is ideal for those who love ancient art and archaeology. Founded in 181 BC as a military outpost, Aquileia rapidly became the most important Roman city in north-eastern Italy. It also became known as a major hub of early Christianity, before Attila the Hun razed it to the ground in 452. You will be impressed by the mosaics of the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta that cover the floor and by the precious frescoes of the Crypt of the Excavations and of the Crypt of the Frescoes. But not only that: to see the Roman Forum, the National Archaeological Museum and the South Halle, the Southern Hall of the Baptistery with incredible mosaics.

Spilimbergo is known as the "City of Mosaics" and has been home to the internationally renowned School of Mosaics of Friuli since 1922. The village, with a medieval and Renaissance soul, is full of artistic and architectural treasures that will not you indifferent: the Western Tower, the elegant frescoed buildings of Corso Roma, the Eastern Tower, the House painted with frescoes that tell the life of Hercules, and the scenic Piazza Duomo with authentic treasures to discover.

Embraced by the Julian Alps and surrounded by flourishing nature, Tarvisio is a crossroads of cultures and languages, a sought-after mountain destination and a pilgrimage destination to the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Lussari. A land of tradition and flavours, it is perfect for all seasons and hosts the Antiquarium Historical Museum in the town of Camporosso with interesting archaeological finds from the cult of Mitra.

Also known as the "garden of the Serenissima", Sacile boasts a Venetian atmosphere and is closely linked to the Livenza river that crosses it: the historic center is spread over two islands bathed by its waters. Postcard of Friuli, it offers notable points of interest such as Piazza del Popolo, the bridge over the Livenza, the Cathedral of San Nicolò, the Church of Santa Maria della Pietà and Palazzo Ragazzoni.

Gorizia has an atmosphere of a border town, which has always been influenced by the encounter between Roman, Germanic and Slavic civilizations. In its streets splendid medieval, baroque and nineteenth-century architecture coexist in happy harmony, numerous historic buildings and the Castle that watches over everything.

It is one of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy as well as a National Monument as the only fourteenth-century village in Friuli and one of the most successful examples of restoration in the artistic and architectural field: here is Venzone, the city reborn. In fact, after the 1976 earthquake, it rose again exactly as it was, always the guardian of its incredible historical and cultural heritage. Venzone is an archaic fortified town encircled by walls. The 1976 earthquake hit hard here, but the impressive reconstruction work which followed faithfully restored the town’s layout and historic buildings. The 13th-century duomo is perhaps the best example of such a stone-by-stone effort. In 1647, the ‘Hunchback’ was the first of many naturally mummified bodies to be discovered in and around the town.

Built in 1593 by the Republic of Venice, Palmanova is a marvellous fortress city preserved in an exemplary way, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Monument. It is admired with its perfect nine-pointed star layout and is a model of an ideal Renaissance city and a shining example of military architecture. Also known as the ‘star-shaped city’, Palmanova expresses late-Renaissance ideals in the form of a fortress-town. The Venetians built it for strategic reasons at the turn of the 17th century, a time when both the Ottomans and the Hapsburgs posed a recurring threat to the republic. 

In the quiet of the Friulian countryside, Cordovado is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy that reveals all its beauty in the castellana area, guardian of important buildings such as the elegant Palazzo Agricola, Palazzo Ridolfi, the ancient house of the captain, and the Palazzo Freschi Piccolomini. The "new village" also boasts prestigious buildings and the ancient parish church of Sant'Andrea and the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie, a baroque jewel, are worth seeing.

Valvasone keeps intact its medieval aspect shaped by beautiful streets and ancient houses adorned with arcades. The beating heart is the Piazza del Duomo where the Cathedral of the Most Holy Body of Christ stands out and houses a monumental organ, the only example in Italy of the Venetian organ-making art of the sixteenth century. A host of historic buildings display Renaissance influences as well as later styles, while the duomo’s organ ranks high in the artistic heritage of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. 

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