Located on the very north-eastern boarder of Italy, bordering Austria and Slovenia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia certainly is one of Italy’s off-the-beaten-track destinations. Yet this little region has a lot to offer in terms of cultural complexity and contrasting landscapes.
Between the perpetually snowy Giulie and Carnic Alps in the north, the idyllic vineyards in the centre and the beaches on the Adriatic Coast there is an amazing set of un-crowded historical sites ranging from Roman ruins to Austro-Hungarian palaces, and a melting pot of different traditions.
The geographical diversity also allows the region to be both a coastal destination during summer and a ski destination during winter.
The city of Venice is just around two hours away by car or train and the Austrian cities of Salzburg and Graz are around four hours' drive from Udine.
Trieste “Ronchi dei Legionari” airport operates daily flights from Rome, London, Munich and Frankfurt, and less-frequent services from Belgrade and Tirana. Venice "Marco Polo" airport is just around two hours away by car or train .
As an alternative, there are also different railway lines that run through the region linking the major destinations.
The city can also be reached through the cruise terminal of Trieste Port.
The most important city of the region is of course Trieste, an enchanting seaport where Italian, Slavic, Jewish, Germanic and even Greek culture meet each other. Do not miss Italy’s largest sea-facing square and the picturesque Miramare Castle.
Take some more time to visit the architecturally interesting town of Udine, the colourful Gorizia, the history-soaked Cividale del Friuli and, last but not least, San Daniele, to taste the famous ham.
Are also worth a visit the impressive Roman ruins of Aquileia, which used to have an important role as a centre of the Roman Empire and are now listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the impressive city of Palmanova, a masterpiece of Venetian military architecture, a perfectly symmetrical nine-pointed star with a central piazza, designed and built to defend the regional borders against foreign threats.
If you wish to avoid the crowd, the many attractive hill towns and villages of the Carso valley and plateau are quite isolated and mainly unknown and still not touched by mass tourism, thus preserving their authentic atmosphere and flavours. On the other hand, the beach resorts of Lignano Sabbiadoro and Grado are really popular already among tourists.