Italy’s secret paradise
Nestled between world-famous Venice, the Adriatic Sea, Slovenia, and Austria lies one of the last few secret regions in Italy, namely Friuli Venezia Giulia. Located in the far northeast of the Italian boot – just a short drive away from Venice – this region resembles no other. Thanks to its fascinating heritage and geographical position, it is truly unique.
For your pleasure, you will find far fewer tourists than elsewhere, as it has remained away from mass tourism, unlike Venice or Tuscany. And yet, Friuli Venezia Giulia is home to a wealth of natural and cultural treasures that will fill even an experienced traveller with wonder. It is not surprising that famous characters such as Hemingway, Rilke, and Empress Elisabeth of Austria – better known as Sisi – spent a delightful time here.
Charming towns and villages, gorgeous churches and castles, beautiful landscapes dotted with sandy beaches, majestic alpine mountains, rivers, and vineyards, on top of unique culinary delights, you will find it all in this small region. So, pack your bags and get ready for an epic journey to this secret destination!
A unique artistic and cultural mix
Friuli Venezia Giulia is one of a kind due to its turbulent history.
On the one hand, you will find a wealth of sights in a city like Trieste with a substantial influence from the Austro-Hungarian empire. Trieste indeed boasts a unique cosmopolitan vibe with its historical cafes, squares, architectural buildings, places of worship, and port. Nearby, do not miss two interesting castles – namely, Duino and Miramare – built on the Adriatic coast.
On the other hand, Venice has left indelible traces of its power in smaller towns like Udine, Pordenone, or Sacile. Udine is often called ‘Venice without canals’, as its pedestrian historic centre is home to churches ornamented by exquisite frescoes by famous Venetian painter Tiepolo alongside picturesque squares and Renaissance buildings.
In addition, discover splendid ancient treasures including a 4th-century mosaic floor preserved in a 12th-century Gothic Basilica in Aquileia, once the fourth biggest town under the Roman Empire.
Additionally, explore charming towns inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List such as the star-shaped fortress town of Palmanova or Cividale del Friuli. Last but not least, this small region houses a handful of the most beautiful villages of Italy with ancient traditions that every traveller should include in his itinerary.
Natural wonders as far as the eye can see
Northeastern Italy is blessed with a diversity of stunning landscapes. You will be amazed by its majestic snow-capped alpine mountains in the North, its spectacular sun-kissed coastline in the South, and its beautiful countryside dotted with vineyards and gentle hills, plains, and a vast karst limestone plateau with caves, ravines, and canyons from West to East.
If you are an outdoor lover, the high peaks of the Julian Alps and Friulian Dolomites will appeal to you. Reconnect with a well-preserved wild nature and explore a wealth of unspoilt places including deep valleys, lakes, rivers, and many more. You will enjoy the pleasures of walking and hiking on well-marked trails leading you to spectacular sceneries and breathtaking views. In a similar vein, if you like tranquillity and authenticity, do not miss the Friulian countryside. Its landscapes are equally beautiful.
And if you seek to unwind on sandy beaches, do not look further! Friuli Venezia Giulia is home to a beautiful Adriatic coastline – and lagoons hosting unique fauna and flora – stretching 130 kilometres. It will delight everybody, whether you are looking for complete relaxation or more active holidays. Warm sea waters lap many sandy and pebbly beaches with an average temperature of 25° C during the summer, making it ideal for great family holidays!
Lastly, dare to explore the world beneath your feet by touring the amazing Grotta Gigante, or Giant Cave– the world’s largest tourist cave according to the Guinness Book of Records!
An ode to slow travelling and gastronomy
Friuli Venezia Giulia has a peculiar atmosphere conducive to slow tourism making it a good opportunity to travel sustainably at your own pace. You will discover authentic places from an unexpected perspective while meeting with the locals. In that respect, you will find a wide range of environment-friendly activities – no matter your level or experience – including cycling, hiking, horseback riding, and ski touring during winter.
Wine tours and wine tasting are another must-do experience in the area. Friuli Venezia Giulia is renowned all over Italy for its wine-making. Sip a glass of elegant white wine – or its famous sparkling alternative, Prosecco – while taking in the view of the gentle hills dotted with vineyards.
In addition, try the local culinary delights such as San Daniele ham or Montasio cheese, two unmissable symbols of Friulan cuisine. Other specialties await you including vegetable and fish soups, pork sausages, and seafood.