Hear about travel to the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia in Italy as the Amateur Traveler talks to Audrey and Manlio from TravelsWithAudrey.com about Manlio’s home region.
Audrey says, “I would probably say to someone if they are traveling to Italy for the first time do Venice, Florence, and Rome, but for anyone who is looking for a more authentic way of appreciating Italy then you need to go into some of the regions that are less traveled. Friuli Venezia Giulia is one of those. It is in a really good location. It has so much to offer, beaches, history back to Roman history, Lombard history, WWI history, the Alps where you can go skiing in the wintertime, amazing wine (some of Italy’s best white wines). The food is quite unique, a mixture of different cultures: Austrian, Slovenian, Italian. For a traveler, they can easily spend a week in this particular region.”
Audrey and Manlio recommend you base yourself in Udine which is in the center of the province. Much of the area can be done via day trips from Udine. Udine has obvious signs of Venetian architecture which you can see in the main square Piazza Libertà. From Piazza Libertà, you can head to the shopping area along via Mercato Vecchio or head to the Udine Castle for a great view of the region. After the castle, make a stop at the Duomo with its frescos by artist Vitale da Bologna (1349).
Our next stop is Cividale del Friuli which they consider one of the most beautiful towns in the region. It was founded by Julius Ceasar which is where the Giulia part of the region’s name comes from. Later this was the eastern city of the Lombard Empire, which is where the name of the city comes from. It has the beautiful Ponte del Diavolo (bridge of the devil) and the Lombard Temple. In that afternoon they would encourage you to drive into the hills which are covered with vineyards. They recommend the Venica & Venica winery.
Palmanova is a 9-star fortress built by the Venetians. The museum is fascinating. You can also walk the walls of the fortress. The same day you can stop at Miramare Castle and then head into Trieste.
Trieste was one of the last parts of Italy to join modern Italy, so its main square is Piazza Unita d’Italia (Unification of Italy Square). Trieste is the capital but spent most of its existence as part of Austria and as the main port of Austria. You can see the Austrian influence in its coffeehouses and pastries. Trieste also has a Roman amphitheater. The darker history of WWII can be seen in the Risiera di San Sabba which was a Nazi concentration camp and transportation camp.
Aquileia has to be seen because “without Aquileia, there would be no Venice”. The city was razed by Atila the Hun and the people took refuge in the marshes at the coast which eventually became Venice. Make sure to see the beautiful mosaic floor of Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta.
We then head in the Alps to Sauris. It is a tiny picturesque village at the end of a road with hairpin turns. It looks like Austria or Switzerland. If you like skiing you can stop in Sappada. Sappada is the start of the eastern part of the Dolomites. The Dolomites are part of the Alps with rugged peaks.
Tarvisio is near the border with Austria and Slovenia. It can be a great base for hiking. Lago di Fusine is an area with aqua-colored lakes nestled in the Alps. It is the coldest region in Italy.
San Daniele del Friuli is one of two places in Italy (along with Parma) known for Prosciutto (Prosciutto di San Daniele).
We learn about some of the typical dishes of the region like gubana (desert), frico, cjalsòns, ricetta gnocchi di zucca, brovada e muset, and strucchi. Audrey and Manlio also give us some suggestions for restaurants.
Learn about this lesser-visited region of Italy that is definitely worth a visit.
This episode is sponsored by Sawyer the maker of Permethrin which can be used to treat clothing to protect you and your loved ones from insects include tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease.
right click here to download (mp3)
Travels with Audrey
Friuli Venezia Giulia
Friuli Venezia photos
A Guide to Friuli Venezia Giulia
Loggia del Lionello
Osteria Cividale del Friuli
Kingdom of the Lombards
Gorizia Hills (Collio Wine Hills)
Cjalsòns: Sweet & Savory
Le Cucagne Agraturismo
Ricetta Gnocchi di zucca – Cucchiaio d’Argento
Brovada e Muset – Traditional Sausage
Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta, Aquileia
Piazza Unità d’Italia
Risiera di San Sabba
San Daniele del Friuli
Lago di Fusine
Déodat Gratet de Dolomieu
Prosciuttificio artigianale Rino Bagatto
Copy of Copy of 2020 – 720px × 1280px
20 Travel Complaints From People Who May Not Be Very Smart – Your Mileage May Vary
Prosciutto di San Daniele
Prosciuttificio artigianale Rino Bagatto
Tips for Hiking in the Dolomites
Just wanted to add a few comments on the Turkmenistan episode. Having visited in 2017, I found it an interesting journey down memory lane.
The Darvaza Crater is as spectacular as Justin described but there are two things that people should be aware of.
First, most images of the crater date from when it had no barriers. I understand changes were made last year adding a better access road & railings around the crater. I’m sure it’s still amazing but visitors should know that it’s no longer as “rugged” as described. (pictures in this blog show how it looks today – passionpassport.com/day-trip-door-to-hell-turkmenistan/)
Secondly, I don’t think you can discuss the Crater without telling people to google “Dictator drives rally car around gateway to hell to prove he’s still alive”. The headline alone goes some way to understanding the oddity that is Turkmenistan (North Korea if it had abundant natural resources).
Finally, I thought it might be useful to recommend another tour operator. The guest seemed very happy with MIR which is great but their prices (& to be fair, those of almost every other company operating Stans tours) are pretty hefty. For a more affordable option, I’d highly recommend Lupine Travel (based in the UK). Their 14 day “5 stans” tours is a gem if you want to visit the region and they also do standalone Turkmenistan tours. It’s less than half the price of any alternative I could find and the quality was excellent. We stayed in the same hotels & covered the same route as the other big name brand tours (the region is still in the early phases of tourism & there is a pretty clear “gringo trail” that most follow by and large).
Thanks for all your work & looking forward to the day when we can begin traveling safely again.
All the best,
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