The Friuli-Venezia Giulia region is located in the northeast corner of Italy. Friuli-Venezia Giulia is bordered by Austria to the north, by Slovenia to the east, and by the Veneto region of Italy to the west. Although it has Venezia in its name, the city of Venice is actually in the neighboring Veneto region. The southern part of the region borders on the Adriatic Sea.
The northern part of the Friuli Venezia Giulia is composed of the Dolomite mountains, called the Prealpi Carniche (the taller section) and the Prealpi Guilie, which terminate at the northern border. There's good skiing in these Alpine mountains and the four major ski areas are shown on the map as red squares.
The Friuli-Venezia Giulia region is perhaps more popular with Italian tourists than with those traveling from English speaking countries. It's a little out of the way for a typical tour of Italy, but offers beautiful and interesting cities, seaside resorts and great region cuisine and wines.
Major Cities and Towns of Friuli-Venezia Giulia
The four cities shown on the map in capital letters – Pordenone, Udine, Gorizia, and Trieste – are the four provincial capitals of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia. They can all be easily reached by train from elsewhere in Italy and neighboring countries.
Trieste, the largest city, is on the coast. Its culture and architecture reflect its Austrian, Hungarian, and Slavic influence. Its famous city square, Piazza Unità d'Italia, is Europe's largest seafront square. Trieste and Pordenone, as well as some of the region's small towns, are good places to go for Christmas markets.
Udine is known for its hilltop castle in the middle of the city, and for its Carnevale festivals, usually held in February and its Mushroom Festival in September. About 25 km from Udine, Palmanova is an absolutely unique town, set entirely within the walls of a 1600s fortress that is shaped like a 9-pointed star.
Grado and Lignano are famous seaside resort towns in the southern part of the region. The Lagoon of Grado and Marano is full of royal seagulls, sea swallows, white herons, and cormorants, making it a popular excursion from Grado or Lignano. This area is best visited by car.
Piancavallo, Forni di Sopra, Ravascletto, and Tarvisio are mountain towns with major ski areas. In summer, there are places to hike. The smaller mountain towns are good places to go for Christmas and Epiphany pageants, or presepi viventi.
San Daniele del Friuli is known for its special style of prosciutto or ham called San Daniele and is a Cittaslow, or slow city, known for its quality of life. San Daniele del Friuli holds a Prosciutto Festival on the last week of August.
Near the town of Aquileia is an important archaeological site, a Roman city said to be the second largest of the empire. Aquileia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Friuli-Venezia Giulia Wine and Food
Although the Friuli Venezia Giulia region produces only a tiny part of Italy's total wine production, the wine is of very high quality and is often compared to the offerings of Piedmont and Tuscany, especially wines of the Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC zone.
Because it was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the food of the region is influenced by its history and has similarities to Austrian and Hungarian cuisines. Orzotto, similar to risotto but made with barley, is common to this area. Be sure to try the famous San Daniele prosciutto. Strucolo, similar to Austrian strudel, can be either a savory version as part of the meal or a sweet dessert.
Friuli-Venezia Giulia Transportation
Trieste No-Borders Airport - Aeroporto FVG: The airport on the map is Aeroporto FVG (Friuli-Venezia Giulia) and is called Trieste No-Borders Airport. It is located 40 km from Trieste and Udine, 15 km from Gorizia, 50 km from Pordenone. The nearest hotels are located in Ronchi dei Legionari (3 km from the airport) or in Monfalcone (5 km from the airport).
Northeastern Italy Railway Lines: The region is well served by train, see Trenitalia for schedules.
- Trieste - Gorizia - Udine
- Udine - Palmanova - Cervignano - S. Giorgio di Nogaro
- Udine - Cividale
- Udine - Tarvisio
- Gemona - Pinzano - Sacile
- Udine - Venice
- Casarsa - Portogruaro
- Trieste - Monfalcone - Cervignano - Venezia (Venice)