It’s where the Latin world meets the Slavic world: the northeastern most border of Italy, where it meets Slovenia and Austria. The Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region offers an incredible panorama of culture and landscapes. The variety of geographic formations, such as the mountains, hills, and coastline, together with its cities famed for their art, are all a reflection of the area’s cultural complexity. The diversified culture is a result of the influence from the surrounding countries, as well as the historical events in Europe that caused borders to be redrawn more than a few times. All of these contribute to a strong cultural identity that draws from both the Italian and middle-European character.
This enchanting area of the world is a largely undefiled display of nature, rich history, cultural diversity, cuisine and traditions. It’s bound to provide you with an unforgettable experience of both heart and mind.
Alps, the Alpine Lakes, Carso and the Coasts
The region is divided into two areas, both historically and geographically: Friuli and Venezia-Giulia, both of which offer a wide array of natural scenery.
In the northwestern area of Friuli are the Carnic Alps, which reach heights of up to 2,780 meters (over 9,000 feet) at Mount Coglians. The area – still in its original, wild state – offers plenty of options for excursions, thanks to an extensive and expansive network of trails. These trails are dotted with huts and lodges, places where one can spend the night or maybe get something to eat. The Tagliamento River, “King of the Alpine Rivers,” divides this area from the Carnic Prealps, which is where the fascinating Dolomites National Park is found. The river divides the area, both historically and geographically, from the Carnia area. Carnia is a paradise of mountains, water, woodlands, and valleys.
To the east, past the Canal di Ferro Valley, loom the Julian Alps, whose alpine lakes and whose age-old forests present fairy tale views in the summer, and an assortment of skiing options in the winter. Moving slightly to the south, we find the Julian Prealps and the natural park by the same name. It’s known for its interesting geology, environment, and landscapes. One particular feature is the Altopiano Carsico (Carso Plateau), which is shared with Slovenia and Croatia, and which stretches all the way to Venezia-Giulia. This plateau is replete with breathtaking caves that are open to the public.
Even the coastline of the region varies between the two areas. The sandy Friuli coastline is home to Grado and Lignano Sabbiadoro, well-known tourist sites. The rocky Venezia-Giulia coastline spans the Golfo di Trieste, where one can find the Barcola Promenade with its bathing areas that are a regular destination for people from Trieste. The name of this locale is the origin of the storied Barcolana; it’s the largest, international sailboat race in the world. It’s held every autumn, and in 2018, it was officially entered into the Guiness Book of World Records.
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