Cividale del Friuli
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Founded by Giulio Cesare under the name of Forum Iulii – where the name Friuli comes from – in 568 BC, Cividale became seat of the first Lombard duchy in Italy and subsequently the residence of the patriarchs of Aquileia for several centuries.
The city preserves remarkable Lombard evidence, first of all the Tempietto (small temple), one of the most extraordinary and mysterious early medieval constructions in the western world. Other treasures are preserved at the two town museums: the altarcommissioned by duke Ratchis and the baptistery of patriarch Calixtus can be seen at the precious Christian Museum of the Cathedral, whereas the National Archaeological Museum displays the grave goods of Cividale's Lombard necropolises.
UNESCO World Heritage
This historic and artistic heritage was recognised by UNESCO in 2011, placing Cividale at the beginning of the Longobard route, an itinerary that allows the discovery of a series of outstanding treasures, even if they are not well known, right from the border with Friuli Venezia Giulia.
Yet even without these treasures Cividale would still be well worth a visit to see its most recent display: CIPS is a centre devoted to marionettes by the Cividale-born Vittorio Podrecca, the greatest Italian artist of marionette theatre.
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Cividale del Friuli
Servizio di Informazione ed Accoglienza Turistica del Comune di Cividale del Friuli (Informacittà)
Palazzo de Nordis - piazza Duomo, 5 - 33043 Cividale del Friuli (UD)
Orario estivo (dal 1° aprile al 30 settembre)
da lunedì a venerdì 10.00 – 13.00 e 15.00 -18.00;
sabato e festivi 10.00 - 18.00
Orario invernale (dal 1° ottobre al 31 marzo):
da lunedì a venerdì 10.00 – 13.00 e 14.00 -17.00;
sabato e festivi 10.00 – 17.00.
The island of the sun
The Venetian charm of the old centre of Grado, an elegant seaside town, is seen in its narrow streets and little squares bordered by picturesque fishermen’s homes. Campo dei Patriarchi, a central square, is dominated by the Basilica di Santa Eufemia and the contiguous Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie, Grado’s oldest church. Grado is known as the island of the sun because its south-facing three kilometres of beaches are never in the shade, and thanks to the area’s macroclimate it is always sunny.
Grado was once part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and it was a favourite destination for the Habsburg aristocracy who visited the island from the 19th century onwards to partake in sea bathing and to enjoy the island’s excellent Sea Spa. Indeed, the spa is still known for its blend of health and beauty, the ideal place for regenerating and rejuvenating the mind and body.
Today, Grado is a well-organised seaside resort: excellent beaches offer a full range of leisure and play facilities for adults and children. The shallow water makes the Grado coast particularly family-friendly. An efficient cycle path network offers pleasant rides around the environs.
On the first Sunday of July every year there is a picturesque festival in Grado known as the Perdòn di Barbana, in which a procession of boats decorated with flowers, garlands and flags sails to the Marian sanctuary on the island of Barbana in a votive ritual dating back 800 years.
In the centre of Europe
Aquileia, an important city of the Roman Empire and then the main centre for the diffusion of Christianity in Northern and Eastern Europe, represents an extraordinary opportunity to broaden knowledge, offering an unforgettable visiting experience.
It has been a UNESCO site since 1998 due to the importance of its archaeological area and the beauty of the floor mosaics that it safeguards. Among them, the largest and most well-known attraction is the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta, dating back to the fourth century. However, added to this are other precious mosaic remains from the Roman and early Christian ages, which make Aquileia a kind of capital of the Western Roman mosaic.
Besides the basilica complex, the Early Christian National Museum and the National Archaeological Museum must be included in your visit.
A cosmopolitan city
Beautiful and cultured, Trieste is Italy’s most cosmopolitan city. There are still echoes of the glorious Habsburg past that made it “the little Vienna on the sea”, and in its characteristic mixture of languages, peoples and religions one easily senwwses its combined Central European and Mediterranean souls.
The heart of the city is the most beautiful and most symbolic of all its squares, Piazza Unità d’Italia. The buildings around it perfectly summarise Trieste’s history. However, the most spectacular side of the square is the one facing the sea, from which a pier, the Molo Audace, extends for over two hundred metres. From here, the view sweeps beyond Piazza Unità and on to the monumental palazzi and the Greek Orthodox Church of San Nicolò on the Trieste Canal Grande (Grand Canal), the centre of the neighbourhood built at the behest of Maria Theresa of Austria. The churches in this district testify to the harmonious coexistence of different religions.
In the distance, one can glimpse the white profile of Miramare, the romantic castle of Maximilian and Charlotte of Hapsburg.
Trieste is also the city of coffee. A free port for coffee imports from the 18th century onwards, the port of Trieste is still the busiest in the Mediterranean. In Trieste, coffee rhymes with literature: the city has numerous beautiful literary cafés, time-honoured coffee houses with a retro charm that were once the haunt of great novelists such as James Joyce, Italo Svevo and Umberto Saba and are still the preferred watering-holes of writers and intellectuals. Taking a break in one of Trieste’s old cafés is an unmissable ritual for which you even have to learn some special jargon: here, an espresso is a “nero”, but what on earth is a “gocciato” or a “capo in b”?