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Friuli Venezia Giulia - Things to Do - Tourism

An ideal itinerary can begin at Cividale del Friuli, the ancient Forum Julii founded by Julius Caesar, from which Friuli took its name. The Palazzo Comunale (14th-15th century) deserves a visit, as does the Gothic-Renaissance Duomo (15th-16th century) with works of art including a valuable gold and silver altar-piece (13th century), and the nearby Museo Cristiano (Christian museum) with the Battistero di Callisto (baptistry) and the Ratchis altar (both 18th century), masterpieces of high medieval art.

Also important are: the National Archeological Museum, Longobard relics), Tempietto Longobardo (8th-9th century), of architectural and pictorial-decorative interest. To the south, past the hilly belt of Collio, famous for its wines, lies Gradisca d'Isonzo (Duomo with a beautiful Baroque faade), near an area full of historical remains from the First World War: trenches, passageways fortifications and galleries hewn from the rock, places that bring back dramatic memories of a war fought at close quarters, found too in the Monte San Michele area (interesting war museum).

The Sacrario Militare di Redipuglia, a few kilometres farther south, deserves a visit. This monumental construction with flights of steps, the burial place, of a hundred thousand men who died, lies on the slopes of Monte Sei Busi.

Turning towards Trieste, one comes to the tormented Karst area, full of caves, chasms, dolinas and rough wild valleys. Not to be missed is a visit to S. Giovanni al Timavo, near the point at which the river of the same name reappears after flowing for approximately 40 km underground.

Near Trieste is the Grotta Gigante, an immense cave rich in concretions of remarkable beauty. At the extreme eastern tip of Venetia Giulia lies Muggia, and its beautiful Duomo (13th-15th century) with a Gothic-Venetian faade, Palazzo dei Rettori (15th century) and the Church of S. Francesco, Gothic (15th century).

Another interesting itinerary, totally in Friuli, starts at Aquileia a very ancient town near the Grado Lagoon. Of great interest is its Basilica (11th century), built in Romanesque style over paleochristian constructions. Inside are three aisles with important, 4th century, mosaic floors, medieval frescoes and the excavation crypt, with remarkable remains from Roman times (a 1st, century house) and paleochristian basilicas.

Other Roman ruins lie around the Foro Romano and Grandi Terme as well as at the national and paleochristian archeological museums. To the north lies Palmanova, a fortified town built by Venice in 1593, to a polygonal-shape plan, in the form of a star, surrounded by ramparts and a deep moat; inside, the town has a radial form starting from a large hexagonal square. Proceeding west, one reaches Passariano, famous for the stately Villa Manin (17th to 18th century), housing a school of restoration. Following the course of the Tagliamento river, one comes to Spilimbergo with a Gothic Duomo (13th-14th century) with beautiful frescoes (14th century) and the monumental castle complex (15th to 18th century).

Of the mountain holiday resorts in the northern part, the most important are Sauris (Val Lumiei), Navascletto (at the foot of Mount Zoncolan, 1,740 m.), Pontebba (at the mouth of Val Canale, with the ski resort of Studena Alta), and again in Val Canale, Camporosso and Tarvisio, near the beautiful Fusine regional park. The Carnic resorts should not be forgotten: Forni

Avoltri, Forni di Sopra and Ampezzo, while among the more recently developed tourist resorts are Sella Nevea, near Passo del Predil, and Piancavallo, above Aviano, in the Province of Pordenone.

Internationally famous seaside resorts are Lignano Sabbiadoro, and Grado which combines the lagoon with the artistic interest of its monuments (Basilica di S. Eufemia, 6th century, with mosaic flooring, adjacent baptistry, small Basilica delle Grazie (4th-6th century). Resorts on the Trieste coastline are Duino, Sistiana, Barcola and Grignano with the castle of Miramare set in a luxurious park, and built as a residence in the middle of last century by Archduke Maximilian of Hapsburg; in the waters nearby is the Miramare Marine Park.

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