Italy off the beaten path tour: Discover Friuli Venezia Giulia
Despite its stunning natural beauty, fascinating history and richly varied regional cuisine, Friuli-Venezia Giulia remains relatively unknown to American tourists. Bordering on Austria and Slovenia and easily accessible from Croatia, this under-the-radar region is well worth a visit. Its intertwining Central European, Venetian and Slavic traditions make for an atypical Italian culinary tour. You can linger in cosmopolitan literary cafes, savor prosciutto di San Daniele and fried Montasio cheese in medieval hamlets, sip aromatic Friulian wines, and put together an enviable picnic in the Dolomites. The region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia comes with a mixed population of multi cultures – Italian, Austrian and Slavic influences has took over the region and gave it the uniqueness it nowadays enjoys. The main cities of this region, Trieste and Udine, are also widely considered as a part of the Venice and Veneto region and given Venetian resemblance.
As all the tours Audrey designs are customized. This is a TOUR Itinerary presented as one of the many ways you can experience Italy on your PRIVATE TOUR with our local host.
Tour starts and ends in Venice (airport pick up and drop off)
Your arrival and departure airport is:
Airport in Venice is Marco Polo (VCE)
€3,250 PER PERSON double occupancy, pricing based on a minimum of 4 people
14 nights in Agriturismo with breakfast
11 day professional guide (include guide lunch)
3 wine tasting
1 prosciutto tasting
1 grappa tasting
1 gubana tasting
1 coffee tasting
entrance fees to Miramare Castle, Mosaic school, Aquileia Basilica, Sesto Abbey, Boat in River Stella and Bled Lake, BLed Castle, Pradjama Castle
Get a group together and let’s get something on the calendar!
DAY 1: BUTTRIO
Arrival in the afternoon after an included transfer from Marco Polo Airport (VCE) and check-in at your hotel (you may choose between staying at CASTELLO DI BUTTRIO or AGRITURISMO TRA LE VIGNE) where you will be staying for the duration of your visit in this region. Visit the Castle cellars and vineyards and wine tasting.
DAY 2 REDIPUGLIA, MIRAMARE CASTLE, TRIESTE
Meet your driver and guide for a full day of discoveries. After breakfast, departure for Miramare Castle, where Charlotte of Belgium and Maximilian of Hapsburg spent the few happy years of their lives. On the way to Miramare Castle, visit the memorial of Redipuglia, one of the largest in Europe: 100,000 victims of the 3rd Army Corps, that fought in this area during the First World War.
After lunch enjoy a guided tour of Trieste. Those visiting Trieste for the first time will not fail to notice that the city bears hardly any resemblance to other Italian cities. Having being governed by the Habsburgs for centuries, here you can feel a typically “Mitteleuropean” atmosphere, and its stunning buildings, historical cafés and the cuisine have retained all the charms of that era. On the top of San Giusto Hill, you will admire the remains of the Roman basilica and the beautiful eponymous Cathedral. Break for a coffee in one of the many historical cafés of Trieste, meeting point of writers and intellectuals.
DAY 3: CIVIDALE DEL FRIULI
After breakfast, departure for Cividale del Friuli with your private driver and guide. Before arriving in the UNESCO heritage village, visit of a factory in which the Friulian cake, the “gubana“, is produced. Upon arrival in the town, you enjoy a guided tour: in 568 AD the Longobards arrived here and left an indelible mark on the local art, traditions and language. Visit of the main attractions such as the Devil’s Bridge, Piazza Paolo Diacono and the Longobard Temple, incredible masterpiece of Byzantine – Longobard art.
In the afternoon, after lunch, visit a distillery in Nimis and grappa tasting.
DAY 4: SPILIMBERGO, SAN DANIELE DEL FRIULI, VALVASONE
After breakfast, departure for Spilimbergo, a charming medieval hamlet, where you will visit , with the guide, the frescoed buildings, the Cathedral and the famous Scuola Mosaicisti del Friuli, the mosaic school that has created works all over the world. During the visit to its workshops, the guide will familiarize you with the various mosaic techniques used.
At the end transfer to San Daniele del Friuli, where you will visit a ham factory and have some tasting of the famous D.O.P. San Daniele ham. (INCLUDED)
In the afternoon visit of Valvasone, one of the most beautiful hamlets in Italy, with the typical medieval lanes, the Castle and the Cathedral, where a wonderful Venetian sixteenth organ is preserved .Guided tour of the Castle and the village.
DAY 5: AQUILEIA, GRADO, PALMANOVA
After breakfast, departure for Aquileia (UNESCO heritage), the focal point of the “Venetia and Istria” region in the era of the Roman Empire. You will meet your guide and take an archeological walk to discover the remains of the Roman Forum and of the Fluvial Port. Visit of the magnificent Basilica, which contains the largest mosaic floor of the early Christian age in Western Europe. In the afternoon, after a lunch break, visit Grado, picturesque fishermen’s village on an island, set amid the lagoon and the sea, a sort of “little Venice”.
On the way back stop in Palmanova. Visit the town-fortress, which was built in the incredible shape of a nine-pointed star. The fortress was built by the Venetians in 1593 as a defence point against the Turks. Visit of the magnificent square, of the Cathedral and the fortifications (weather permitting).
DAY 6: UDINE
After breakfast departure for Udine, which is considered the historical and geographical heart of Friuli. You will meet your guide and visit the main monuments: Piazza Libertà, the city’s “living room” in typical Venetian style, Via Mercato Vecchio, with its elegant shops, Piazza San Giacomo, where the locals gather in the surrounding cafés, and the Archbishop Palace, where you can admire the masterpieces by Gianbattista Tiepolo, a painter that started off in Udine and became known as a young and gifted talent.
Free afternoon to enjoy time for shopping at the beautiful boutique shops in town.
DAY 7: VENZONE, PESARIIS, GEMONA DEL FRIULI
After breakfast departure for Venzone, proclaimed “national monument” in 1965, medieval town fully surrounded by walls. Venzone was razed to the ground by the 1976 earthquake, but it is now quoted as an example of reconstruction by anastylosis (each stone was catalogued and put back in its original place).
After the visit departure for Pesariis, called the “town of clocks” due to the establishment, in 1725, of the famous clockmaker Solaris. Guided walk through the narrow streets of the town, where you will see several installations with different kinds of watches.
One the way back to Buttrio stop in Gemona del Friuli, a Medieval town which was completely destroyed by the earthquake. Its old part has been accurately reconstructed, and there you will see its main monuments.
DAY 8: PORDENONE, SACILE
After breakfast, departure for Pordenone, the ancient Roman Portus Naonis. Guided tour of the lovely town on the river Noncello, and walk along the Corso, overlooked by splendid frescoed and decorated buildings, an authentic open-air art gallery! Visit of the Cathedral, where you will admire the works of the main Friulian painter Antonio de Sacchis known as “il Pordenone”.
After lunch guided tour of Sacile. This town developed around the 7th century upon two islands on river Livenza as a fortress along the route that led to Friuli
One the way back to Buttrio stop in Sesto al Reghena with the magnificent Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria in Sylvis, dating back to the 7th century.
DAY 9: MARANO LAGUNARE, RIVER STELLA
Guided tour of Marano Lagunare, old fishing village where the presence of the “Serenissima” can be seen everywhere.
Departure by boat for the nature reserve Foce dello Stella, followed by an upstream journey along the River Stella, one of the cleanest in Europe, which has never changed its course throughout the centuries. During the excursion, the biological diversity of the sea fauna and flora will be explained to you, the key resources for the lagoon, as they represent the biological clock of the entire wetland system. You will also be shown the various fishing methods, traditional and modern, used in the lagoon depending on the seasons and on the migration cycle of the fish species living in the Upper Adriatic Sea.
On the way back stop at a Winery for a tour and tasting.
DAY 10: GORIZIA, GRADISCA D’ISONZO
After breakfast, departure for Gorizia which reveals the presence of the ancient Austrian aristocracy. You will visit with the guide the main monuments such as Piazza della Vittoria and the church dedicated to St. Ignatius, with its distinctive onion-shaped bell towers. The city was heavily damaged during the First World War and in the surroundings took place the hard-fought battles along the river Isonzo. Not to be missed is a visit to Piazza della Transalpina, where you can still see traces of the local “Berlin Wall”, which divided the city between Italy and Slovenia (once part of Yugoslavia).
After lunch guided tour of Gradisca d’ Isonzo, a town-fortress that was erected by the Venetians in 1479 against the attacks by the Turks. On the way back stop at a Winery
DAY 11: DEPARTURE DAY OR EXTENSION TO SLOVENIA
On this day you may choose to fly back home (included transfer to Marco Polo Airport), spend a few days in Venice or an extension to Slovenia; If you choose to extend to Slovenia here is the itinerary:
BLED (Day 11)
After breakfast, departure for Bled the Slovenia’s most popular resort thanks to its bluish-green lake, picture-postcard church on an islet, a medieval castle clinging to a rocky cliff and some of the highest peaks of the Julian Alps and the Karavanke as backdrops.
On the way stop at Fusine Lakes, superb expanses of water set in the kingdom of deer, roebucks, lynxes and bears. In the afternoon guided tour of Bled castle, where you have a magnificent view from the castle over the lake and a boat trip at the sunset to the island where is possible to ring a wishing bell.
DAY 12: LJUBLJANA, PREDJAMA CASTLE
After breakfast, departure for Ljubljana and visit the historical city center, whose unique architecture is the legacy of the Baroque and Art Nouveau periods and, most notably, the work of the famous 20th-century architect Jože Plečnik. The Ljubljana Castle, standing on a hill above the city for about 900 years, is Ljubljana’s main attraction.
After lunch visit of Predjama Castle, the impregnable medieval marvel has been perched in the middle of a 123-metre-high cliff for more than 800 years
DAY 13: PIRAN
After breakfast departure to Piran to enjoy free time in the town and beach. Pretty Piran on the Slovenian coast is tiny, but it packs a powerful punch in terms of scenic beauty. It’s the perfect coastal spot to round out your Slovenia itinerary.
DAY 14: PIRAN
Day at leisure
DAY 15: DEPARTURE DAY
Ready for a one of kind experience in Italy? Contact Audrey for your 30 minute complimentary phone consultation.
Audrey specializes in private custom tours to Italy, Spain and France, providing guests with delights that excite the senses that are genuine, intimate and unique experiences. With a balance of culture, food, wine and stunning natural and man-made landscapes, this tour captures everything that a guest would be looking for in an Italian experience. Audrey warmly invites you to come along and experience “La Bell’ Italia”.