Discover an unsung jewel of Italy
Are you looking for an alternative holiday in beautiful Italy? Are you excited to explore a lesser known Italian region? You found it! This region has plenty to offer Italy fans who have seen the country’s most famous sights and are seeking somewhere wonderful off the main tourist trail.
Arrival airport: Venice Marco Polo (VCE) or Trieste Airport (TRS)
Your first question is undoubtedly "Where on earth is Friuli Venezia Giulia?" It may be hard to believe, but there are still fantastic beautiful places in Italy that are not overrun with travelers. Relatively unknown outside Europe, Friuli Venezia Giulia is a wonderful place with incredible food and wines. The New York times called it "Italy’s secret garden".
With five languages, four national parks, cultured cities, sandy beaches and Alpine mountains, fascinating history, exceptional walking, gorgeous towns and fabulous food and wines, the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia has all the ingredients for an unforgettable vacation. With its mountains, plains and seashores, all less than an hour's drive apart, Italian writer Ippolito Nievo fondly described Friuli as a "little compendium of the universe". The only thing missing are the tour buses.
Tucked away in the far northeast of Italy, Friuli Venezia Giulia is one of the perfect destinations for tourists who do not just want to visit, but prefer to immerse themselves in the local culture while on vacation.
This is also an excellent region if you are looking to visit other countries or regions during your holiday. From Friuli, you can visit Austria, Slovenia or even Croatia, with just a few hours' drive. And you are only 120 km (74 miles) away from the scenic canals of Venice. We can customize itineraries for the places mentioned and we can also design customized itineraries for private guided tours in other regions in Northern Italy (Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige, Lombardy, Aosta Valley, Piedmont, Liguria, Emilia Romagna)
Open the door to an Insider Experience
PRICING: 11 days/10nights from $3,500USD per person (double occupancy)
This itinerary is for private groups only of 4 to 8 people, and can be customized to your group's needs. Contact Audrey to book your preferred dates (for larger private groups please enquire)
The price for a private tour is per-person sharing a double room, and it varies according to the number of guests on the tour, because of minimum fixed costs that need to be covered. With this tiered pricing structure we are generally able to offer slightly lower pricing if there are a higher number of guests on the trip. Children under the age of 12 are 1/2 price.
Highlights and Inclusions for your week with us in Friuli Venezia Giulia
Upon your arrival, your hosts will pick you up at the airport (Venice or Trieste), and bring you to your picturesque Italian countryside accommodations near Buttrio known as "La città del Vino" where you will be staying for the duration of your vacation. After a warm welcome by your hosts, and some time to get settled, enjoy a visit to the cellars and vineyards of a nearby winery followed by a delectable Italian dinner.
Over the next amazing days you can look forward to sample the wonders of this exceptional region....
Walks in stunning locations & historical cities and charming villages visited
With its pristine forests, aqua colored lakes, national parks, from the gentler trails on the hills to the majestic peaks of the Friulian Dolomites, Friuli offers some wonderful walks allowing you to experience nature in its purest state. Because we average just 4 to 8 guests on each vacation, our footprint is small. We can take our time and blend in to the world around us.
- Enjoy guided walks with your host on one of the many hiking trails in the Julian Alps, Carnian Alps and Friulian Dolomites
- Visit Cividale del Friuli a UNESCO world heritage site founded by Julius Caesar in 50BC
- Tour the opulent rooms of Miramare Castle where Charlotte of Belgium and Maximilian of Hapsburg spent the happiest years of their lives
- Visit Gorizia and its Piazza della Transalpina, where you can still see traces of the local “Berlin Wall”, which divided the city between Italy and Slovenia
- Participate in a mosaic workshop at a world famous mosaic school in Spilimbergo, a charming medieval hamlet
- Take in a boat ride in Grado, a picturesque fishermen's village on an island, set amid the lagoon and the sea, a sort of “little Venice”
- Follow in the steps of the Romans in Aquileia including the magnificent Basilica, which contains the largest mosaic floor of the early Christian age in Western Europe
- Spend time in Valvasone, one of the most beautiful hamlets in Italy where an organist will play for you on an impeccably preserved Venetian sixteenth century organ
- Visit Trieste, the little Vienna by the sea
- Visit Udine, the historical capital of Friuli with what is considered to be the most beautiful piazza in all of Italy
WWI sites with Manlio as your local expert guide
Some of the most treacherous battles of WWI took place in the Italian mountains. Even amid the carnage of the war, the battles in the mountains and valleys bordering Slovenia and Austria, were like nothing the world had ever seen or has seen since. Manlio is an expert on these battles and sites, and he will take us into the past with his vivid descriptions. We will even have the privilege of viewing Manlio’s personal military museum.
- Pay your respects at Redipuglia's memorial, one of the largest in Europe: with the graves of 100,000 victims of the 3rdArmy Corps, that fought in this area during the First World War
- Gaze down on the Isonzo Valley from the San Michelle Heights
- Visit trenches and bunkers carved out of the mountainside
- Walk the astounding Grenadier’s Mule track carved into the edge of Monte Cengio
- Enjoy magnificent breath-taking Alpine scenery
- Examine the battles of the Isonzo
- Visit the excellent museum of the battle of Caporetto in Kobarid
Savor regional foods
The food of Friuli is as diverse as the region itself. Friuli also produces some of Italy's finest ingredients, particularly San Daniele ham and Montasio cheese, while the farmers’ markets of Gorizia and Pordenone are legendary. You'll get to know about the 'Via dei Sapori'—a group of the twenty finest restaurants in Friuli—not only eating their wonderful meals, but also visiting their suppliers: farmers markets, cheesemakers, prosciutto producers, vegetable growers, vignerons.
- Stop at one of the few laboratories in Italy where you can take a journey into the world of chocolate from seed to chocolate from seed to confection
- Visit a farm to taste the local cheese of the region
- Savor regional foods in small traditional trattorias, called osmize or frasca, that only the locals know about
- Embark on a sensory journey at a family-run Acetaia for a tour and tasting of balsamic vinegar made from Refosco and Friulan grates and aged in barrels of different precious woods
- Go truffle-hunting through the “Baredi Wood” for precious white truffle (seasonal)
- Visit a local Gubana producer to learn all about the typical Friulian cake
- Learn all about Grappa followed by a tasting at one of the oldest distilleries in Friuli
- Taste the famous D.O.P. San Daniele ham at a local producer
- Enjoy a hands-on cooking class with a local chef in a private home then share our meal in classic Italian style
- Enjoy the Habsburg café culture by sipping coffee in one of the historical cafes in Trieste, a meeting point of writers and intellectuals
Sip your way along the Strada del Vino (wine route)
Sip your way along the Strada del Vino, a wine route of Friuli's Super Whites Wine Area, which is an area focused on a small group of high-quality wineries. Here, you will find wines inspired with the tastes of Chardonnay, Malvasia Istriana, Riesling, Pinto Grigio, Sauvignon, Tocai and more—all inspired by the Celt, Roman and Austro-Hungarian influences in the region and resulting in a delicate and tasty recipe. Colli Orientali D.O.C. (controlled designation of origin) area produces among the most prestigious wines in the world.
- Partake in the grape harvest in the Colli Orientali D.O.C. (controlled designation of origin) area, that produces among the most prestigious wines in the world (for vacations in late August into September only)
Become our lifelong friends
We’re not just locals and Italy experts; we’re travelers of Italy, too! You’re our honorary guest. And we’re your fun and fabulous Italian friends. We get you, we know what you want to see and experience, and we know the best ways to make that happen! From the moment we welcome you on tour, to our final goodbyes, we’ll be there every step of the way. Get access to our insider knowledge, multi-lingual abilities, and personal relationships that allow you to experience Italy like it is your home.
Unpack only once
No early wake-up calls and changing hotels every other day. De-stress and relax, knowing you have the luxury of unpacking once and slowing down, so you can dive into Italy’s “La Dolce Vita”.
Local living and boutique hotels - Where you stay matters
All seven nights of your trip will be spent in a beautiful wine area of Friuli. We believe that where you sleep is an important part of your overall travel experience. We choose truly special and unique locations, that reflect authentic local charm.
To discuss the details and customization options, contact Audrey
Travels with Audrey recommends that you BOOK EARLY
Hotel availability may occasionally be an issue on Audrey’s unique small group tours of 4-8 guests. This is due to popularity and/or high season. A supplement may be applied if our normal set of hotels in each city is not available. Your hotels will be finalized about 90 days prior to the tour and will be available in your pre-tour documents mailed to you 60 days prior to your tour.
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