Friuli, a mountain of hospitality

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Friuli, from Venice to the highest mountains in the northeast

Friuli is favored with a perfect climate for viticulture. And that started our interest in Friuli, one of Italy’s 20 regions (see map). It was the incredibly elegant white wines, we were served. So we wanted to know more: And it was especially the Pinot Grigio grapes and the wines (Pinot Gris) that aroused the curiosity. What does the area look like, what is there to see and experience? – Knowing that all of Italy in all its diversity has something special to offer. It just needs to be identified. So here it was “Pinot Grigio”. Let’s grab that handle and open the door.

The road to Friuli

For all on vacation,  who like the freedom of driving and possibly come from the South, maybe Tuscany and Rome, it is an affordable trip through the Dolomites (but takes time) or the “classic way” is to spend a few days in Venice and then drive to Friuli by autostrada or vice versa. They are close to each other.

In just a 1/2 hour from Venice, it starts to thin out significantly in traffic, and tourists in numbers can no longer seen in the rearview mirror. You are on your own adventure in Italy. You are close to the high mountains of the Dolomites and Slovenia and good experiences will take place.

Floden ved Cividale del Friuli

River at Cividale del Friuli

Friuli is self-governing and has his own language a bit like in Trentino where German and Italian mix quite harmoniously and intelligible, so you probably understand nothing. Only approx. 1.3 million residents speak the language. A charm in itself, because you can easily do with English or Italian.

You are at a crossroad in central Europe. An incredibly exciting area with sandy beaches and private lagoons along the Adriatic coast one moment going to the highest mountains the next. Here you will find enticing, especially white wines (there they were again) that, with vines in the heights growing on the lower mountain, produce endearing wines. By the way, is very similar to the Austrian, perhaps because terroir is very similar to minerals in the height of the mountains. They are accompanied by a very qualified local kitchen, and you relax in a blessed, undisturbed area,  if that is what you are looking for. Otherwise you have to go to Trieste.

Trieste den gamle charmerende militære havneby

Trieste near Slovenia, charming old-world atmosphere

You will undoubtedly also want to visit Trieste, the charming but also military port city, which was Italy’s protection against the once so troubled eastern Europe. Trieste also forms a border with Slovenia, which we will write more about here too, and that is coming! Trieste has an almost Vienna-like feel, including Sachertorte, fine, classic cafes, wherein the old days before the iPad, authors sat and wrote books like Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce did, or read newspapers and books before a walk on the beach. And then you might choose to reach the border to Austria.  You have now very likely formed the first impression of Friuli.

Ernest Hemingway tømmer skoene for sand

Ernest Hemingway empties his shoes of sand, possibly not knowing it would be an iconic momentdreams

Friuli and Hemingway. A love affair

Famous American author Ernest Hemingway traveled to Friuli many times and has used Friuli in his famous novel Farewell to Arms about the First World War, where Hemingway volunteered as an 18-19-year-old ambulance driver. Almost impossible to imagine how deep an impression it must have left to see so much misery at such a young age, but Hemingway had the ability to translate reality and impression into the literature of the world and perhaps writing was his therapy. He loved Italy to pieces. In particular Pinato and the surrounding area, what is now a well-known holiday area including Lignano often visited by Hemingway. Back then nothing it was nothing but sand, blue sea and big dreams of a future. The city of Pinato was part of a vision of a spiral city, now realized and famous. The photo shows Hemingway in the area with the shoe full of sand. He also loved to go duck hunting in Tagliamento, and he had a crush on a beautiful 19-year-old Italian girl (remember he himself was a youngster at the time). It inspired the novel Across the river and into the trees. Today you can find the café he frequented and visit a beautiful park that Lignano named after him and generously offered him to stay in anytime. Hemingway’s memory is still alive in Friuli.

The vineyards of Buttrio in a summer day. Collio Friulano, Udine Province, Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Italy

The vineyards of Buttrio on a summer day. Collio Friulano, Udine Province, Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Italy

Next stop Udine

Udine is quite undiscovered and quite beautiful, it is the next stop on the trip in Friuli, but first, we need a glass of wine.

The sun goes down in the vineyards of Friuli Venezia-Giulia

The sun goes down in the vineyards of Friuli Venezia-Giulia

Wines in Friuli

Thank you for your patience. Here are the promised Friuli wine Tips:

Friuli produces some of Italy’s best white wines. The local top version is called Friulano, the most complex and mineral, then Malvasia and Picolit, the smallest production of the better known white wines from Friuli are German or Austrian Spätlese. Producing wine is not as huge up here in Friuli as in Tuscany or Burgundy. One enoteca worth starting for tasting and wine knowledge is Cormòns. Here you can enjoy over 100 local vines, so we’re off to a good start.

Enoteca Cormons in Friuli

If you want to see a real vineyard and close to Trieste then it could be with Renato Keber, who has an ultra-modern vineyard with Pinot Bianco and Ribolla Gialla, almost 10 years. The Trieste wine route, because there it is, leads you to the mountains and her pit stop could be Cividale and Vignaioli Specogna, which has the most beautiful views of Colli Orientali, Friuli’s perhaps best-known vineyards on the eastern slopes. It’s here you get the Pinot Grigio you’ve been waiting for so long. In addition, skin and local cheeses and not an eye are dry. Friuli, now we are friends.

Agriturismo Relais Russiz Superiore

Agriturismo Relais Russiz Superiore

 

Where should I stay in Friuli and where to go in Italy?

Here is a suggestion. Agriturismo Relais Russiz Superiore in Friuli Italy gives you a typical and beautiful wine oriented experience in the countryside, where you can follow the wine production too.

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