We enjoy chatting with our guests to give them some ideas on what is worth visiting and where to eat well in Friuli, to make sure that their holiday will be unforgettable.
Friuli Venezia Giulia has a remarkable number of natural parks and naturalistic oases. In this region you will also come across many places where nature is still untouched.
In Cornino, a small town near Forgaria in Friuli, you will have the chance to see the majestic griffon vultures and eagle owls. These animals can be observed in the Natural Reserve of Lake Cornino, which will astonish you thanks to the beautiful colours of its waters.
The beautiful Val d'Arzino offers many interesting sights not to be missed for nature lovers. The valley is crossed by the river Arzino in several places and it is characterized by massive erosion of the soil. A few hundred meters from the source, you can see a series of beautiful and refreshing waterfalls.
The waterfalls are surrounded by lush beech forests, alternating with large and deep green pools. In summer, the Arzino is the perfect setting for a refreshing bath in its emerald waters. Val D'Arzino is located mainly in the municipalities of Forgaria in Friuli and Vito d'Asio (Curnila, Pert, Casiacco).
In the area there are many sites worth visiting: the German Ossuary of “Pinzano al Tagliamento”, the “Ceconi Castle” located in Pielungo (Vito d'Asio) and the Archaeological Park of “Castle Raimondo”(Forgaria in Friuli).
A short distance away from our farm, in the locality of Cimano, there are water falls that are worth seeing all year round.
In Fagagna, the Quadris Oasis is home to a project to reintroduce the white stork and for the protection of the Ibis hermit. Today on almost all the chimneys of the area you can easily spot a stork nest and that is really a fascinating sight.
Between the City of San Daniele del Friuli and Ragogna there is a small lake, Lago di Ragogna. If you like to jog or ride a mountain bike this is the perfect place for you. The trail passes close to an ancient Jewish Cemetery.
Bordano is also worth seeing, it is renowned as the “town of butterflies”, thanks to its “butterfly graffiti” that embellish both private and public buildings in town. You can visit the Butterfly House, home to 400 specimens displayed in six showcases, from spring to the end of summer. Visitors may walk along along the entomological path in the natural habitat of a great number of live butterflies.
An hour away by the sea, near Grado, you can visit “Cona Island”. It is the perfect spot for birdwatchers and horse lovers. In this magic place, which includes fresh water marshes, beds of reeds, humid grasslands and woods, you will be able to watch many different kind of birds and admire Camargue horses, who live wild on the small island.
Discovering forgotten villages
To write this itinerary I have looked into a publication on the subject and chose the villages closer to our area. The municipality that has more abandoned villages or at least with very few inhabitants is Vito d'Asio in Val D'Arzino. Currently it houses a population of around 900 inhabitants and until 1940 it was a major tourist destination thanks to the sulphurous waters that you can still drink in the area. The towns that are uninhabited are Pert, Battaias, Fruinz and Cerdevol.
In the town of Pert in 1900 there were 82 inhabitants divided between Pert di Sotto, Middle and Above. Today it consists of two houses and no inhabitants. In Battaias in 1900 there were 95 inhabitants, and today there aren’t any left, but during the summer the village is repopulated; all the buildings have been restored and are in perfect condition. Even Fruinz was completely renovated in 1900 although there were 105inhabitants then and only 2 today! The last village on our itinerary is Cerdevol and here the current inhabitants are 5, while in 1900 there were 121.
Visiting this are you will notice the beauty of the landscape, the beech forests with undergrowth characteristic of karst, the river Arzino that has wedged for centuries between walls of rock, the forest Ceconi with 1,200 hectares of pine forest and the beautiful Castle Ceconi recently renovated.
The first caves you can visit are the Caves of Villanova in the municipality of Lusevera, located in the Val Torre between Tarcento and the Resia Valley, about 30 Km from our Agriturismo. The caves, which are seven kilometres long and are open to the public, are mostly viewable following special equipped and well-lit paths, such as the so-called “Branch of Heaven”, where you can see beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. The second day the itinerary goes to San Giovanni d'Antro in the Municipality of Pulfero, in the Natisone Valley. The Cave of San Giovanni d'Antro is a natural monument, historical and religious. Used as a fortification by the Romans and Lombards, it contains the Ipogea Church of Sts. John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, which houses a 1600 gilded wooden altar. It is accessed via a staircase with 115 steps carved into the rock. On the third day you should visit the green caves of Pradis, in the town of Clauzetto (Pn). The "Green Cave" of Pradis is so called for the enchanting emerald green that lights its walls. The cave boasts human and animals prehistoric visits.
Going down the 207 steps you will admire the forra, created by the river Cosa and, arriving in the end of the gorge, you will find a beautiful wood crucifix made by the master Gatto from Treviso.
This mountain's jewel is also a religious place dedicated to Madonna, represented in a bronze statue, and is where the Christmas Mass is celebrated.
Not far from the cave you could visit also the Museum of the Green Caves of Pradis, which houses a lot of palaeontological and archaeological finds from the caves and the territory.
Last but not least are the caves of “Grotta Gigante”, located in Sgonico near Trieste, one hour away from the agriturismo. Here you will find the largest cave open to the world. In fact, the Grotta Gigante in Sgonico could host the St. Peter's Basilica and it entered the Guinness Book of Records as the world's largest viewable cave in 1995. The cave can be accessed by a downhill tunnel.
First World War itinerary
There are many locations in Friuli where you can visit museums and trenches from the First World War. In this section we will focus on the ones closer to the agriturismo.
A good starting point is the museum dedicated to the First World War, located in Ragogna. It is one of the finest museums of WWI in Friuli. Once you have visited it, if the weather is fine, you can walk along the old battlefields in Ragogna, which include a breathtaking view of Friuli from the hill top of Mount Ragogna.
If you like to walk you can visit the imperial fortifications along the Tagliamento River and the routes of invasion used by the Germans to San Daniele, Forgaria and Cornino. You might also want to visit the Pinzano bridge and its surrounding war sites.
If you are interested and if you contact well in advance the town hall of Ragogna, it is possible to have a tour guide in the areas of interest. www.grandeguerra-ragogna.it
|Wine Itinerary |
The itinerary starts in the town of Nimis, which is 20 minutes away by car from the farm and is the home to the wine "Ramandolo". The name Ramandolo was once used to describe sweet wines from all around Friuli's Colli Orientali, but since the Ramandolo DOCG was created in 2001 the name may only be legally used for wines produced in Nimis and Tarcento, two comunes in the north of the Udine province. Ramandolo is the name of the neighbourhood in Nimis from which the wine style originated. This area is the oldest and best known vineyard in Friuli, which reaches up to Sedilis, near Tarcento. In the hamlet of Ramandolo, you can stop in a typical Osteria to taste homemade biscuits and the famous wine, and from here you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the area. The hills where the Ramandolo vineyards are planted are so steep that everything is done by hand, as it used to be at the time of Pope Gregory XII, when the Ramandolo was on the list of wines for the Council in 1409. The Ramandolo is one of two Friulian wines to have obtained DOCG, Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin, which is given to the best wines.
From Nimis continue south, towards Cividale del Friuli, and from there begins the "Collio" area that ends in the province of Gorizia where you can buy the best wines of Friuli, eg. in Spessa, Prepotto, Buttrio, Cormons, etc.
|Frescoes Itinerary |
|This itinerary is at your discretion, as the frescoes cycles in the area churches are innumerable and this is only a superficial listing. Interesting and close to Susans, the Church of San Giovanni in San Tommaso di Majano, built in 1180-1190, houses frescoes by Nicolò from Gemona. Also in Majano, in Comerzo the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Comerzo from 1300 is worth visiting. |
In San Daniele del Friuli in the Church of St. Antonio Abate you will find frescoes painted in 1500 by Martino da Udine, better known as Pellegrino da San Daniele who frescoed also the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Strada (1506). Other very interesting churches in S. Daniele are S. Maria della Fratta (1400) and the Church of the Castle. In the Cathedral there are works by Pordenone and Pomponio Amalteo.
In Gemona del Friuli the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is the symbol of the rebirth of the same Friuli from the earthquake of 1976 and inside you can admire the frescoes that were saved from the disastrous earthquake. More interesting is the building façade of the Cathedral with the gigantic statue of St. Christopher, nine statues representing the Epiphany and three rosettes. Also in Gemona the Shrine of St. Anthony is the oldest place of worship dedicated to the Saint.
The “All Saints Church” in the town of Ospedaletto houses third-century frescoes and in Nimis the parish church of “SS. Gervasio and Protasio”, also from the 14th century, is worth visiting.
You can admire the frescoes by Andrea Bellunello (1430/1494) in Spilimbergo Castle, which is the largest frescoed wall of the Region, while in the Cathedral of Spilimbergo you can admire the painted doors of the Organ by Giovanni Antonio de 'Sacchis, called Pordenone (1484 / 1539). He also frescoed churches of the districts of Vacile and Gaius as well as in Valeriano, a small town in Pinzano al Tagliamento, with its famous Nativity Church of the Beaten and its Parish Church.
Pordenone was Pomponio Amalteo’s father-in-law (1505/1588), and they worked together in Valvasone where they painted the doors of the church's Organ. Pomponio Amalteo worked in the area of Spilimbergo, in San Vito al Tagliamento (Church of St. Mary of the Beaten), Udine, Cividale, Gemona del Friuli, Tricesimo, Venzone and Tolmezzo. In Udine it is interesting to see the Cathedral and the Museum of the Castle, where the famous frescoes by Giambattista Tiepolo (1696/1770) in the Cathedral, the Oratory of Purity and in the Castle are preserved.
|Castles, what a passion! |
There is no lack of Castles in the area, and you will find even a road of castles and ham! The closest one is certainly the Castle of Susans, which is only 200 m from our farm.
The Colloredo di Monte Albano Castle dates back to the fourteenth century and is typically residential. Frescoed by Giovanni da Udine, it was the residence of Ippolito Nievo, a famous poet who wrote “the Confessions of an Italian”. Severely damaged by the 1976 earthquake, it has been partially reconstructed.
In Ragogna the castle was recently rebuilt with the chapel of the XI century.
In the comune of Rive d'Arcano, in the town of Arcano, you can see a medieval castle, which has retained its Guelph-styled crenellations, an original double tower with gates and a powerful keep decorated with a row of elegant late Romanesque two-light windows on top.
Next is the Castle of Villalta in the town of Fagagna: the castle has not lost its original configuration of fortification, with a high tower, equipped with belts Ghibelline battlements, drawbridges and loopholes.
The Castle in Cassacco belongs to the Lords of Montegnacco and Savorgnan. The current building dates back to the thirteenth century with some later changes. The feudal fights never destroyed the castle, which has therefore preserved most of its structures. In the nearby town of Spilimbergo, also famous for its Mosaic School, the Castle is a complex of buildings from various periods. It includes the Palace painted by Andrea Bellunello between 1469 de 1475.
In Val d'Arzino, of considerable interest is the Ceconi Castle in the town of Vito d'Asio, surrounded by a 1,200-hectare forest. It was built in the late 1800s in "Ghibelline" style with interesting frescoes on the outside walls by Count Giacomo Ceconi, a famous entrepreneur who built at his own expense, among other things, the street from Anduins to Pielungo. You will have the chance to visit many private castles, thanks to the “Consortium for the Protection of Historical Castles of Friuli Venezia Giulia”, which organizes guided tours and open days twice a year.