Friuli and the Veneto: Spring 2019
Wine and Prosecco in Northern Italy
Our trip starts near Italy’s border with Slovenia: welcome to Friuli, a jewel of a region in northeastern Italy! Our home for the next five nights is in a lovely small hotel in elegant Udine, near the rolling hills known as “Collio.” A highlight during our stay will be a visit to Trieste, the regional capital. Trieste’s geographic location has resulted in a historical heritage and a diversity of cultural influences unmatched by other Italian cities.
Our stay in Friuli will give us ample opportunity to:
- Chat with our Italian guide while strolling along the cliffs above the Adriatic Sea;
- Sample loads of local dishes in untouristy places;
- Have lunch in an elegant Venetian villa;
- Sample Italy’s finest white wines in the nearby hills; and
- Visit the magnificent Basilica of Aquileia. Many would say the mosaics here surpass even those of Ravenna. Certainly together with Ravenna, Aquileia is the most important archeological site in Italy.
This trip offers an excellent value and is packed with great food, wine, art and scenery!
Day 1 – Arrival in the City of Frescoes: Udine
Arrival in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region and accommodation in a 3*** hotel in double room with private bath.
In the afternoon, we enjoy a visit of Udine with a private guide: walking through the historic center and seeing fabulous frescos by Tiepolo. From Piazza Libertà, the center of historic Udine, walk up to see the architecture and the beautiful view from the city’s Castle. Follow the typical streets down to the main square San Giacomo and then over to the Cathedral. There, visit the “Oratorio della Purità” with its splendid golden frescos by Tiepolo.
We’ll stop to enjoy an aperitif in one of the glamour wine-bars of the city. In the evening, we enjoy a themed-menu dinner in a local Osteria. Lodging for the next 5 nights: Albergo al Vecchio Tram D
Day 2 – Travel in the Land of Gold and Vines
Morning departure after breakfast to the Doc Colli Orientali del Friuli area, to visit a top winery of this most famous area for Italy’s white wines. We’ll enjoy an excursion through the terraced vineyard, stopping to admire the panorama. The guide will explain the production process, the drying methods and bottling of Picolit DOCG. Picolit is a delicious and very rare white wine, featuring a pure gold color, which becomes almost amber as it ages. The scent reminds you of a honeycomb full of wildflower honey. Light lunch in the winery follows.
Later, we continue to Cividale del Friuli for a guided visit of this charming town that spans both sides of the Natisone River. In the heart of Cividale, where the golden carriage of the Longobard Dynasty is thought to be buried, you can find the house of historian Paolo Diacono. Your artistic historic walk will also take you through the splendid antique Forum Julii. Cividale is also gastronomically rich, which we’ll discover today when we taste the traditional local pastry, „la Gubana“, at a typical bakery.
Time to rest at the hotel before dinner in a characteristic Enoteca, with typical Friulan dishes and the best wines of the Colli Orientali del Friuli, Collio and Carso regions. B, light L, D
Day 3 – Archeological Splendors of Aquileia
Morning departure for Aquileia, the most important archaeological site in the region. Founded by the Romans, Aquileia reached its peak of glory in the first century AD. Later, it was a very important center for the spread of Christianity and the seat of the patriarchate of Aquileia. The entrancing mosaic floors of the basilica have only been restored in the last decade. Their origin – sacred or profane? – has been an ongoing debate among scholars for decades.
Delicious lunch in a renowned fish restaurant, with a menu of local seafood specialities combined with typical regional wines. Leisurely re-entry to Udine this afternoon, with time to explore the city on your own. Free night for dinner in town. B, L
Day 4 -Passion for Craft
Morning guided visit and tasting at a prosciutto factory in San Daniele del Friuli. San Daniele ham differs substantially from its cousin in Parma, and must be cured in this particular climate where Adriatic winds meet the foothills of the Alps. Time for lunch on your own in the charming town of San Daniele at mid-day.
In the afternoon, we’ll gather for a “small appreciation wine course”. In a local winery, together with an expert oenologist, you will discover and understand the differences among the typical wines of this region. The learning will be followed by a tasting.
Dinner in a renowned restaurant this evening. B, D
Day 5 – The Adriatic Coastline and Trieste
Travel south to the Adriatic Coast and the Castle of Miramare, built by Ferdinando Massimilliano of Hasburg. The castle represents the synthesis of the romanticism of the Austrian Hungarian 1800’s and is situated on jutting rocks, appearing to merge right into the sea. We’ll enjoy a stroll through the grounds (optional self-guided visit of interior), followed by lunch in an excellent fish restaurant in Trieste.
Later, we’ll embark on a walking tour of Trieste, the Region’s capital. Ambling through the streets of Trieste is the best way to discover its numerous attractions. In the past, Trieste was the largest port in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Today, the city maintains its central European atmosphere with many Art Nouveau buildings that face the sea in Piazza Unità. Trieste’s unique character also emerges in the city’s food and drink and its numerous lively cafes. We’ll be sure to stop at one before our dinner in town. B, L, D
Day 6 – Prosecco Land
Breakfast in the hotel and departure westward toward the land of Prosecco. Arrival in the Veneto region and visit of a 16th century villa still inhabited by the noble Passi di Presipulo family. Light lunch on the property, then short transfer to the city of Treviso. One of Claudia’s favorite towns, lively Treviso is known as “little Venice” for all its canals and plethora of Gothic architecture. We’ll have a guided visit, plus free time to shop and even try the famous “tramezzini” sandwiches and our first of many glasses of prosecco. Late afternoon arrival, check-in and dinner at our 4**** hotel for the next 2 nights. Our views are fabulous — uninterrupted panoramas of the Prosecco hills. Lodging for the next 2 nights: Ca’ del Poggio (Romantic Rooms with view) B, L, D
Day 7 – Prosecco Day
Rich breakfast with homemade pastries and made-to-order omelettes start the day off right! Travel along the charming, hilly “strada del prosecco”, where we’ll have the chance to visit 2 or 3 different producers of this most popular beverage. The day will include a stop at a historic mill as well as the peaceful medieval abby of Follina, and a local cheese tasting. Back to the hotel in time to pack and enjoy our final dinner together. B, light L, D
Day 8 – Departure for Venice
Breakfast and transfer to Venice. Consider continuing with a post-tour extension in this fascinating city. B
*B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner provided
Let us plan a few delightful days in Venice after your relaxing sojourn in the countryside