Friuli Venezia-Giulia

This forgotten northeast corner of Italy marks the border with Slovenia, a region of tame Alps, rolling hills, and Adriatic beaches. Its culture lies at the crossroads of Italy, Yugoslavia, and Austria—the Adriatic port city of Trieste was once the main port for Vienna and the Hapsburgs, and has the coffeehouses to prove it.

The Friuli-Venezia Giulia is wedged between the Veneto and Slovenia in the extreme northeastern corner of Italy—in fact, part of it trickles down the Adriatic Sea's eastern coast to the beginnings of the Istrian Peninsula, putting Trieste practically due east of Venice across the water.

Trieste is, in fact, much more of a crossroads city than simply the captial of an Italian region, as much Austro-Hungarian as Italian—little surprise, as it was built as a port for the Hapsburg Empire. Its foods, traditions, and history are a mix of Italian, Hugarian, Austrian, and Slovenian.

I would argue that there is really as much of Slovenia as Italy in the Fruli.

The industrial suburbs of Trieste blend right into Slovenian factory towns (though keep driving, as within a few kiolmeters the cmmerce gives way to the remarkable and worthy coast and countryside of the Istrian Peninsula).

The best wines grown on the pre-Alp slopes to the north are fruity Tocais.

There's even a town called Gorizia that is neatly divided in half by the intenraitonal boundary (it's called Nova Goricia on the Slovenian side, and while border crossings are blasé today, there are lots of reminders of the decades when the Iron Curtain bisected this small town).

Not that you have to go to Slovenia for a good time. the main indland city of Udine has Renaissance architecture and Tiepolo frescoes.

The mountain town of Cividale dei Friuli preserves remnants of cultures from the Celts through the Lombards, including medieval Lombard churches carved into the cliffsides.

And near the coast closer to the Veneto side of things, the Roman ruins and and mosaics of Aquileia tempt those of an archeological bent.

Sorry. Nothing fits that criteria.

 
 

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