Friuli Venezia Giulia is the place where Italy, Slovenia and Austria meet, not only physically but also around a table. You will be stunned by the great variety of flavours you can taste here! The regional cuisine is a collection of different inspirations from the recipes of Italian, Slavic and Germanic traditions, as well as from a wealth of products grown in this fertile land. Get your napkins ready for a real training of your taste buds!
It may seem impossible that Karstic soil, so harsh and dry, can offer so many tasty surprises. Trust us and follow our guide: up on the hills, where a fierce Balkan wind meets the mild Adriatic breezes, you will fill your eyes with beautiful colours and… your mouth with a wealth of flavours. Our tour will take you to visit wineries carved into rock and meet oil producers. This red-coloured earth has given for centuries a berry-scented ruby wine called Terrano, as well as fresh elegant white Vitovska and Malvasia. Next to the terraced vineyards exposed to the sea breeze, the oil groves have thrived since pre-Roman times to offer a special quality of olive, the main ingredient of Olio Tergeste DOP. The villagers of the Karst also draw great cheese from cow, sheep and goat milk and get them ripe down in the caves or flavoured with local wild plants. And if you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss a taste of the local honey, a unique blend of scents borrowed from the varied flora of the Karst.
San Daniele del Friuli – ham at home
Can you guess how much patience and love lies hidden behind a slice of San Daniele ham? Follow our guide in a journey into the secrets of ham curing in this small town nestled in the moraine hills of Friuli. A nice stroll in the old town will reveal a treasure trove of culture and arts: the Biblioteca Guarneriana with its precious ancient books and manuscripts, an imposing 18th century Cathedral, breathtaking frescoes enshrined in the small Church of Sant’Antonio Abate, known as the “Sixtine Chapel of Friuli”. After learning about the cultural heritage lying behind the craft of ham-curing, get your buds ready for a taste of this world-known treat. Breathe deep in and you’ll soon understand that the site enjoys a special microclimate generated by the Adriatic breeze mixing with the northern winds in the Tagliamento valley. We guess now: you are mouth-watering!
Cividale del Friuli – the eastern hills and the valleys of Natisone river
Our guided tour in Cividale, now part of UNESCO World Heritage, will take you throughout narrow pebble-paved streets reminiscent of its medieval past, into the precious Monastery of Santa Maria in Valle to explore the renown Tempietto Longobardo, to the Cathedral and Christian Museum. The tour then continues in the neighbouring territory, a mix of valleys beautifully carved by the Natisone river and of sweet sloping hills covered in vineyards. You’ll get the unique chance to taste beautiful wines and grappa, along with wholesome cheese, ham and salami. The local cuisine is a rich blend of Italian and Slavic traditions, as the villages nestled in the valleys have been inhabited by Slovenian people for centuries. Spoil your palate with sweetness and have a slice of the local desserts, the gubana above all!
Gorizia and the Collio area – a dip in history and wine
Say Gorizia and you’ll have evoked a wealth of memories and myths that our guide will illustrate to you while you go around the city centre. The myth of the “Nice of Austria”, a favourite resort for the Habsburg family and court in the 18th and 19th century, is now whispered by its wide boulevards and elegant palaces. The touching memory of the “Wrecked City” heavily affected by bomb shelling during the Great War will be revived under your eyes in the Museo della Grande Guerra. The ghost of “Italy’s Berlin” still haunts Piazza Transalpina, the emblem of a city halved by the iron curtain in the aftermath of the Second World War. This border area, eventually pacified, will give you the chance to visit a winery of the renowned Collio area to learn everything about the craft of wine-making from vineyard to cellar and, obviously, taste its great wines ideally matched with the local desserts, presnitz and putizza.
Spilimbergo – a mosaic of stone and flavours
A stroll along the charming town of Spilimbergo will plunge you into the Middle Ages. On your way, you’ll meet a seven-eyed Gothic Cathedral and discover its hidden treasures, the fresco-painted buildings of an ancient Castle, imposing towers anda maze of narrow streets lined by palaces. Have a stop in a typical tavern to sip a glass of local wine and then follow your guide into the amazing Scuola dei Mosaicisti to see students at work and admire their beautiful mosaics. An ancient art is brought back to life under your eyes. The tour will please your taste buds too: a typical tavern will teach you about the regional products, including Montasio and Asìno cheese, and a whole range of salamis and cold meats.