Off the Beaten Path in Italy: The Friuli Venezia Giulia Region

Friuli Venezia Giulia borders Austria, Slovenia and the Adriatic Sea. One of Italy’s least touristy regions, it’s home to the stunning Dolomite mountains, vineyards, beaches, and the fascinating Slovenian-Croatian-Austrian-Italian cultural mix. This little-known corner of Italy has its own language, a distinctive local cuisine, and a host of world-famous wines grown on rolling hillside vineyards.

Specialty Events

The Barcolana, a world-renown international sailing regatta, takes place every year in the Gulf of Trieste in October.  “Barcolana week” has been in the Guinness World Records since 2018 as the largest regatta in the world with 2,689 boats registered.

Cantine Aperte “Open Cellars” (held in May) unites wine lovers and winemakers as they interact during initiatives organized in the cellars, at wine events such as dinner/lunch with the winemaker or open cellars plate, and while savoring unforgettable local cuisine.

Aria di Friuli Venezia Giulia (held in August) in San Daniele del Friuli (the city of ham) features tasting workshops, food and wine stands, guided city tours, and outdoor activities as well as other events along the Wine and Flavors Route.


Lignano Sabbiadoro has three zones: the historic town centre, Lignano Pineta with lovely gardens, and Lignano Riviera on the waterfront boasting eight kilometers of sandy beach, equipped with umbrellas, chairs, bars and restaurants, which has been awarded the coveted Blue Flag for cleanliness and services. 

Hike the Friulian Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage site which is considered the most unspoiled of the entire Dolomite group. It has multiple terrains for leisurely strolls, meadow hikes, challenging climbs, high-altitude treks, coastline paths, and a 170-year-old, 115 feet tall white spruce along the Sentieri delle Acque.

Cividale del Friuli, near the Slovenian border, has its historic devil’s bridge straddling the Natisone river, narrow cobblestone streets, characteristic medieval homes, the Lombard temple, the Celtic Hypogeum, and Palu di Livenza — one of the oldest Paleolithic sites in northern Italy.

Culinary Delights

Montasio cheese — originally produced in the 13th century by Benedictine monks at their monastery in the Giulia Alps — is now widely produced throughout the Friuli region in strict compliance with precise requirements.

Taste the handmade, gently smoked ham from the Petris family in Sauris (since 1862) or from the D’Osvaldo family in Cormons (since 1940).

Italy’s third most important quality wine region, after Piedmont and Tuscany, Friuli-Venezia Giulia is acclaimed for its fragrant, elegant whites.