Author: Filip Knežić
Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
The last Doge of Venice, Ludovico Manin, retired to this area at the end of the eighteenth century when the Venetian Republic fell to the blows of Napoleon Bonaparte. These days, whoever visits Villa Manin in the province of Udine, detects a hint of twilight in the air, almost as if the memory of the old gentleman who came here to pass the autumn of his life was influencing the visitors and inducing a melancholic mood in them. But this is a pleasant sensation, that leads to a more intimate and intense kind of aesthetic enjoyment.
The same sensation recurs all over this beautiful and severe border region, where almost every town boasts a museum (those of Udine, Tolmezzo, Pordenone, Cividale del Friuli, Gorizia, and Aquileia are particularly important and interesting), and is able to surprise with the plurality of architectural styles (in the centre of Udine the Venetian Gothic of the Palazzo del Comune faces the beautiful twentieth-century Art Deco Caffé Contarena) and cultural attractions (at Udine again, there are galleries of historic and modern art).
Highly suggestive is the Basilica in Aquileia, now a small town but once an important city of the Roman Empire.
Trieste, the most "middle-European" of Italian cities, rich in history and culture, with its important ancient and modern artistic heritage, has been loved and represented by great literary figures (James Joyce, Italo Svevo, Umberto Saba and many others).
Grado, in the province of Gorizia, is the favourite of many tourists who regularly return for its sea and particularly healthy climate.
(Contents courtesy of: ENIT, National Italian Tourist Board)