Il Sole24 Ore scrive del Friuli e di Udine “a land of storms and primroses”

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Pubblichiamo un articolo a cura del Sole 24 Ore molto interessante dove di parla del Friuli e di Udine

Friuli represents Italy but also Europe, mixing its Italian DNA with central European spirit. It is as if all of central Europe, from the Danube to the Black Sea, can be found in a small area of land. Writer Ippolito Nievo expressed it best in the 1800s, “Friuli is a small summary of the whole universe, alpine, flat and marshy in 70 miles from north to south.” A compendium of history, landscape and culture. The geography was generous (alps, hills and vast flat lands all the way to the shiny Adriatic) and history too. So many have passed through this Northeastern angle from the Celts, Romans, Longobards, Venetians (the Serenissima dominated from 1420 to 1797), to the Turks, Austrians, and, lastly, from 1866 on, Italy. For this reason, travelling across Friuli is almost like taking a trip with a lot of detours, but all within a small area that the poet Pierpaolo Pasolini beautifully defined, as “a land of storms and primroses.”
One last clarification: the region at the extreme northeastern strip of Italy is Friuli-Venezia Giulia, whose capital is Trieste. In the following lines, I will talk about Friuli, part of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, with its capital Udine.
9am breakfast
One could start at Spilimbergo with a stop at the Pasticceria Nova, famous around the world for its Sweet of Spilimbergo, a light pastry with an almond cream heart that can be wrapped up and taken home. Then move on to the city’s Medieval centre with low homes and narrow streets, and two towers before heading to the Duomo with its frescoed apse from the middle of the 1300s and a plaque reminding that Emperor Carlo V passed through here as a guest of the count’s family in Spilimbergo. Beside the Duomo you will find the castle with Palazzo Dipinto. Save some time also to visit the Mosaic School, which draws on artisan traditions originating in Aquileia. Every year youngsters from around the world come to Spilimbergo to learn this ancient art. If you want to see a real expert, however, who has evolved the mosaic tradition to embrace both contemporary art and design, then you must schedule a visit to Giulio Candussio.
10am art and a (very early) wine tasting
With Spilimbergo behind and the hills of Western Friuli in front of you, go to Valeriano and after a stop at the Chiesa dei Battuti for the beautiful Nativity by Il Pordenone, the most famous friulano painter of the 1400-1500s, stop by Emilio Bulfon’s winery, which produces wines from times gone by: Sciaglin, Piculìt neri, Cianorôs. From Valeriano, to Pinzano, all the way to San Daniele of Friuli, the capital of prosciutto crudo (raw ham). A stop is necessary at Ai Bintars for a rich plate of prosciutto. In San Daniele don’t miss the Guarneriana Library. Created in 1466 to accept the bequest of 160 codices by fifteenth-century humanist Guarniero d’Artegna. If you have the good fortune to meet the director, Angelo Floramo, the visit will be a veritable voyage of discovery in humanistic art.
11am where men overcame the quake
Point your car (or, why not, your bike, since Friuli is perfect for two wheels) towards the north to arrive in just a few minutes in Venzon e and Gemona, cities, like many others in the area, that were destroyed by the 1976 earthquake that caused one thousand deaths. Today Gemona with its Duomo dominated by St. Christopher and Venzone with its gothic Duomo and its perfectly rebuilt Medieval walls are a joy to see and are the pride of the Friuli people who were able to pick up the pieces after this tragedy. Friuli, with its motto “Fasìn di bessôi” (let’s do it ourselves), is an architectural masterpiece dominated by order and by respect for antique lines. After the earthquake, every small town, every parish church, every building was rebuilt, showing that even in Italy public funds can be used honestly and successfully.
12pm a “spritz” before lunch
From the land where the Friuli feared losing it spirit, one can return towards the flat lands, to Udine, a city that goes back to 983 B.C. In the center, at Bar Contarena, surrounded by Liberty mosaics, sample a spritz, Northeastern Italy signature cocktail made from white wine or Prosecco, bitter and sparkling water or seltzer water. Then you can get lost in the streets of the center, walk down via Mercatovecchio and arrive in piazza San Giacomo, which resembles Venice, or Vicenza or Padua, with its fruit and vegetable sellers and where you can chat about the Udinese (more than just a soccer team for the region). On these streets, you may just happen to enter Zagolin a traditional shop selling all types of hats, or the Antica Drogheria in via Aquileia, to find the impossible and every gourmet delight or how about Tessitura Carnica, where one can purchase ceramics or fabrics created by the skilled culture of Carnia ( the mountainous zone in the region). There’s even the Legatoria Moderna, where bindery is still an art.
13pm time for lunch
Not even Italians take seriously the culinary culture of Friuli, but they are wrong. First of all, good places to eat in Udine are certainly not lacking: the Osteria alla Ghiacciaia with its tables near the artificial canal and the weeping willow is a spectacle; the Osteria ai Barnabiti or the Osteria Pierimortadele, a true institution, or the Trattoria ai Frati, where Friulana cuisine triumphs. Start with bean soup o cjarsons (filled pasta in which sweet and salty meld together thanks to the stuffing that may contain raisins, chocolate, cinnamon, spinach, chives, ricotta cheese, marmalade, rum, grappa, parsley, dry cookies); to continue with musèt (pork sausage) with the brovada (turnips left to soak in wine and then cooked) or frico (a cake made of potatoes, onions, melted Montasio cheese) with polenta. All christened with good wine, not lacking here, especially if white and from the Collio area.
15pm Udine, Tiepolo’s city
Piazza Libertà should be the starting point for anyone interested in getting to know Udine. Here at the foot of the Castle (go all the way to the top of the hill, the view won’t disappoint you), with the beautiful, and very Venetian, Loggia del Lionello, to continue towards the Duomo and the Purity Oratory, a treasure trove from the end of the 1700s where Giovanni Battista Tiepolo left an Assumption that represents the height of his second Udine period. This Venetian painter loved Udine. Patriarch Dionisio Dolfin called him to the city in 1725 to paint his palace. The Gallery of the Patriach Palace (with Jacob’s Dream, The Sacrifice of Isaac, Hagar in the Wilderness,The Three Angels Appearing to Abraham and The Angel Appearing to Sarah) is a triumph of beauty and of the power of expression, without forgetting the Red Room, in the Patriach Palace and the works at the Sacrament Chapel in the Duomo, the frescoes at the Castle, two paintings in the Caiselli Palace, the two works for the Chiesa dei Filippini; at last, but not least, the Purity Oratory, where Tiepolo worked together with his son Giandomenico.
17pm Longobardo Temple and Cividale
Fifteen kilometers from Udine (in Friuli everything is close by) one can arrive in Cividale (the antique Forum Iulii, Julius Caesar’s forum) that in 568 King Alboino chose as the city in which to establish the Ducato dei Longobardi in Italy. Stop at the Caffè Longobardo in piazza Paolo Diacono for a cup of coffee with a slice of gubana (a typical dessert in this area) or with some strucco (cookies filled with the same pasta as the gubana and, if you want to take them home, stop at the Pasticceria Ducale). Walk by the Medieval homes in Cividale, with a view of the Natisone River and of the Devil’s Bridge. In Cividale, in addition to the Archeological Museum, there is the Longobardo Temple, not to be missed (it’s a Unesco world heritage site). Though the original destination of this small building is not known, there is no doubt about the beauty of its frescoes and of the sculptures from the middle of the 8th century. There are stone inlays, mysterious female figures, and grape leaves and clusters that speak to a people who exalt the word of Christ. The elegant forms and lines are reproduced as precious contemporary jewelry pieces by the Bottega Longobarda.
8pm dinner time
The day can finish at Stregna, a handful of homes before the border with Slovenia. This angle of the world resembles a nativity scene. At Sale e Pepe, Teresa will offer traditional dishes for a truly delicious experience for the palate in rooms around the fogolâr (the fireplace). Teresa’s inventions are worth it as are the offerings on the wine list, rich in all there is to offer. And, once you have finished your dinner, if there is a full moon to wish you a good night, you certainly can’t deny that the Friulani have offered you an unforgettable day. This should put to rest once and for all the cliché that this is a land unto itself and (too) reserved. It’s just the Central European DNA.

11pm time to rest
Friuli is not an area where you will find large and luxurious hotels but, in contrast, there is a certain form of hospitality that has become more common over the last years characterized by structures offering only a few, well-cared-for rooms and rich breakfasts. In Valeriano, the Bulfon family winemakers offer hospitality in their bed and breakfast; in Spilimbergo there are two elegant B&B, the La Macia and La Torre; in Cividale it’s worth noting the Aurora and La Casa di Matilde. In Udine, there are two good hotels in the center: the Ambassador Palace and the Astoria and outside of the city there is Là di Moret and Il Castello di Buttrio.

P.S. travelling around you will hear a language spoken that you will have difficulty in recognizing. It’s not Italian, not Slovene, nor German. It’s the Friulano language, the “marilenghe” , the mother tongue, with a Rhaeto-Romance origin (like Ladin), spoken by 600,000 people who can boast something truly important: the Bible, the book of all books, was translated into their language from the first to the last book. A victory for a minority language.

Articolo tratto dal Sole 24 Ore a cura di Maria Luisa Colledani: http://www.italy24.ilsole24ore.com/art/panorama/2014-12-05/friuli-a-land-of-storms-and-primroses-bridging-the-gap-between-italy-and-mitteleuropa-141536.php?uuid=ABUp3eMC

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