No trip to Friuli can be complete without an extended stop in Cividale Del Friuli. Along with Aquilea this city is among Italy’s most historical dating to the hight of the Roman Empire as the most important control point for eatern looking Roman imperialism.
Stratigicaly situated in the foot hills of the Carnian Alps, Cividale continues to be the most powerfull perch over this vast region. Julius Ceaser himself lived in Cividale, a strong testimony to the prowess of this most ancient city. The walled city is disected by the Natisone river which can be crossed by the Ponte Del Diavolo (devil’s bridge) which leads to the Piazza Del Duomo. Medieval winding streets lead to suprizing piazzas around every corner.
Cividale is noted for a constant breeze comming of the Alps cooling hot summer days and bringing a night time chill that can be countered with a Storica Grappa (made by Domenis…the best grappa in the world) and a warm slice of gubana. Surrounded by the wine meccas of Spessa..Prepotto..Butrrio…Manzano…Cividale is the small city capitol of the Colli Orientali. All of these wine towns are a short bike ride away and all the best wines of the zone can be tasted in Enoteca DeFeo in the heart of Historic Cividale.
Bikes can be rented at one of two shops and a ten kilometer ride up the alps will bring you to Castelmonte, a vibrant and living midieval monistary with a commanding view of the entire region of Friuli leading to Grado (Roman port city) the Adriatic and on clear days you can see Venice. Sip an expresso on the terrace on one of the many perchs with increadible views as the sound of chanting monks reverberates through the winding pathways leading to the Duomo on top. On the way back ride or walk thru the winding vinyard hills of Gagliano (Fraz di Cividale) and take in Italy’s premier white wine vinyards.