Udine – Off the Beaten Path in Italy

Udine Palazza d'Aronco, Friuli, ItalyGuest Post By: Margie Miklas

Udine is a city in the Friuli-Venezi Giulia region of Italy, the farthest northeastern section of Italy and not commonly considered to be a tourist region. A little over a million people live in Friuli and they have backgrounds derived from Italian, Slavic and other central European countries.

They speak Friulian as well as some Venetian dialects. Up until 1866, less than 150 years ago, this region which borders Austria to the north and Slovenia to the east, was under Austrian rule. Although Trieste is the capital of the region, Udine is the historic capital and most important city, offering many interesting sights with a connection to Venice. Udine is an easy day trip from Venice, yet its buildings bear a striking similarity to Venetian architecture.

Udine Piazza della Liberta, Friuli, ItalyPiazza della Libertà

Since Udine was defeated in the 15 th century by the Venetians, many of the buildings in the historic area have a very strong resemblance to the architecture from Venice. This is apparent especially in Piazza della Libertà, in the pink-stoned Loggia del Leonello, also called Palazzo del Comune. This is Udine’s town hall and looks very much like the famous Doge’s Palace in Piazza San Marco in Venice.

Behind the Loggia del Leonello is the Palazzo D’Aronco where civil weddings are sometimes held in several of the large rooms.

Udine Clock Tower, Friuli, ItalyAcross the piazza, the Torre dell’Orologio or clock tower appears very familiar with its blue face and gold sundial, looking very much like an exact replica of the one in St. Mark’s Square. You can even watch the bronze Moorish characters come alive on the hour at the top.

The clock tower is part of the other historic building in the piazza, the Portico of San Giovanni. This 16 th century building is known for its grand arch and other arched columns surrounding it. Formerly a chapel, it is now a war memorial. The piazza also features a column with a sculpture of the lion of St Mark, called Leone di San Marco, and the 16  th century fountain by Giovanni da Carrara, a Bergamo architect.

Udine - Arco Bollani, Friuli, ItalyArco Bollani and Castle

Located next to the Loggia di San Giovanni is the Arco Bollani. This 16 th century stone arch designed by Palladio and is the grand entrance to a steep walkway up an 85 foot hill. Along the way is the Porticato del Lippomano, a beautiful 15 th century portico built above the walls.  Once at the top of the hill the views of the city are totally worth the climb.

At the top of this hill is the location of the  16  th century castle which has been home to the Civic Museums since 1906.  Udine has many museums including the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Photography and the Ancient Art Gallery. This art gallery is very well known and is the home to the great works of art by Tiepolo, Caravaggio, Carpaccio and Bronzino as well as others.

Cathedral of Udine

The huge structure which dominates Piazza Duomo is the Cathedral of Udine, consecrated in 1335 as Santa Maria Maggiore Church. Building actually began 100 years earlier. Inside are numerous paintings by the famous artists of the time including Tiepolo. The cathedral was remodeled in the 18th century and now has a Baroques architectural style.

Udine is a city rich in history and a welcome day trip if you are looking to escape the crowds of Venice.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

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