Friuli Venezia Giulia is Italy's most north-eastern region, bordering Austria to the north, Slovenia to the east and facing the Adriatic Sea to the south.
Featuring everything from sea, mountains and hills; wine and food products; culture and events; cities of art and history; and spa and wellness, the area has something to suit all tastes – as well as some great golf.
There are seven 18-hole golf courses in Friuli Venezia Giulia that are distributed evenly across the region. All offer excellent value, with average green fees priced at just €50 per round, while a range of direct UK flights are available to Trieste, Venice and Treviso from Stansted, Dublin, Bristol, East Midlands and Leeds.
Golf Club Castel d'Aviano is located inside the prestigious Natural Park at Villa Policreti, an interesting historical and architectural residence built in the 16th century. Nowadays, Villa Policreti is an elegant hotel and home both to a renowned restaurant and clubhouse that overlooks the golf course.
Situated in the magnificent surroundings of the Spessa Castle park, Golf & Country Club Castello di Spessa features an 18-hole golf course designed by Giacomo Cabrini. The club is dominated by a delightful castle dating back to the 13th century and offers 14 rooms and a suite furnished with antique furniture, all of which overlook the extended vineyards surrounding the layout and vineyard apartments.
Golf Club Grado overlooks Grado Lagoon and extends across more than 60 hectares of terrain amid thick reed thickets that provide the perfect natural habitat for herons, wild swans, flamingos and other fauna species typically found in lagoons. It is part of the Tenuta Primero holiday complex which also includes a 200-berths marina, marina suites, cabins and numerous leisure facilities.
Just a stone's throw from the sea and the well-known beach resort of Lignano Sabbiadoro, Golf Club Lignano’s par-72 course extends across 70 hectares and is memorable for its long fairways, large greens and wide areas of natural sand.
Senza Confini Tarvisio Golf Club is located on the Priesnig plateau 800 metres above sea level on the border with Austria and Slovenia.
Redesigned by Marco Croze in 2014, the undulating course offers spectacular views of the mountains and Tarvisio Forest and features a mixture of ancient beeches, firs and larches and a number of small lakes.
The clubhouse and restaurant have also been refurbished with the addition of new terrace and lounge bar and, recommended by the Michelin Guide, offers a variety of Mediterranean cuisine as well as fish dishes.
Golf Club Trieste was the first club to be founded in Friuli Venezia Giulia and was set up by allied troops immediately after the Second World War. The club, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2005, lies just a few minutes away from the Slovenian border and overlooks the delightful panorama of the Gulf of Trieste.
Originally a nine-hole course, Golf Club Udine was extended to 18 holes by Marco Croze, with all harmoniously blending into 60 hectares. Host venue of the Italian Senior Men’s Open for the last two years, the golf course is owned by the new eco-friendly Villaverde Hotel & Resort Wellness Spa & Golf, which opened in February 2016 and has been designed to blend in with its landscape.
Trieste features wonderful architecture: art nouveau, eclectic and Baroque buildings standing cheek-by-jowl with impressive Roman remains. But the real melting pot in the “Mitteleuropa” area is Gorizia, a favourite with the Habsburg bourgeoisie, who enjoyed the charming parks scattered at the foot of the hill, at the top of which lie the medieval village and castle. Udine also has a medieval core nestling between ancient palaces and Venetian squares, where the locals like to meet for a classic aperitif in the early evening, after work: a glass of excellent white wine. Pordenone is a smart town that has skillfully carved out a niche for itself as an important venue for sophisticated cultural events. Its centre, with frescoed palaces, elegant cafés and stylish shops, is ideal for a stroll that combines both art and shopping.
On any holiday, the food and wine experience is an essential part of getting to know the cultures and traditions of a region In Friuli Venezia Giulia, the land and its cuisine are tied by an unbreakable bond.
Here, products and flavours from the Mediterranean blend with those from the Balkans and Central Europe, without eliminating local traditional cuisine.
PDO products such as Prosciutto di San Daniele, Montasio cheese, Tergeste oil, Brovada (pickled turnips), traditional sweets such as gubana or putizza, Slow Food Presidia such as Formadi Frant or Pitina, excellent wines, craft beers and spirits, will all give you an insight into the region like no other.
Friuli Venezia Giulia offers a profound food and wine-based holiday experience that takes your senses on a journey, connecting the coast with the mountainous area whilst passing along the vineyards and regional inland hills.
There are six wine experiences that will enable you to discover the region and meet the producers and their production, with a world of sensations, faces, flavours and ancient knowledge awaiting; from the coast to the Friulian Dolomites; from Collio to the great Tagliamento river; from Magredi to Carso, right up to the rolling hills around San Daniele del Friuli and Udine.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Aquileia was founded in 181BC and rose to become one of the biggest and richest towns of the whole Roman Empire. Excavations have uncovered the remains of the Roman forum and many fantastic discoveries including those of a basilica, burial ground, mosaic floors and house foundations (Cal and ex Cossar estates), together with statues of the Via Sacra (Sacred Road), markets, walls, the river port, a large mausoleum and much more.
Cividale del Friuli was founded in 53BC by Julius Caesar and originally called Forum Iulii, from which the name Friuli is derived. Modern-day Cividale del Friuli has a number of unique sights such as the Lombard Temple - one of the most extraordinary and mysterious works of early medieval architecture in Western Europe.
Palù di Livenza is one of the oldest Palaeolithic sites in northern Italy, listed in the "prehistoric pile-dwelling sites in the Alps".
Friulian Dolomites are the most western mountain area in the region and include the Valcellina, the Valle del Tagliamento and Val Tramontina valleys. The high degree of wilderness that they still retain makes them the most untouched area of the entire Dolomites massif.
And the fortress town of Palmanova became the latest inclusion on the region’s growing list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites after being added this summer. www.turismofvg.it
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