The Colli Orientali del Friuli - 2

The Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC zone lies in the hills that extend along the border of the province of Udine with Slovenia. The heart of the zone is Cividale del Friuli, the starting point for our two suggested itineraries.

The first leads northwest in the direction of Faedis, Nimis and Tarcento while the second heads south east and passes through Manzano, San Giovanni al Natisone and Corno di Rosazzo. The marl and sandstone soil of the gently rolling hills is terraced to provide an ideal habitat for viticulture. Thanks to the natural shelter provided by the Julian Pre-Alps, the vines are protected from the cold north winds.
In the The Colli Orientali are wineries where visitors can taste and purchase wines, farm holiday and sports facilities, excellent eateries, villages with many minor - and major - art treasures, and the large vine and wine park, making this one of the most attractive and best prepared parts of Friuli-Venezia Giulia for a relaxing holiday in the countryside.

Typical products
Gubana cake, sausages, cheeses, honey, grappa and spirits.

Typical dishes
Frico (fried cheese), salami cooked in vinegar, brovada e muset (cotechino sausage with sliced pomace-steeped turnips), cjarsons (large pasta envelopes), game and trout-based dishes. In the valleys around Cividale, there are dishes of Slovene origin, such as zlicnjaki, small dumplings made of flour and acquabizna, a turnip and potato soup. Sweets include gubana and struki.

Itinerary: Valli del Natisone - Prepotto - Spessa - Ipplis - Premariacco - Buttrio - Rosazzo - San Giovanni al Natisone - Corno di Rosazzo

The Natisone river valleys, one of the wildest and most spectacular areas in the region, afford a rewarding detour just outside Cividale. The dense woodland is dominated by the peak of Matajur, the small hamlets have their own distinctive architecture and there are art treasures waiting to be discovered, such as the sanctuary at Castelmonte or the cave church of San Giovanni d’Antro. The valleys have been inhabited since the seventh century by a Slav community that has jealously preserved its traditions, language and cultural heritage.
The local food traditions are equally interesting and unusual. Visitors can sample the fare at the A Tavola nelle Valli del Natisone fair in autumn, when restaurants, trattorias and other eateries offer characteristic seasonal menus.
Places to visit include Castelmonte, an ancient place of religious significance mentioned as early as the twelfth century. Located on a hilltop, the fortified mediaeval settlement has a monastery and a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin; at San Pietro al Natisone, the gothic church of San Quirino deserves a visit (1493). There are many ancient chapels and rural buildings in the local architectural style in the area. At Antro, the church of San Giovanni (fifteenth century) is especially interesting as it is built partly inside a cave.

Local products
Gubana cake

Forra del Natisone da San Quirino ravine at San Pietro
Monte Matajur
Colli di Tribil di Sotto hills at Stregna

Fairs and events
Carnival - February-March

Prepotto is a small village, nestling among the vineyards, that is noted for its wineries.

Grillo Iole
Pizzulin Denis
Ronco dei Pini

Festivals and events
St. John the Baptist Festival - June

A quiet village in verdant countryside.

La Magnolia
Rodaro Paolo
Ronchi San Giuseppe

Vineyards and woodlands as far as the eye can see. Nearby is the mediaeval castle of Rocca Bernarda. The cylindrical corner towers still stand but the castle was converted into a residence in 1567, and today is the home of the Rocca Bernarda winery.

La Tunella
Rocca Bernarda
Scubla Roberto

A tranquil rural village between the flatlands and the hill country. Visit the church of San Silvestro (thirteenth-sixteenth centuries).

Ravine and riverside beach on river Natisone (Firmano)


Buttrio is noted for its leading furniture and steel industry companies but its hillslopes are also graced by a number of villas. Places to visit include the church of Santo Stefano (fourteenth century) and the church of Santi Gervasio e Protasio (thirteenth and nineteenth centuries). Noteworthy residences are Villa Tomasoni Todone (nineteenth century) and Villa d'Attimis Maniago (thirteenth and seventeenth centuries). Other residences are Villa di Toppo Florio at nearby Monte di Buttrio and, at Camino, Casa Linussio (sixteenth century).

Conte d'Attimis-Maniago
Pontoni Flavio

Festivals and events
Regional wine festival - June

A delightful village located in a splendid position. The area boasts a wealth of vineyards that extend from Manzano to Corno di Rosazzo, and the premium-quality grapes grown here include the legendary Picolit.
The Benedictine abbey is a must-see visit. Since ancient times, it has had a fundamental role in the conservation of the viticultural heritage and today is the home of a winery. It takes its name from the wild roses that have graced it since time immemorial. What remains of the vast mediaeval monastic complex that was home first to the Augustinians and then to the Benedictines huddles today around the church and its cloister, dedicated to Saint Peter (sixteenth century) and decorated with remarkable frescoes.

Livio Felluga (vineyards only)

Together with the neighbouring towns of Manzano and Corno di Rosazzo, San Giovanni al Natisone forms the so-called “triangle of the chair”, which turns out more than half of all the world’s chairs. Vines are grown on the hillslopes. In the village, the sixteenth-century church of San Giusto with its wooden altarpiece, contemporary with the church itself, is worth a visit. At nearby Dolegnano, Villa Trento is an interesting eighteenth-century noble residence.

Corno di Rosazzo is the town with the largest number of wineries in the Colli Orientali DOC zone. The streets, named after the world’s leading grape varieties, testify to the town’s vocation. The sanctuary of the Madonna d’Aiuto (eighteenth century) is worth visiting. At nearby Noax is the church of San Giacomo Apostolo (fourteenth-century frescoes), and at Borgo Gallo is the church of San Michele Arcangelo (fourteenth, sixteenth and twentieth centuries).

Gigante Wine & Welcome in Friuli

Le Due Torri

Bosco Romagno park

Fairs and events
Colli Orientali wine fair - May