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Pordenone

  • Description
  • What to See
  • What to Do
  • What to Taste

The Province of Pordenone is located in the western area of Friuli Venezia Giulia, bordering Veneto. It is situated between the Carnic Alps and the wide valley that is bounded by the Tagliamento and Livenza Rivers.

It crosses valleys, hills and flat lands, offering a wide variety of landscapes and charming sceneries. The mountains - of dolomitic rock - present inaccessible gullies, and valleys deep and narrow; they host remarkable resorts, such as the modern and well-equipped ski area of Piancavallo. The magredi are the formations typical to the local terrain; these extraordinary stretches of cobbles and river pebbles have remained unchanged over centuries shrouded, just like the nearby quaint and characteristic towns of Cordenons, San Quirino, Vivaro, Zoppola, etc.

Both flat and hilly areas present spectacular karstic features, such as the springs of the Gorgazzo River - renowned for the azure, turquoise and blue of its waters - the picturesque springs of the River Livenza, and many caves and hollows, explored only in part.

Interesting wildlife areas include the Regional Park of the Friulian Dolomites, renowned for its beauty; the Parco Naturalistico di San Floriano, characteristic for its perfect union of natural landscape, cultivated areas and grazing land; and the Noncello River Park.

Besides the naturalistic attractions, the province offers charming small villages and art treasures that combine the culture of Friuli with Venetian and Austrian influences. There are many evidences of the past: the prehistoric site of Palù della Santissima, the city of Pordenone, the small village Sacile or Spilimbergo Castle.

There are traces everywhere of a complex history with deep roots. Moreover, the flavors of this land are unmistakable: the local food tradition, the authenticity of specialties and a wide variety of wines will satisfy any gourmand.

The first stop of the route to discover the Province is Pordenone - its old city center is well-preserved, and complete an impressive Palazzo Comunale and clock tower, a Gothic loggia and a Cathedral bearing a superb bell tower and richly-frescoed interior.
  
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II is the city's main thoroughfare, and it is lined with handsome historical buildings, such as Palazzo Mantica-Cattaneo and Palazzo Ricchieri; Palazzo Ricchieri is the site of the Civic Museum of Art, with its collection of precious paintings and wooden sculptures.

Close to the Provincial Capital, Porcìa is well-worth a visit. It is dominated by its majestic castle, and is dotted with invaluable religious and monumental palazzi. Not far from the residential area, in a beautiful park, rises Villa Correr-Dolfin, one of the Region's most important Venetian villas, built at the end of the 17th Century.

Then, Sesto al Reghena is outstanding: it is an age-old village not far from the Abbey of Santa Maria in Sylvis, a monastic complex bearing great historic and artistic value. Also nearby is the Vincheredo Fountain. The surrounding environment is known for its karst springs, beauty and charm, and is one of Friuli's most celebrated places in literature.

The small village of Valvasone is replete with history: in the old city center is the Medieval castle, palazzi with their loggias, and the cathedral well-known for its exemplary Venetian school organ from the 16th Century.
Spilimbergo also deserves a visit. As location of the Scuola Mosaicisti of Friuli and the "city of mosaics," it is world-famous for its production of decorative pavement and wall mosaics. Its historic center is also very charming: think characteristic houses decorated with frescoes, a (once-rebuilt) castle and a Cathedral also known for being an a treasure trove of art.

Sacile is a small town located on the banks of the River Livenza; of a peculiar physiognomy, it preserves the traces of its long existence under Venetian rule, particularly in its monuments and buildings.
Among the Province's other distinctive towns and borgos, Maniago is the “city of cutlery works,” Polcenigo is dominated by its Medieval fortress, and  Barcis and Andreis offer typical examples of mountain architecture.

Castles and places of faith also abound in these parts: two examples are the Santuario della Santissima, located near the springs of the Livenza; and the Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Cordovado, decorated with an enthralling wooden ceiling.

The Diogene Penzi Provincial Museum of Peasant Life (in San Vito al Tagliamento, Maniago and Cavasso Nuovo) explores local culture and folkloric traditions, while the Clautana House Museum is a window into daily life in the Valcellina.

The variety of landscapes in Pordenone and its environs is perfect for enjoying many activities and tours in contact with nature, whether in mountains, hills or plains. From Cimolais to Claut or Piancavallo: the snowcapped peaks of the Dolomites with their modern ski slopes are the perfect setting for skiing, snowboarding, cross-country, and trekking or free climbing.
The numerous rivers and waterways are a source of fun and amusement. One can go canoeing - there are many levels - and fishing. The presence of valleys and hills offers perfect excursion itineraries - cycling, mountain biking or hiking the scenic trails.

Among the many traditional feasts, sagra dei osei in Sacile stands out, (first Sunday after the mid-August holiday). During this feast, birds are sold, awards go to the best specimens exposed, and only the brave participate in the cocchiolo (bird-calling) contest.

As far as religious events, the traditional falò epifanici (bonfires) and the Veindre Seint (Holy Friday) are significant. The Veindre Seint of Casso is an evocative costumed performance of the Passion of the Christ. The Feast of St. Mark and Fortejada is a characteristic event in Pordenone: during the Patronal feast in the Parco San Valentino, it is possible to taste the fortaja, an omelette with many ingredients. 

Another special event is the historical re-enactment of the Napoleonic battle of Camolli, which takes place in Porcìa in April; and the historical re-enactment of the Macia, recalling the city's ambience as it was in the 16th Century, within the splendid scenery of Spilimbergo.

Flatlands and mountains speak through the typical flavors of western Friuli. The local food - of rural origins - is based on broths, vegetable soups and risottos, along with dumplings and panada (stale bread soup).
Specialities: cold cuts such as pitina and local cheese like Montasio or Asin (malga cheese with soft and creamy spread).

Meat triumphs among the main courses: boiled or stewed meat, and especially game (wild boar, pheasant, hare) round out the menu. Try specialties like muset, pork meat with a side of brovada, turnips marinated in vinegar. Highly-appreciated here are the typical omelette with salami, the frico (fried cheese) and the pastissada (corn meal with cheese, butter and meat sauce). Dessert lovers should try the corn flour cookies, Pinza (sweet pizza) and Dolce di Spilimbergo (dessert made with almonds) are really common.

Wine production is tops in Friuli, both whites (Tocai, Pinot, Verduzzo) and reds wines (Cabernet, Refosco).