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 bounded by the rivers Tagliamento and Livenza. It crosses valleys, hills and flat lands, offering a wide variety of landscapes and charming sceneries. The mountains - of dolomitic rock - present inaccessible gullies, aiguilles, deep and narrow valleys; they host remarkable resorts, such as the modern and equipped ski area of Piancavallo.
The “magredi” are typical landscapes of the area, these are extraordinary stretches of cobbles and river pebbles, landscapes that did not change in centuries, shrouded in a special atmosphere characteristic of the small towns such as Cordenons, San Quirino, Vivaro, Zoppola, etc.
In the hilly and flat area there are spectacular karstic features such as the springs of the river Gorgazzo, renowned for the azure, turquoise and blue colour of the waters, the picturesque springs of the river Livenza and many caves and hollows, partly explored.
Interesting wildlife areas: Parco Regionale delle Dolomiti Friulane, renowned for its beauty, Parco Naturalistico di San Floriano, characteristic for its perfect union of natural landscape, cultivated areas and grazing land and Parco Fluviale del Noncello which crosses Pordenone.
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 flavours of this land are unmistakable: the local food tradition, the authenticity of specialities and a wide variety of wines will satisfy any gourmand.
The first stop of the route to discover the area is Pordenone - with its old city centre intact, it has an impressive Palazzo Comunale and clock tower, a Gothic loggia and a Cathedral with a superb bell-tower and richly frescoed interior.
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II is the main road of the city and it is lined with wonderful historic buildings, such as Palazzo Mantica-Cattaneo and Palazzo Ricchieri, which nowadays is the site of the Civic Museum of Art, with a collection of precious paintings and wood sculptures.
Close to the capital, Porcìa is well worth a visit. It is dominated by its majestic castle and rich in valuable religious and historic buildings. Not far from the residential area, in a beautiful park, rises Villa Correr-Dolfin, one of the most important Venetian villas built in the region, at the end of the 17th century.
Sesto al Reghena is outstanding: it is an old small village developed near the wonderful Abbey of Santa Maria in Sylvis, a monastic complex with a great historic and artistic value. Nearby there is the Fontana di Vincheredo, a resurgence environment renowned for the beauty and charm of its landscape, it is one of the most celebrated literary places of Friuli.
The small village of Valvasone is full of history: in the old city centre there is the medieval castle, valuable buildings with porches and the cathedral which preserves the unique example of organ of Venetian school of the XVI century.
Spilimbergo is well worth a visit. It is renowned as the “city of mosaic”, since it is the site of the Scuola Mosaicisti of Friuli and it is world famous for the production of decorative, pavement and wall mosaics. The old city centre is really charming, with characteristic houses decorated with frescoes, a famous castle and a cathedral full of art treasures.
Sacile has a peculiar aspect: it is a small town located on the banks of the river Livenza, and preserves the traces of the long Venetian domination in its monuments and buildings.
There are many distinctive small villages: Maniago, the “city of knife-makers”, Polcenigo, dominated by its medieval fortress, while Barcis and Andreis offer typical examples of mountain architecture.
There are also many castles and religious places in the area, such as the Santuario della Santissima, located near the springs of the Livenza and the Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Cordovado, decorated with a wonderful wooden ceiling.
The Museo Provinciale della Vita contadina “Diogene Penzi” (in San Vito al Tagliamento, Maniago and Cavasso Nuovo) offers local culture and folkloric traditions, while the Museo Casa Clautana deepens the aspects related to Valcellina.
The variety of landscapes and areas is perfect to practice many activities and tours in contact with nature, going from mountains to hills or flat lands.
From Cimolais to Claut or Piancavallo: the snowcapped peaks of the Dolomites with their modern ski slopes are the perfect setting to go skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and also 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 offer perfect routes for cycling and mountain biking and also pathways which lead to wonderful landscapes.
There are many traditional feasts, a distinguished one is the “sagra dei osei” in Sacile, the first Sunday after the mid-August holiday. During this feast, there is the sale of birds, rewards for the best specimen exposed, and the cocchiolo contest, that is a melody that imitates the call of flying animals.
As far as religious events, the traditional falò epifanici (bonfires) and the Veindre Seint are significant. The Veindre Seint is an evocative costume performance of the Passion of Christ that takes place in Erto and Casso on Good Friday. The Festa di San Marco and Fortejada is a characteristic event in Pordenone: during the Patronal feast it is possible to taste the fortaja, an omelette with many ingredients, in the city park of San Valentino.
Another distinctive event is the historical evocation of the Napoleonic battle of Camolli, which takes place in Porcìa (in April), and also the historical evocation of Macia, in the wonderful scenery of Spilimbergo, retrieving the atmosphere of the city in the16th century.
Flat lands and mountains are perfectly combined in the local flavours of western Friuli.
The typical food - of rural origin - is based on broths, vegetable soups and risottos, and there are also the 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). As far as main courses, there is mostly meat: boiled or stewed meat and, especially, game (wild boar, pheasant, hare). The typical main course is the muset, pork meat, with a side of brovada, turnips marinated in vinegar.
It is also possible to taste the typical omelette with salami, the frico (fried cheese) and the pastissada (corn meal with cheese, butter and meat sauce).
As far as desserts, corn flour cookies, Pinza (sweet pizza) and Dolce di Spilimbergo (dessert made with almonds) are really common.
There is a remarkable production of white wines (Tocai, Pinot, Verduzzo) and red wines (Cabernet, Refosco).
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