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Stage 16 - Udine - San Daniele del Friuli

The stage

From Udine to San Daniele del Friuli, this 229 km long stage along the Julian Prealps follows a scenic route, hitting on places that are well worth a visit.

Stage 16 - Udine - San Daniele del Friuli

Udine is a fascinating city whose history has been strongly influenced by the Republic of Venice. Its elegant palaces, its chromatic variations and its arcades follow the architectural style of the Serenissima. Piazza della Libertà has been called the most beautiful Venetian square on the mainland. In the eighteenth century, Udine hosted the painter Giambattista Tiepolo, who reached his artistic maturity here. His masterpieces can be found in the Patriarchal Palace which houses the "Diocesan Museum and Tiepolo Galleries". Here, Tiepolo decorated the ceiling of the Grand Staircase, the Guest Gallery and the Red Room.


Today, Udine is a lively and convivial "lounge-city", which invites you to sit among its many wine shops and old taverns to honour the ritual of "tajut", the tasting of a glass of wine at the end of the day to be enjoyed in company.

Along the Alpe Adria cycle trail: Udine

Leaving the city, the race immediately starts uphill towards the Madonnina del Domm, to arrive in Cividale del Friuli, a cultured and refined town, guardian of history and traditions, a Unesco Heritage site listed as one of the "Longobards in Italy: Places of Power". The first Longobard Duchy in the Peninsula was established here in Cividale: the Episcopal Complex of the Patriarch Callisto, the Patriarchal Palace and the Longobard Temple bear witness to the dominion from 568 AD to 774 AD. Walking through the city, the Celtic Hypogeum, the Cathedral and the Devil's Bridge from which you can admire the course of the Natisone are all worth visiting. The many bars and restaurants of Cividale give you a great opportunity to try the local delicacies accompanied by the precious wines of the Colli Orientali del Friuli.

Cividale del Friuli

Let's go back to follow the Giro that heads towards Monte Spig. Immediately after we stop to visit the Sanctuary of Castelmonte, the oldest in Friuli. The church, already well-known between the 6th and 9th centuries, was one of the most important of the Patriarchate of Aquileia. Subsequently, the Sanctuary was fortified and enlarged until it took on the appearance of a village.

Montevergine Sanctuary, Cividale del Friuli

The race visits Cividale del Friuli again and then heads towards Monte di Ragogna, passing through Monteaperta, Tarcento, Buja and the Castello di Susans. We arrive in the Friuli Collinare area, among castles, historic villas and beautiful villages to explore by mountain bike along the Strada dei Castelli e dei Sapori route. A route that crosses landscapes of great beauty, ideal for lovers of slow holidays, in close contact with the culture and places of production of ham, Fagagna cheese and other typical flavours of this area.
We pass through the beautiful Tarcento which with its liberty villas seems to revive the Belle Epoque, while just outside Tarcento the Villanova Caves are worth a visit.

In the wake of the Giro, we arrive in Buja where we find the remains of a medieval castle and the ancient parish church of San Lorenzo which preserves a complete


From Buja, we make the first detour to visit Osoppo. Once inhabited by Celtic populations, Osoppo became a Roman castrum at the time of the foundation of Aquileia. The hill and the fortress are a complex of great historical and naturalistic interest. In the southern part of the hill, there are fossil tracks of mammals that lived from 2 to 10 million years ago. The Valli Nascoste ("Hidden Valleys") route starts from Osoppo, a 120 km long tour among lakes and naturalistic sites of rare beauty such as the Pradis Caves, in the heart of the Carnic Alps.


The second detour takes us south of the stage route to Fagagna, a village where storks live undisturbed. The village is famous for the tasty cheese of the same name. In the Friulian farmer's life museum, housed in a traditional farmhouse, objects and rituals of Friulian rural life at the beginning of the twentieth century are preserved. Just outside Fagagna is the beautiful Villalta Castle, which dominates the surrounding valley from its small hill.

Villalta Castle

Let's head back to the Giro route and make a very short stop at Castello di Susans, which due to its architecture, recalls one of the Medici Villas in Tuscany.

Castello di Susans

The Giro climbs up Monte Ragogna from which you can enjoy a unique view of the morainic amphitheatre and the Tagliamento river. Here you will also find the ancient Castle of Ragogna, with a medieval layout, today completely restored.

Castle of Ragogna

Views of rolling hills as far as the eye can see: the Giro arrives in San Daniele del Friuli, one of the jewels of the Friuli Hills. It houses the Guarneriana Library, one of the most prestigious Italian libraries, a beautiful eighteenth-century Cathedral and the former Church of Sant'Antonio Abate which, with its precious Renaissance cycle, has earned San Daniele the nickname of "little Siena of Friuli.

The Guarneriana library

But the town is famous above all for its ham with an inimitable flavour, the result of a skilful conservation process and a unique microclimate. The processing of San Daniele ham requires numerous steps still carried out today according to the ancient artisan method. The production of smoked trout, caught in the waters of the Tagliamento, is also very important and famous in San Daniele.

San Daniele ham PDO

Not to be missed

Initially an important and prosperous Roman city, centre for the expansion of Christianity in Europe during the Middle Ages, Aquileia is one of the Italian UNESCO sites: with its vast archaeological area and the beauty of its floor mosaics, it can be considered the capital of the Western Roman mosaic. The Patriarchal Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, dating back to the year 1000, preserves wonderful mosaics of the previous building, dating back to the 4th century, and represents an extraordinary example of religious architecture. In addition to the basilica complex, the Paleochristian National Museum and the National Archaeological Museum are part of the visit.

Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia

Palmanova, the star-shaped city. Designed on a nine-pointed geometric plan, conceived as a fortress city defended by a triple circle of walls, it is a model of an ideal Renaissance city and an example of military architecture. Palmanova is part of the transnational Unesco site Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th centuries. In its splendid Piazza Grande, right in the centre of the city, is the permanent exhibition "Artificial tools and machines to build the fortress of Palma", a fascinating life-size reconstruction of the machines that were used to build the city.


Palmanova e Aquileia sono unite dalla ciclabile Alpe Adria Radweg attraverso un percoso affascinante e suggestivo, tra natura e cultura, tra arte e storia.

Palmanova and Aquileia are joined by the Alpe Adria Radweg cycle trail through a fascinating and atmospheric route, surrounded by nature and culture, art and history.

Alpe Adria cycle trail Palmanova–Aquileia cycle trail


By bike

Friuli Venezia Giulia by bicycle

The hilly landscape of Friuli Venezia Giulia is interwoven with a dense network of cycling routes suitable for all needs, crossing breathtaking views, castles, villages, in the realm of gourmet food and wine excellence.
Friuli Venezia Giulia is crossed by the Alpe Adria Radweg CAAR cycling trail, a fascinating cross-border route, also accessible during the winter season, which connects Salzburg with Villacco, Udine, Aquileia and Grado, crossing the most beautiful places in the region from the mountains to the sea.

Alpe Adria Tarvisio cycle

Along the Alpe Adria cycle trail: Grado

The Italian route named FVG 1 is made up of sections of varying levels of difficulty. Those suitable for all cyclists (Coccau–Moggio and Palmanova–Grado), are signposted and are mostly in the area reserved for cyclists only. Sections suitable for the average cyclist (Udine Parco del Cormor–Palmanova) are signposted and have some stretches in conjunction with motorised vehicles but at low intensity. Sections suitable for expert cyclists (Moggio–Venzone–Bordano–Osoppo–Buja–Udine Parco del Cormor) are not signposted and have relevant parts in conjunction with motorised vehicles. For these routes, it is essential to have a printed roadbook or a GPS tracking unit.

Along the Alpe Adria cycle trail: Grado

Here we also propose a trip among splendid vineyards and sanctuaries from Corno di Rosazzo to Castelmonte, in the extensive Collio area. The undulating landscape of the Collio is often compared to the gentle landscapes of Tuscany and Marche thanks to the luxuriant vines that define the landscape. The route touches the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of Castelmonte, a complex that was originally a Roman post, later transformed into a fortified village.

An equally rich and compelling route is the one that stretches from Cividale del Friuli to the Natisone Valley. As you cycle past villages and churches, you will be reminded of the ancient legends that tell the story of these regions. This route is part of the 12 cycling routes named "Terra dei Patriarchi" ("Land of the Patriarchs")

In the San Daniele region, along the banks of the great Tagliamento river, on the hills of Medio Friuli, there are nine routes equipped for travelling by eBike and MTB in complete safety.