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History, nature and traditions: Friuli Venezia Giulia by bike

Cities of art, places steeped in history and characteristic villages surrounded by nature: Five slow itineraries cycling through the essence of Friuli Venezia Giulia.

22 June 2022

Historic cities and characteristic villages, places associated with Napoleon and the Great War immersed in nature and even the scenic flight of the Frecce Tricolori: Five slow itineraries to savour Friuli Venezia Giulia on standard and racing bikes, MTBs and ebikes for all levels of fitness. These routes will also welcome stages of the Giro d'Italia.

1. The Alpe Adria Cycle Route

A complete route from the mountains down to the sea by way of some of most evocative places in the region, between historic cities and nature - mountains, hills, plains and the sea - in a cooperation project between the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, Land Salzburg and Land Carinthia. The Italian section unwinds from the Coccau Pass down to the sea near Grado, more than 175 kilometres alternating sections suitable for everyone and others more suited to expert cyclists. Places of interest include Tarvisio, an all-year-round sports paradise, Bordano, known as the Home of Butterflies given to the presence of numerous species, and Osoppo with the Fort of the same name. Cities include Udine with its historic centre and the Cormor Botanical Park, the so-called Star City of Palmanova with its UNESCO World Heritage Site fortress, historic Aquileia of Roman origin, another UNESCO site, and its patriarchal Basilica. The route terminates in Grado, a tourist and spa centre, in the middle of the lagoon of the same name.

2. Along the River Tagliamento: from Forni di Sopra to Lignano Sabbiadoro

An itinerary for everyone: 184 kilometres along the River Tagliamento, the main river in the Region flowing between the provinces of Udine and Pordenone. From its spring, it descends through its valley in the Carnic Alps and Pre-Alps. The source is near the Mauria Pass, near the town of Forni di Sopra in the Friuli Dolomites. As you pedal through woods, meadows and pine forests, you will encounter many small villages characterized by historic churches and fountains, as well as natural history sites such as the Cima Corso Marsh Biotope, the Plera Waterfall and Lake Cornino with its nature reserve. It also crosses the countryside where Napoleon's historic Battle of Tagliamento took place, which also witnessed scenes of the Great War. The river reaches the sea near the seafront of Lignano Sabbiadoro, a lively seaside resort where the Tagliamento flows into the Adriatic.

3. Carnia by bike

Discovering Carnia and its identity, among houses in stone and wood in picturesque villages set in mountains and valleys still enjoying strong bonds with agricultural traditions and crafts. The route starts from the Mediaeval village of Venzone, proclaimed a National Monument, before reaching, among others, Tolmezzo with the Cathedral of San Martino, Zuglio with the imposing Pieve di San Pietro perched on a hill, Portis Vecchio abandoned after the earthquake of 1976, Cludinico with coal mines now converted into a museum, and Quinis with its leaning bell tower. The climb up to Monte Zoncolan passes through woods and meadows, as well as the spectacular Radima and many other waterfalls. To the south, San Daniele del Friuli is well worth a visit, not the least to taste the typical PDO cured ham. The route is accessible to everyone and is 109 kilometres long.

4. Middle Friuli: Udine and its surroundings

A 100 kilometre bicycle ride around Udine and its surroundings suitable for everyone to discover the so-called Middle Friuli area. We start with the exploration of the capital of Friuli, with its architectural treasures such as the Renaissance buildings in the ancient, Venetian-style Piazza Libertà, the Cathedral with its Baroque interiors and the hilltop Castle. The surrounding area, on the other hand, is replete with rural villages and noble residences, country churches and ancient mills, natural history and archaeological sites, which can all be seen while pedalling through the countryside, moraine uplands and woods. The itinerary also takes in the base of the Frecce Tricolori acrobatic air force team with the take-off runway. A visit to the historic centre of Codroipo - the capital of Middle Friuli - is also recommended.

5. Lower Friuli

190 "slow" kilometres allowing everyone to savour a hugely interesting area, leaving and returning to Cervignano del Friuli overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Pedalling between natural history sites, canals, river banks and thousand-year-old woods, we descend to Lignano Sabbiadoro, with its broad, long cycle promenade and splendid pine woods. It is worth crossing the Marano Lagoon to reach the characteristic seaside village of the same name with its natural history oasis flanking the Sacile Planiziale Wood. Passing through villages and by ancient churches, we move on to Grado, with its lagoon, the coastal dunes and pine woods. Don't miss a stop in the historic Roman Aquileia - a UNESCO site - with the patriarchal Basilica.

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