The last Doge of Venice, Ludovico Manin, retired to this area at the end of the eighteenth century when the Venetian Republic fell to the blows of Napoleon Bonaparte.
These days, whoever visits Villa Manin in the province of Udine, detects a hint of twilight in the air, almost as if the memory of the old gentleman who came here to pass the autumn of his life was influencing the visitors and inducing a melancholic mood in them. But this is a pleasant sensation, that leads to a more intimate and intense kind of aesthetic enjoyment.
The same sensation recurs all over this beautiful and severe border region of Friuli, where almost every town boasts a museum – those of Udine, Tolmezzo, Pordenone, Cividale del Friuli, Gorizia, and Aquileia are particularly important and interesting – and is able to surprise with the plurality of architectural styles. In the center of Udine the Venetian Gothic of the Palazzo del Comune faces the beautiful twentieth-century Art Deco Caffe’ Contarena. Cultural attractions are also remarkable, as at Udine again, where galleries of historic and modern art are numerous.
Highly suggestive is the Basilica in Aquileia, now a small town but once an important city of the Roman Empire.
Grado in the province of Gorizia is the favorite of many tourists who regularly return for its sea and particularly healthy climate.
Trieste, in tiny Venezia Giulia, is the most “middle-European” of Italian cities, rich in history and culture, with its important ancient and modern artistic heritage, has been loved and represented by great literary figures like James Joyce, Italo Svevo, Umberto Saba and many others.
And don’t forget the mountains, in Friuli you can enjoy summer and winter sports in beautiful mountain surroundings.
Very special is the “Widespread Hotel“: The idea of the popular/widespread hotel stems from the need to safeguard and recover the existing building heritage; houses, stables and old farmsteads have been restored and today they stand as structures which are in harmony with the environment and the urban layout of these centers. You have to stay in an old original building, perfectly restored to modern standard, with all the amenities of an hotel while savoring the feeling of ancient times.