For the active – and curious – travelers among you, check this out: a cycling path that traverses Friuli Venezia Giulia, our featured region of the month, from the mountains of Tarvisio all the way to the Adriatic Sea in Grado.
This cycling route, known as Ciclovia Alpe Adria, begins in Austria (Salzburg) and, along its Italian stretch (180 km), touches on a number of medieval villages and art cities for a full immersion into the history and culture of this off-the-beaten-track region in north-eastern Italy.
To better savor this itinerary on two wheels plan for at least a week, covering between 30 and 40 km a day, at ease.
Departing from Tarvisio, you only have to pedal 10 km to reach the first point of interest, Malborghetto, a charming village at the foot of the mountains notable for the museum Casa Oberrichter, which displays local crafts.
And of course this being Italy, food is a part of any itinerary! Bike some more and you’ll reach Chiusaforte, a sort of ‘bicigrill’ (as opposed to the autogrill found on Italian highways which foreigners seem to like so much), where you’ll find platters of cold cuts and cheeses and typical local dishes to refuel you for the next stretch.
As you continue through the region, you should stop by Resiutta, a mountain borgo inhabited since Roman times, now home to a beer factory; and Venzone, crowned Italy’s most beautiful borgo, destroyed by an earthquake in 1976 and perfectly reconstructed the way it was.
Following the course of the river Tagliamento, the cycling route reaches Gemona del Friuli and Osoppo, both occupied by the Celts as far back as the year 500 BC; take a short detour to visit San Daniele del Friuli, hometown of delicious prosciutto di San Daniele.
The Ciclovia Alpe Adria will also give you the chance to visit one of Friuli’s major cities, Udine, which will require a bit more time to enjoy its sights, such as the Castle for a panoramic view of the city and the main piazza, and savor the local cuisine.
A few more stops along the way should include Palmanova, a masterpiece of Venetian military architecture, and Aquileia, a Unesco World Heritage Site with 22 centuries of history.
As you approach the coast, you’ll find yourself a thin strip of land next to the sea: the last stretch of this cycling route traverses the lagoon until it reaches Grado, where the Ciclovia Alpe Adria ends, after a wonderful, authentic, slow-moving tour through Friuli Venezia Giulia.