il Friuli Venezia Giulia nei BEST-IN-TRAVEL di Lonely Planet per il 2015

Il Friuli venezia Giulia è stato inserito per la prima volta dalla guida Lonely Planet nei #Top10 delle nuove destinazioni da scoprire in tutto il mondo nel 2016. Grande riconoscimento, speriamo che davvero ne segua una attrattività reale dei Turisti e che questi possano essere accompagnati da una crescita dei servizi a loro dedicati.


Friuli’s wine regions

Unless you’re a wine buff, the name might mean little to you right now, but Friuli – to the northeast of Venice – has garnered a cult following. The region’s picturesque wine routes, which crisscross a checkerboard of vineyards between Udine, Gorizia and Trieste, embrace everything from simple farmhouse tables where the latest vintage comes only by the jug to elegant fine-dining rooms and vertical tastings among the vines. In Friuli, talking terroir is a time-honoured way of life.

The name ‘Friuli’ has been popping up on smart wine lists around the world these past few years and a handful of boundary-pushing Friulian winemakers have become unlikely cult figures among wine cognoscenti far beyond Italy. While many fans might be content to sniff, swirl and swallow their fine aromatic whites, bold tangy reds and blow-your-mind natural ‘oranges’ at home, there’s a growing number who come to Friuli to experience for themselves the region’s rustic wine routes.

The word may be out, but this is still a very little visited destination, even by other Italians. From simple farmhouse tables where the latest vintage comes only by the jug, to elegant fine-dining rooms and vertical tastings among the vines, cellar doors are not a tourist attraction: breaking bread and talking terroir is a way of life.

Several certified growing regions (‘DOCs’) form a checkerboard between the cities of Udine, Gorizia and Trieste, with the highly respected Collio, Colli Orientali and the wildcard Carso only around an hour’s drive apart. In fact, the entire region is far from large, but its many micro-climates mean there’s variety to be had both for the palate and in an ever-shifting landscape of rolling hills, plains and not-so-distant Alps.

Life-changing experiences

Drive up into the rocky Carso region and hit the winding back roads during spring and it won’t be long before you spot your first red wooden arrow adorned with a tree branch. Following the frasca is a culinary treasure hunt that’s been going on for centuries, with osmize, pop-up cellar doors, the prize at the end of the trail. Here winemakers welcome you into their courtyards and barns to sample the Carso’s smoky, pear-scented Vitovska and deep violet-tinted Terrano. And because this is Friuli, a plate of cured ham and cheese is never far away.

Current craze

Friuli doesn’t just do indigenous grapes – it’s also a producer of some increasingly classy Sauvignons. So classy that in 2015, the Concours Mondial du Sauvignon competition decamped to Friuli, its first ever foray outside France. With the French wine police now paying its respects to Friulian Sauvignon, the rest of the world can’t be far behind.

Defining difference

Nestled up in Italy’s far northeast, Friuli Venezia Giulia has been Roman, Lombard, Venetian and Austro-Hungarian, with large slivers of the east still part of Slovenia until a hundred years ago. Its cities are, as you might imagine with that pedigree, cosmopolitan and cultural, boasting Tiepolo-ceilinged cathedrals and Habsburg grace and glamour. That said, the Friulani, known for both their stoic reserve and party-hard ways, maintain a close connection with the land.

Local lingo

Up in the Carso, above Trieste, the street signs and locals’ names reveal Slovenian origins, and this is still the first language of many of the winemakers. Further north, in Udine and the Collio, you’ll often spot Friulian on signs and hear older locals greet each other with a hearty ‘bundi!’.

Regional flavours

Friuli’s oft-shifting borders are reflected in its kitchens. Local ravioli, called cjalsons, are stuffed with caramelised onions and potatoes or beetroot and smoked ricotta. The local Montasio cheese is the base for the ubiquitous frico, that comes either crispy fried or in a soft potato pancake. Local prosciutto, too, is a staple while richly sauced meat dishes often feature rabbit and deer. Ask for a restaurant recommendation from someone in Udine and you’ll inevitably be steered towards a place out in the countryside, where these bold-flavoured dishes are served in a rustic setting.

By Donna Wheeler

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