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5 days in Udine 2017 (Friuli-Venezia Giulia region)

susan

100+ Posts
This trip report details the Udine part of my 2017 trip to Italy. If you are interested in my full 2017 trip blog as well as seeing more photos of the Udine part of my trip, you can find the beginning of my 2017 trip blog HERE. At the bottom of each post is a link to the next page of my trip report in my blog.

Day 1 ~ Arrival in Venice & Travel to Udine

After my flight arrived in Venice, I passed through the passport security and retrieved my luggage. After a bit of searching, I found the ATVO counter where I bought a ticket to Piazzale Roma. I decided on purchasing a ticket for Piazzale Roma rather than a ticket to the Mestre train station. If I had to wait for a train, I would rather wait while enjoying a beautiful view in Venezia rather than spending time at a boring train station in Venezia Mestre. The bus took only 20 minutes to reach bella Venezia.

It was a short walk to the train station, although over a big bridge with many steps. I purchased my train ticket at one of the automatic ticket machines at the train station and then went to have my first caffè macchiato. Only one euro! The coffee at the train station was 10 times better than any coffee you will get at a Starbucks! Always amazing to me! Here's a photo of the view from the train station...

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The regional train took about two hours to reach Udine. When I arrived, the taxis were right outside the train station. My taxi driver was very nice, providing me with some tips about Udine as he drove me to my hotel.

I checked into my hotel (Allegria), unpacked my luggage and headed to the Vodafone store. I was very fortunate to find someone who spoke English as my transaction was extremely complicated. After dozens of questions and two trips, I finally sorted out my Sim card issues and successfully obtained an Italian phone number with a data plan for my phone.

In between my two visits, I visited the tourist information center in Udine to pick up some maps and get some other information about the area. The two ladies at the information center were extremely nice. While there, I decided to purchase the FVG tourist card, which provides free entrance to many museums in the area, free bus rides in Udine, a free train ride to/from Cividale del Friuli, as well as many other benefits. I purchased the 1 week FVG card, which cost 29 euros. *I highly recommend purchasing an FVG card if spending time in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. There are numerous benefits and cost savings with this card!

Jet leg was really setting in and it was just about dinner time. I wandered a bit looking for something simple for dinner. I ended up eating at Ristorante Pizzeria Al Gelso. This restaurant was not too far from my hotel. I ordered a delicious seafood salad, and was pretty much a zombie at this point. The waitress was a little concerned thinking that I didn’t like the food. I explained to her that I had been traveling for 24 hours and I was just very tired. She offered to put the rest of my salad in a to go box. I took her up on the offer and then became very lost trying to find my hotel again. Fortunately google maps saved the day.

Because the skies were sort of gray in Udine and I spent most of my time getting settled in. The only photo I took that day was the view from the Venice train station BUT, here is a peek of Udine. I took this photo in (I believe) Piazza XX Settembre at the end of one of my days in Udine.

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susan

100+ Posts
Day 2 ~ Udine with Friends

I woke up at 3 am and could not go back to sleep. Breakfast at the hotel was very good! There were many items to choose from, including fresh fruit salad, meats & cheeses, breads, cereals, eggs, and pastries.

A few weeks before my trip, Amy (a friend from Slow Travel and now Slow Europe) contacted me letting me know that she and her husband, Larry, would be staying not too far from Udine while I would be there. We made a plan to meet and spend the day together in Udine on Thursday.

After a few texts and a phone call, we set a time to meet. Larry dropped Amy off in front of my hotel and then he went to park the car. We chatted and caught up a bit while waiting for Larry to arrive. I met Amy once in person years ago in San Diego at a Slow Travel GTG. It was so nice to see her again and to meet her husband for the first time.

Amy had plans in mind for the day, which was great for me as I was still a little zombie like/jet lagged. The first thing we did was head to the Duomo.

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The Duomo contains beautiful frescoes on both the walls and ceiling as well as famous painting from Tiepolo.

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Right next door is the Museo del Duomo, which is located inside the Baptistry. There, we saw some incredible ancient frescoes.

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Next, we visited the Museo Diocesano e Gallerie del Tiepolo, which is located in the 18th century archbishop’s palace. Here you will find frescoes from Tiepolo, paintings, a blue room, a yellow room, a red room, a library full of ancient books, a cool staircase with a fresco from Tiepolo on the ceiling, and a collection of wooden statues from various nearby churches housed in the museum after an earthquake for safe keeping. A museum guard stuck close to us and provided many explanations, mostly to Larry, as Amy & I wandered around. *There are more photos of this museum on my blog.

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This museum also contains a glass case of ex votos. I have to thank Amy for explaining the ex voto as I never knew what the significance of these paintings were before. This ex voto was one of my favorites.

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After leaving the museum, we walked through the beautiful Piazza della Libertà where you will find the Loggia di San Giovanni with a very cool clock tower (similar to the one you will find in Piazza San Marco in Venice) ...

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as well as the pink and white striped Loggia del Lionello (Udine’s verson of the Dodge’s Palace in Venice).

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By this time, we were ready for lunch. We ate at Enoteca Giardinetto, a restaurant recommended by Shannon, another friend from Slow Travel/Slow Europe. We shared an antipasto – insalatina tiepida di polipo e patate con pomodorini, olive taggiasche (octopus and potato salad with tomatoes & olives).

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I ordered the garganelli con crema di burrata, melanzane e pomodori soleggiati. (pasta with burrata cream, eggplant, and sort of sundried tomatoes). Oh my gosh! SO SO GOOD!!!

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Amy ordered homemade gnocchi made from purple potatoes, with shrimp in a zucchini puree sauce and Larry ordered a sort of raw grilled tuna.

The biggest mistake I made during my time in Udine was to not return to this restaurant. At the time, I am not sure how it happened (I now think it was due to my jet lag haze) but somehow after searching their website for the days the restaurant was open, I was under some impression that they only were open for lunch and early evening as a wine bar. I even walked by one of the first evenings I was in Udine and saw that it was packed with people having drinks and antipasti around 5 pm. I just figured this enoteca type restaurant did not stay open for dinner. On my last day there, I walked by and saw the hours in the window. I realized then that they were open for dinner, but of course they were closed that night!

After lunch, we went Oggi Gelato, an excellent gelateria! I ordered pistachio, which was pretty good. I returned the next day and ordered the nocciola (hazelnut) gelato. It was amazingly delicious! I ended up going there many times during my stay. By my last visit, the girl behind the counter knew me and probably knew just what I was about to order!

After a wonderful lunch, we walked back towards my hotel to visit the Museo Etnografico di Friuli (Ethnographic Museum).

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This was one of my favorite museum visits during my trip this year! This museum houses a large collection of items displaying life in Friuli from the 18th century to the 20th century, including more ex votos.

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Once again we had a museum guard hang out with us during most of our visit. This time, she was very helpful, providing us with extra information about many of the items in the museum and answering our questions. *There are more photos of this museum on my blog.

After our museum visit, I waited outside the museum with Amy while Larry went to get the car and then we said our goodbyes. They were heading back to the US the following day. I am so grateful it worked out to spend the day together! I had such a wonderful time with both Amy & Larry!

After our goodbyes, I went back to my hotel, put my head on my pillow for 1 minute, and woke up 4 1/2 hours later! That was not my plan! I was so groggy. I went out and walked around a bit intending to find a place for dinner, but was too tired. I grabbed a couple of items at the grocery store and went back to my hotel for the night.

What a great first full day of my trip! Thank you, Amy & Larry!!!
 
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susan

100+ Posts
Day 3 ~ Friday in Trieste

Because of jet lag, I woke up super early again. This worked out perfectly for my planned trip to Trieste as I needed to catch an early train in order to take the 10 am tour of the city of Trieste.

I walked to the nearby bus station at 6:45 am. The bus stop was a quick walk from my hotel. The bus arrived soon after I arrived at the bus stop. It’s a good thing another person was also taking this bus because I forgot that you need to put your arm out to indicate that you want the bus to stop or the bus may not stop even though you are standing right at the bus stop looking right at the bus.

I was able to quickly purchase a ticket using the train ticket machine and made the 7:09 train/arriving in Trieste at 8:29. There were quite a few stops along the way. Towards the end of the train ride, the views of the Adriatic Sea were beautiful. Once the train arrived in Trieste, it was an easy walk to the historic center. Along the way, I stopped in front of the famous Canal Grande.

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Trieste is a bustling city with lots of tall buildings. I was glad to see cross walks with lights. It would have been much more of a challenge to navigate this city on foot without the lights.

It was only a bit farther to walk to the tourist information center, located in Piazza Unità d’Italia. The tourist information center was not open yet, so I went in search of Antico Caffè Torinese. I read that this caffè was supposed to be a very cool old caffè. I wasn’t that impressed but the coffee was good.

After my coffee, I returned to the tourist information center. I wanted to make sure to get a spot on the tour (which I was able to take for free with my FVG card). I rarely take tours but wanted to take a tour while in Trieste since I would only be there for the day and thought that would be the best use of my time instead of wandering aimlessly, not really knowing what I was seeing or trying to find places and getting lost all day.

I showed the woman in the office my card and was told to come back at 10:30. For some reason, I thought the tour was at 10, but now I had more time to kill. I asked her where I could find a little fruit store. She told me that there was a food market in the Canal Grande area. I walked back there, admiring the buildings along the way.

When I arrived at the market, I checked out all of the fruit and vegetable stands and chose one with delicious looking nectarines. I asked for one nectarine and the man gave it to me for free! What a nice man! I wandered around a bit more, looking in shops and admiring more of the beautiful buildings before heading back to Piazza Unità d’Italia

Back out in front of the tourist information center, a few people started to congregate. I struck up a conversation with a nice couple from Pisa. At 10:30, a woman came outside and introduced herself to all of us. I can’t remember her name, but she was a great tour director. There were about 12 of us in total taking the tour, half speaking Italian and half speaking English. Our director conducted the tour in both languages (in Italian always first).

We started the tour right in Piazza Unità d’Italia. Piazza Unità d’Italia is the largest piazza in Europe located next to the sea.

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Before 1919 it was known as Piazza Grande or the Great Square. The buildings you will find in this beautiful piazza include the Palazzo del Municipio with the Fontana dei Quattro Continenti, the Palazzo del Governo, which houses the offices of the Prefecture, the Palazzo del Lloyd, and the Palazzo Stratti with the historic Caffè degli Specchi. *You will find photos of these buildings on my blog.

Next, we walked over to see two churches which are located on the slopes of the hill of San Giusto in the oldest part of the city. They were built right next to each other. The larger of the two churches, Il Santuario di Santa Maria Maggiore, was built between 1627 and 1682 by the Jesuits and was not completed until the beginning of the eighteenth century. The smaller of the two churches, La Basilica di San Silvestro, is one of the oldest churches in Trieste, dating back to the 12th century.

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Not far from the churches, we stopped in front of the Arco di Riccardo, which possibly dates back to 33 BC and is an ancient archway or Roman gate that was built into the Roman walls. There are other stories about this arch, including something about Richard the Lionheart but they may be just legends.

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After everyone took a few photos, we walked up another hill to see visit the Cattedrale di San Giusto. It is the major church of the city. This church has a tiny tower located next to it. I had plans to return to climb this tower, but never ended up getting back to this area that day.

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We were able to spend a few minutes inside of the beautiful church where you will find some very cool mosaics and frescoes. I have more photos of this church on my blog.

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Next on the tour, not far from the church we visited an area with a monument on the left, a row of trees, and to the right of that, the Castello di San Giusto along with ruins outside the castle.

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From there, you could look out into the sea. Our tour director pointed out some of the sights from this viewpoint. We then started to head back downhill to see a glimpse of the Teatro Romano.

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One of our last stops was a visit to the Chiesa Serbo Ortodossa di San Spiridione, which is located on the Canal Grande. We only were given a minute to walk through the church. I went back later to spend more time in this church but it was closed.

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The last part of the tour took us back close to where we started. Our tour director told us about a few more important newer buildings in Trieste in the Piazza della Borsa area.

I am really glad I took the tour. It was very informative! After the tour ended, I asked the tour director for a recommendation for lunch. I wanted to find a place to eat away from the more touristy area of the city. She recommended a place called Trattoria alla Gioconda. She said it was about a 15 minute walk. No problem!

I put the restaurant into google maps and started on my way. One hour later, after walking around in circles and having google maps announce to me twice that I had arrived at my destination, I somehow ended up right in front of the trattoria by accident just as I was about to give up! The main problem I had trying to find this place was that many of the streets have no street signs on the buildings. Also, google was a big fail!

I was so glad there was a table available when I arrived. I was starving! I ordered spaghetti alle vongole (with clams). The trattoria was filled with local people. My plate was huge. The food was good. After paying my bill, I asked the owner for better directions. He walked out with me and pointed out the way. It took me just 10 minutes to get back to where I started!

I stopped in a couple of shops and then noticed a few people walking around eating gelato and went in search for the gelateria. I hit the jackpot, finding the very delicious Cremeria Teresiana, which is located near the Canal Grande. Only 1.50€ for a delicious cup of nocciola gelato. YUM!!

After finishing my gelato, I walked back to Piazza Unità d’Italia and ordered a caffè macchiato at the bar inside the very beautiful Caffè degli Specchi.

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I took a few more photos in the piazza and then walked over to the sea, spending some time there taking photos and just enjoying the sounds, sights and smells of the Adriatic Sea.

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I checked the train times. The 16:52 train only took 1 hour to reach Udine. The following train, leaving 30 minutes later, would take 1 1/2 hours to reach Udine. I decided to head to the train station to catch the next (faster) train, which was leaving in about 20 minutes. The walk back to the station was easy and only took about 10 minutes.

The train back from Trieste to Udine was one of the newer trains, which even had a bike rack. It was a pretty cool train as far as regional trains go in Italy- lots of space, air conditioned, clean, filled with lots of technology announcing the stops, the temperature, the time, etc.

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I really enjoyed my day in Trieste and would love to spend more time there someday.
 
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susan

100+ Posts
Day 3 part 2 ~ Friday back in Udine

After arriving back in Udine, I went to check out the bus signs in front of the train station, looking for bus information for Aquileia. I couldn’t find any info anywhere so I decided to just catch the bus back to Piazza Garibaldi (which was not far from my hotel) and figure out the bus stuff later.

This was my first time taking a bus back to my hotel from the train station. There are a few buses that stop at Piazza Garibaldi. I can’t remember the number bus I got on, but I am pretty sure it was the same number bus I took in the morning. I realized pretty quickly that the bus I was on was not heading towards my hotel. Instead, it was heading in a direction far away from the centro. I thought perhaps this particular bus was going to stop at a couple of other stops and then turn towards Piazza Garibaldi. NOPE!

The bus continued to travel farther and farther away. At one point, I went up to ask the bus driver if the bus would be stopping at Piazza Garibaldi and found out that I got on the bus that went in the opposite direction. The bus driver told me that after reaching the end of the route, the bus would turn around and head back towards the train station, stop across the street from the train station (where I should have got on the bus), and then head towards Piazza Garibaldi (just 3 stops later). There went my saving time taking an earlier faster train back from Trieste! On the plus side, I did get a nice tour of an area of Udine I would have never seen if I was not on that bus.

As we continued on, I became a little more nervous. I did this once before in Bologna and ended up sitting in an empty area for quite a while before the bus finally turned around.

I wanted to make sure I understood what the bus driver said before getting too far from the centro so I went back up to ask the bus driver again just to make sure that I understood what he said the first time and since I was talking to someone who probably knew about the bus to Aquileia, I also asked him where I would find that bus. He assured me that we would eventually stop at Piazza Garibaldi and also told me that the bus for Aquileia was located across the street, down a little from the train station at the autostazione, which is not the stazione (train station) but the autostazoine (bus station)! Another plus on getting on the wrong bus. If not, I probably would have missed my bus to Aquileia the following morning. Buses are not my favorite type of transportation.

As we started back towards the train station, the bus driver called me up and showed me just where the autostazoine for the bus to Aquileia was located. He also asked me where I was from, why I was in Udine, where I learned to speak Italian, etc. We ended up chatting all the way until we got to my stop. I was very fortunate to be on a bus with a very nice bus driver! That bus ride ended up being one of the most memorable bus rides of my trip. *I really need to remember though that often the bus returning to your destination is departs from the opposite side of the street!

Once back at my hotel, I checked on the computer I was borrowing for the locations of a couple of self service laundromats I wanted to check out. I usually just wash my clothes in the sink at my hotel in the evening and hang them to dry using a rubber braided laundry cord, but I had jeans I wore on the airplane that I wanted to wash in a laundromat. Jeans don’t dry that well overnight. I have scent problems and needed to find a laundromat that would work for me.

The first laundromat I went to – Lavanderia Self Service on Via Caiselli, 23, was located not that much farther than Oggi Gelato. It was on a little corner street next to this place that looked like a store selling interesting food items called L’Alimentare.

I checked out the Lavanderia Self Service first. If I remember correctly, there were 4 smaller washers and 2 larger washers. I think the same for dryers and I think it was about 8 euros total for the combined washer/dryer price. There were very clear directions as well as photos describing the steps to use each machine. There was a place to insert paper euros and another place for coins. It seemed pretty clean except for where you insert the laundry soap. There seemed to be caked and goopy leftover soap and softener in the slots from previous usage. I cannot use any type of scented laundry detergent and do not use softeners (because of the scent). This was my only concern at this laundromat.

I went back to the little food shop, L’Alimentare, to check out the foods they were selling. I found out that not only did they sell food items such as sauces, pasta, olive oil, wine, etc., but they also had prepared foods you could warm up and eat there or take to go. Since it was getting late and I had not even thought about dinner yet, I decided to order some food to go. The people who run this place were very nice. I ordered some eggplant parmigiana, some pecorino cheese, and a french mango fruit juice drink.

Next, I headed to the second lavandaria, called Lavandaria Self Service SPLASH & PET WASH, which was located on Via Pracchiuso, 19. This is not the only splash & pet wash in Italy! I found some others on the internet in many of the places I would be staying. I assume these places wash clothes and pets? I put the address in my phone and used google maps to find it. It was located a bit farther from where you will find the tourist information center.

The directions took me past Piazza Primo Maggio. There I found a huge food fair happening. I saw a Despar ’17 Festival sign and figured this was part of the Despar Festival Amy, Larry, and I saw happening at a church not too far from my hotel when we were exploring Udine on Thursday. We weren’t sure what it was all about, but I thought this must be part of the festival. There were stands all along the huge circle surrounding the piazza.

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Most were food stands but there were also stands with other items such as hats, shoes, clothing, trinkets, etc. Many of the stands represented countries such as Portugal, Spain, Mexico, France, Austria, Slovenia, Israel, Greece, USA (New York cheesecake), the Netherlands, England, Switzerland, and so many more places! Other stands represented different regions of Italy.

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I was now regretting purchasing the food from L’Alimentare with all this yummy food and so many choices! I wandered around the circle looking at all of the food and enjoying the music coming from all of the stands (many of the stands seemed to be having competitions).

At one point, I decided I better get to the 2nd laundromat before it closed and then I could return to eat my food from L’Alimentare along with a dessert from one of the stands.

The pet wash laundromat was very clean BUT it did not allow you to use your own laundry soap. Instead, the machine added soap that was somehow already in the machine. That was a deal breaker for me. I did not want to take the chance of having my clothes washed with a scented laundry soap.

I returned to what I thought was the Despar Festival and found a picnic table, where I ate my eggplant parmigiana. I saved the cheese for later and went in search for a dessert. It was between the cannoli stand and some baklava. I really wanted both but did not have room, so went for one of the cannoli.

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YUM!! It was so rich that I was only able to eat about a third of it. I saved the rest for breakfast the following morning.

I came across this cool “urban hugs” art display on my way home.

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The world sure needs a few more hugs!
 
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susan

100+ Posts
Day 4 ~ Saturday in Aquileia

After eating a delicious breakfast and grabbing stuff to take with me, I headed to the bus stop near my hotel, got off at the train station stop, crossed the street, and found the autostazione. I went inside to purchase my ticket for the 10 am bus and was told that there was no 10 am bus. Again, buses are NOT my friend!

The next bus for Aquileia departed at 11 am. Instead of hanging out at the bus station for an hour, I caught a bus back to Piazza Garibaldi (departing on the correct side of the street) and walked around window shopping.

Back to the bus station I went about 45 minutes later, waiting at the correct bus lane location for my bus. At first there were only a few people waiting nicely in line, but then typically Italian style, other people came up acting obliviously (but pretty much intentionally) cutting right in line in front of all of us waiting and annoyingly many were smoking cigarettes in the line.

The bus ended up being very crowded since the final stop was in Grado (a seaside resort), it was a Saturday, and it was a beautiful day for the beach.

I was fortunate to grab a seat with an empty seat next to me near the front of the bus for the ride to Aquileia. This bus stopped many many times along the way. The bus driver did not announce any of the stops. Again, I became a little nervous about missing my stop. As we got closer to Aquileia, I asked the bus driver to please let me know when we arrived in Aquileia and to stop for me there.

Aquileia was an easy little town to navigate. I took this photo of Roman burial urns as I walked on the main road, heading towards the Basilica. I can’t remember now if these were just in a yard or part of a museum that was closed that day.

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Turning down the road for the Basilica, I first came across the Palazzo Meizlik. I was in luck as there was a special mostra or show taking place there called “Made in Roma and Aquileia”, which would be ending on May 31st. My FVG card got me in for free.

The bottom floor of the Palazzo Meizlik contained a mosaic display, which I assume is there permanently.

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The 2nd floor (or Italian 1st floor) contained the Made in Roma and Aquileia mostra, displaying various items used in everyday life, including those made of glass, bricks, metal, and ceramics. There were even old water pipes! There was information listed in both Italian and English about each type of material, the significance of each, and how they were used. There also was an emphasis on stamps used in each type of medium.

Photos below include: pic 2- brick with stamp / pic 3 - metal pipe / pic 4 - lamp with menorah / and pic 5 - a very fancy beauty case. The others are pretty obvious.

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After leaving the Palazzo Meizlik, I decided to backtrack a little and head over to the tourist information center, just in case it closed later on. I wanted to check on the bus times back to Udine, since the timetable I read for departing times to Aquileia did not match the times the bus ran that morning.

I never can figure out bus schedules in Italy with the feriale and festivo and other exclusions, options, etc. The woman at the information center was not very helpful. She gave me a schedule and told me that I just needed to figure it out using the key. I’ve read the key and that was the problem! Finally after repeated questions, she decided to explain the key to me, taking her highlighter out, making all kinds of marks on the schedule she gave me. I did not need to know about when the bus ran on Sundays, holidays, etc. In the end, I still had to ask her to point out the times the bus was running that day. A simple question just needed a simple answer.

With bus info noted, I walked back to where the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta (church with the mosaic floor) and the Campanile della Basilica (tower) were located and decided to climb the tower first.

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The FVG card got me free entrance. I believe there were about 125-130 steps to the top of this tower. That does not sound like a lot but the circular steps were very tall, which made this a tough climb. I would say it was one of the tougher climbs I have done and I have climbed a lot of towers in Italy.

My legs were like jello when I reached the top and I wasn’t the only one that felt that way. Everyone who climbed to the top while I was up there reacted in the same way. It still was worth it though! Beautiful views and very cool bells at the top!

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Saving the best for last, I walked next door to visit the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta. The outside of this church is nothing special but the inside of this church is what everyone comes to see.

The spectacular floor of this church is covered in mosaics featuring geometric figures, birds, animals, fish, and illustrations of the story of Jonah all dating back to the 4th century. The floor is 760 meters in size and is the largest Paleo-Christian mosaic floor in the western world. It is protected by a clear plexiglass walkway that goes around the perimeter of the inside of the church. No photos are allowed inside the church but I did manage to take this photo outside looking into the church.

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The entrance to the church is free, but there is a small charge to visit the two crypts. The FVG card will get you into the crypts for free. Photos were allowed in the crypts. I took this photo of the amazing frescoes in the crypt at the front of the church.

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I also visited the Baptistery, which is located next door to the church (the building on the right).

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Unfortunately, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale was closed. I initially planned a visit to Aquileia on Friday (because this museum was closed on Saturday) and a trip to Trieste on Saturday, but forgot about the closed museum on Friday in Aquileia when I switched plans and went to Trieste instead on Friday in my jet lag haze. Oh well! Aquileia was still definitely worth the visit even without a trip to the Archeological Museum.

Because of the time and the bus schedule options, I decided to skip walking to the outdoor roman ruins area and catch the next bus back so that I would have a little bit of time in the afternoon to explore more of Udine.

There was a young girl waiting at the bus stop when I arrived. I was glad she was there as it assured me that a bus would be coming, especially since the bus was late. It wasn’t as full as the bus I took in the morning. There were lots of stops and pretty views. A couple of the towns along the way looked interesting for a future visit.

A tower climb, a cool museum show, and an incredible church visit ~ I really enjoyed my time in Aquileia!!
 
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susan

100+ Posts
Day 4 part 2 ~ Saturday back in Udine

After the bus from Aquileia arrived back in Udine, I walked a couple of blocks to the correct bus stop across the street from the train station. Once back in the centro, my first stop was a visit to Oggi Gelato. Their nocciola gelato is heavenly!!

Next, I headed to the Castello di Udine. The castle was rebuilt after a terrible earthquake that destroyed the building in 1511.

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There are two ways to get to the castle from Piazza della Libertà – walking through the L’Arco Bollini (constructed in 1556 by Andrea Palladio) and then up the stairway

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OR walking up the walkway where you will find the beautiful Porticato del Lippomano (constructed in 1487). I took the stairs up and later the walkway back down.

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There are three museums housed inside the Castello di Udine. There also was a mostra (show) happening on the top floor. My FVG card got me into the 3 museums for free.

The Museo Archeologico is not very big but I LOVED this sculpture. It was so realistic looking. The sleeves looked just like fabric flowing freely.

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The Museo del Risorgimento was all about the military. It was pretty interesting covering a large timeline.

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Not far from the entrance to the third museum, the Galleria d’Arte Antica, there was a screen showing this man sitting at a desk writing.

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As I walked closer to the screen, all of a sudden he looked up and said “Salve” and then continued to speak in Italian. I jumped! I did not expect that. After a minute or so, he got up out of his chair and walked to the side of the desk, continuing to talk. I am not sure what he was talking about, but the whole thing was quite amusing.

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The Galleria d’Arte Antica is the oldest museum (established in 1866). This gallery of ancient art has 13 rooms, one of which is used for temporary exhibitions.

This painting – S. Francesco che riceve le stigmate (St. Francis Receiving the Stigmate) by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio - takes up the entire wall, floor to ceiling. Interestingly, the authenticity of this painting is now being questioned as it may be a Caravaggio copy. It was pretty amazing to me though!

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What interested me the most while visiting this gallery was this amazing painting of an ancient map of the city of Udine by Luca Carlevarijs. I am not sure of the year it was painted but the sign says Pianta Prospettica di Udine – Luca Carlevarijs – 1663-1739. The painting was roped off, but I made friends with another museum guard and was able to get a closer look.

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She was quite curious why I spoke some Italian and even more so, why I was in Udine! She rarely meets any Americans and found it quite interesting that I would spend time in her city. She removed the rope and let me get quite close to this painting.

We talked about how the similarities and differences of Udine back then and now. The most interesting thing was seeing the Castello, the Duomo, the Piazza della Libertà, the Loggia di San Giovanni, and the Torre dell’Orologio all right there in that ancient painting just as it is today.

I also loved these paintings, located in the same room. They give you a very good idea of life back then, or at least the fashions of the time…

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As I was ready to leave, the museum guard insisted that I go take a look at the mostra (show) on the top floor, which was not included as free admission with the FVG card. The guy at the entrance told me that the mostra was about propaganda for I believe WWII but I can’t really remember now for sure. He said I probably would not be interested but he would let me in for free. I went to take a look since she told me it was fine but it really did not hold my interest so I only spent a few moments there.

I headed back outside and took some photos of the views from the castle. Here's one...

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I could see the place with all of the food from the various countries and regions of Italy from the castle. I decided to walk over there, thinking that I could get something to go and take it with me to the laundromat. Unfortunately 6 pm was much too early for dinner to be made in Italy!

I walked back to my hotel, grabbed my laundry, and then walked back over to the first laundromat I checked out, Lavanderia Self Service on Via Caiselli, 23.

There was one man there waiting for his laundry to finish drying. Good thing he was there because he told me that the paper euro slot did not work. It just eats your money. Of course I did not have enough coins with me. He was so nice checking to see if he had any, but he did not have enough either to make change. I went back over to L’Alimentare, where I bought some food the night before, hoping they would remember me. They did but were not excited about giving me a bunch of coins for change. They did though and I thanked them over and over again.

I travel with a small pack of wet ones and brought a couple with me to clean out the slots where the laundry soap and softener leftovers were caked and goopy to make sure no scented smell would get on my clothing. It was an easy process to wash/dry my clothes. Both the washer and dryer each took 30 minutes. Much faster than I thought it would take.

I thought about getting some food to eat from L’Alimentare but all the food had raw onions (which I cannot eat) except for their eggplant parmigiana, which I did not want to eat two nights in a row. Instead, I decided to walk back to my hotel and eat there since I was tired and I saw on their menu that they (as well as most restaurants) serve the famous Frico.

The waitress was very nice. My dinner was ‘eh’! There were a lot of should haves on what I should have done for dinner while I was in Udine, but c’est la vie. It was nice to be able to just walk upstairs after a late night dinner.

All in all it was a wonderful afternoon in Udine and my laundry was done!
 
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susan

100+ Posts
Day 5 ~ Sunday in Cividale del Friuli

Sunday morning, my last day staying in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy. After a quick breakfast, I headed to the train station and took the 30 minute little private train to visit Cividale del Friuli. This train runs back and forth between Udine & Cividale with 4 stops along the way. My FVG card qualified me for a free ride roundtrip. I believe if paying for the ride, you would purchase a ticket from one of the tabaccheria shops.

Most of the people on the train that morning seemed to be heading to Cividale for a visit rather than residents of the area. When the train arrived in Cividale, I made friends with a nice Italian couple who also were visiting Cividale for the first time.

Amy gave me a map of Cividale del Friuli, but the map was a shot of the town from the sky and was of no help in how to find the centro (historic center of the town). The funny thing was, there was this big map posted up on the side of the road, but it was the same map (photo of the town taken from up in the sky). The Italian couple even commented about how useless that map was.

Together, we eventually found the centro after stopping and asking people three times along the way. We parted ways once we found the centro.

I ended up being in Cividale del Friuli on the 4th Sunday of the month, when the huge antique flea market takes place. Many people love these markets. I don’t. They take up all the streets and block photo opportunities. Mostly junk seems to be sold at these markets. Stuff you would find in your attic or garage that you want to get rid of, but to each his/her own. I prefer seeing the beautiful buildings in the town.

My first stop was the beautiful Caffè San Marco for my morning caffè macchiato.

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The Museo Archeologico Nazionale was not far from the caffè. At the ticket counter, I met a very nice man who gave me two different maps of the town, circled the important places to visit, drew routes back to the train station, and commented about his irritation of the Sunday market outside. My FVG card got me free entrance. I spent about an hour wandering through the two floors of this interesting museum. Here's one photo from the museum. There are more on my Cividale del Friuli blog post.

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After leaving the Archeological Museum, I stopped in the nearby Duomo and then went in search of Il Tempietto Longobordo. I knew this place was a “must” visit but really had no idea what to expect. There is a path to follow when visiting and at first I really wondered what the big deal was about the Tempietto Longobordo. At one point, the path takes you to an outdoor area...

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...where there are incredible views.

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Finally, you arrive at the jewel of the visit… the Longobordo Temple. WOW! Really incredible. My photos do not do justice to the beauty of this little temple.

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After leaving the Tempietto Longobordo, I stumbled upon the beautiful Chiesa dei Santi Pietro e Biagio.

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There, I ran into the nice Italian couple from the train. Unfortunately the church was closed but the frescoes on the outside were worth the stop.

I did not do any research before my visit to Cividale del Friuli but was craving a pizza. As I walked up a hill back towards one of the main streets of the town, I saw a cute pizzeria called Pizzeria Ristorante 4S. I was able to get a table. I ordered a pizza con mozzarella di bufala e rucola (pizza with buffalo mozzarella cheese and arugola). The crust was burnt a little too much but it still was pretty good.

After lunch, I next went in search of the famous bridge – il Ponte del Diavolo. Below is a photo I saw in the pizzeria of an older Ponte del Diavolo bridge. Not sure if I would cross that one!

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Cividale del Friuli is one of the towns in Italy where street signs on the buildings seem to be more of a mystery. I walked and walked. up and down hills, around corners, down little alleys searching for this bridge using both the two maps in hand and the google map on my phone. Somehow I ended up back in front of the entrance to the Tempietto Longobordo. There I found a nice couple. They did not know the way either but looked on their phone to see if they could help me. At first they sent me the wrong way, but then called me back when they figured out the best way to get to the bridge.

Yay!! I found the bridge!

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The view from the bridge was spectacular! It was similar to the view from the Tempietto Longobordo, just from a different vantage point.

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Back on the centro, the market was over. It was nice to see an empty street and a full view of the buildings again.

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Cividale del Friuli was a fun place to visit but my feet were tired and it was about time to head back to Udine. I decided to take a different route back to the train station. It was more of a direct route but a gamble as I usually end up lost.

This strange looking modern bank in the distance (which is located quite close to the train station) assured me that I was headed in the correct direction.

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Train station located! Success!

After returning to Udine, I once again headed to Oggi Gelato for one more scoop of nocciola. The girl recognized me this time and smiled as I ordered the same gelato. YUM!! Oh how I wish I could have a scoop right now!

I walked up and down a few more streets yet explored, found an interesting little public park. I also went back to Piazza della Libertà one more time and then started to think about dinner.

Many places were closed on Sunday, including that delicious restaurant, Enoteca Giardinetto, where Amy, Larry, & I ate. I decided to go back to the area with all of the food from various countries and regions of Italy and order that Slovenian dish called a raznjici that I was eying the night before.

They weren’t quite ready to serve dinner yet, but part of Miss Italia was being filmed. I sat and watched with amusement until my food was ready. I ordered my Slovenian dish of grilled chicken and vegetables and then headed back to my hotel to pack.
 
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susan

100+ Posts
Departing Udine Monday morning / thoughts on Udine / my hotel review

Departing Udine

All packed, I went down for breakfast, chatted for a bit with the very nice waitress, and then went to check out of my hotel.

I decided to take the city bus to the train station instead of a taxi. It was an easy walk to the bus station and the bus was usually not very crowded.

When checking out of my hotel, Massimo suggested that I should purchase an extra bus ticket at the corner tabaccheria, which costs €1,25 in addition to using my FVG card because of my luggage. That was a much cheaper deal than taking a taxi and really just as easy.

No one ended up checking my ticket but you never know. I already had my train ticket when I arrived at the train station. I boarded the 10:07 regional veloce train (1 hr 16 min) to Treviso and said arrivederci to Udine!

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Thoughts on Udine and the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region

I really enjoyed my first visit to Udine and the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy. If I ever return, I will probably stay in a different town or city in the region, just to get to know another area more in depth. There were so many cute places along the bus route that would be fun to visit. I also would love to spend more time in Trieste and return to Aquilea to visit the archeological museum. I also think it would be fun to visit Slovenia as it was so close to Trieste!

I did not have the best luck with food in Udine, but it could have been partly due to not enough time to research the area (this was my first last minute trip to Italy instead of the months of advanced planning). Otherwise I really enjoyed spending time in the interesting little city of Udine.

Review of my hotel – Allegria:

The hotel was clean and modern. The room was spacious. The bathroom was nice. Great breakfasts! Very nice person serving breakfast as was the waitress who served me dinner one night at their restaurant.

The hotel is located very close to the centro and also close to a bus stop where a few different bus lines will take you quickly to the train station.

The wifi is free but there is not a password and so it was not secure. I was given a very old PC laptop to use (the use of a hotel computer was indicated on the website). I was very grateful for this offer. The laptop of course had an Italian keyboard, which can be a challenge, but it also came in handy a few times. I mostly used my phone and the data from my phone plan in Italy.

The air condition worked nicely. The room was quiet. You are given a plastic card (the size of a credit card) as your key card to use during your stay. The photo of the room on their website was accurate.

My only negative was the mixed feelings about the people who worked at the desk. The couple (older man and woman) were not very helpful and I often felt like I was putting them out when asking questions. At other times, Massimo worked at the front desk. He was extremely friendly and helpful.
 
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FedericoBoston

New Member
Thank you Susan for your great balancing of practicalities, history & culture, cucina e bevande, and terrific pix with informative captions.
Friuli-Venezia-Giulia is on my short list; your report turbocharged my interest.
May I ask (I know it was over 4 years ago), did you feel there was a lot of non-Italian tourist pressure? I'm seeking both regions I haven't visited, and a respite from the crowds and tourism-influenced atmosphere of the 1st- and 2nd-"string" destinations.
 

susan

100+ Posts
Hi Federico,

Appreciate your comments about my trip report.

I'm not sure what you mean by non-Italian tourist pressure. I still remember my trip well. The region was probably one of the least touristy regions I have visited and I suspect would be even less visited right now. Most of the tourists I encountered were Italian tourists. I visited Cividale del Friuli on a Sunday. It was crowded with tourists but I suspect it is because it was a weekend. Aquileia was probably the most touristy place but that did not really bother me. Even on a tour, Trieste still felt more like being in an Italian city rather than a tourist location. If I returned, I probably would stay there for a few nights. The locals I encountered throughout my time there were very friendly.

Amy wrote about her time in Friuli here. This may give you another perspective on the region.

Hope this helps!
susan
 

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