Friuli-Venezia Giulia is an often-overlooked corner of northeastern Italy that only became an official autonomous region of the country in 1963. Given its obscure location and sparse population, it is the perfect destination for adventure seekers looking for a unique experience that's off the beaten path. Friuli-Venezia Giulia is also one of the most culturally diverse corners of the country, with strong Slavic and Germanic influences that come from its Slovenian and Austrian neighbors.
If you're visiting the region, here are some ideas for your itinerary:
-The Adriatic Sea: While the seaside resorts here are built primarily for the enjoyment of the scenic beaches, Friuli-Venezia Giulia is also a haven for water sports and leisure sailing.
-Alpine skiing: The terrain in Friuli-Venezia Giulia is largely mountainous, making for outstanding skiing and snowboarding.
-The Road of Wine and Cherries: One of several scenic drives in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the Road of Wine and Cherries offers an up-close look at the quiet country lifestyle enjoyed by the region's residents. Also, check out the Road of Terrano Wine, the Road of Ham and Castles, and the Road of Montasio Cheese.
-Communing with nature: Alpine lakes, regional parks, forests and nature preserves dot the pristine landscape of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Some of the outdoor activities you can enjoy include camping, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, and spelunking.
-Trieste: While Trieste is no longer the powerful cultural center it once was, this one-time home of James Joyce does command an impressive view of the Adriatic Sea and rewards visitors with charming architecture and an Eastern European flavor.
During your visit to Friuli-Venezia Giulia, why not stay in a vacation rental rather than a hotel? These accommodations are quieter, roomier and more private than traditional hotels, and offer all the amenities and comforts of home.
Friuli-Venezia Giulia is ideally situated for exploring the Adriatic Coast or heading into northern or Eastern Europe. Vienna is only a few hours away by train, and neighboring Slovenia is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful and underappreciated corners of continental Europe.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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