«…Friuli is the universe in miniature; alpine, plain and lagoon landscapes in sixty miles from north to south»
(Ippolito Nievo, Le confessioni d’un italiano, chapter 1)
Before the Romans, it was occupied by the Celtic Carni tribe, then after the 2nd century BC, it became one of the most important regions in the Roman Empire, centre of the region which included Venice and Istria.
Then came Attila and the Huns who devastated and laid waste the region. But by then, the Latin influence had left its mark, bringing the culture of vines and wine.
Then came the Lombards, followed by the Franks, while the interaction between the “barbarian” and Latin cultures was gradually creating a new entity, one of the most advanced for the period, a sort of ecclesiastical principality based at Aquileia, an important religious, then political, centre for the region known as the Patrie dal Friûl.
Although this is not the place to go too deeply into the region’s history, it also includes the Republic of Venice, the Hapsburgs, Turks, Slavs and again the Austrians during the First World War. A frontier land, both politically and often also culturally. A contended, exposed land, history’s buffer.
Visiting the various districts of this always coveted, always contended land, the influences of the different epochs are not hard to find.
This also helps explain the reserved character of this hard-working people, always used to building and rebuilding, the only stable representatives of this territory and thus more than ever tightly bound to the land and to their Friulian identity.
This is confirmed, for example, by the dialects, with slight variations from district to district, but always inaccessible to the “forèst”, the visitor, almost as though this people wanted to preserve their identity intact even in their thoughts.
Furlàn is perhaps the real key to understanding this land.
To work, and to work well. For yourself, not to show how clever you are.
As a tribute to this splendid land, so rich and varied, so particular, different from clod to clod, but always Friuli – from the Alps to the sea, from the sandy beaches to the cliffs, from the Carso to the plains at the foot of the mountains. In Friuli, you really can find everything.