Venice, Friuli, Trieste & Slovenia
April 13 - 20 , 2010
Our tour is a capsule look at the region of Friuli, the fourth smallest region of Italy (an area bigger than Delaware, smaller than Connecticut). It is the most northeastern of Italy’s 20 regions, between Venice and Vienna.
The correct name of this region is Friuli-Venezia Giulia, but for reasons of clarity, we will refer to this region, as most Italians do, simply as Friuli. The region is defined by a difficult history. Invaded and ruled by Romans, Huns, Goths, Lombards and the Nazis. Under Austrian domination for centuries, a part of Italy since 1866. Friulianis take their checkered history in stride with a shrug of the shoulders. It has not dulled their lust for life.
The Grand Canal
Arrive in Venice. Transfer on your own to our hotel just a few minutes from St. Mark’s Square.
Late afternoon private taxi ride down the Grand Canal passing by the fabulous palazzos: Ca Rezzonico Ca d’Oro, Pallazo Barbaro, Palazzo Grassi and more.
Early group dinner.
Art & Architecture Walking Tour ... St. Mark’s Square, Doges Palace, Frari Church and Scuola Grande di San Rocco with its amazing collection of 66 Tintoretto paintings.
The Doge's Palace
Private tour in the afternoon of Fenice Opera House, recently reopened after
a devastating fire in 1996.
Dinner with group not included in tour price.
Optional Day to do as you wish. Venice has a rich collection of museums ranging from the Accademia to Peggy Guggenheim Museum to the Doge's Palace. We’ll help you plot your day.
Group dinner included.
Morning departure by train for 2-hour ride to Udine in Friuli.
We will be met by our guide and driver, Sonia. She and her husband run a travel agency in Cividale. Sonia is super efficient, young, energetic and the perfect person to introduce us to Friuli and Slovenia.
Guided visit of Udine, charming medieval town in the heart of Friuli with a distinctive Venetian flavor. In 1420, Udine surrendered to Venice and remained under her influence for three and a half centuries. Its Piazza della Liberta echoes the architecture of Venice with a Palladio-designed passage way that leads to the castle on a hill with views of the Alps.
We then take a short ride to Aquileia to see its few remaining Roman ruins
and its imposing basilica. The Basilica of Aquileia was first built
in 313 AD. Over the centuries it has been rebuilt five times.
Predominantly Romanesque and Gothic architecture, it has one of the most
beautiful and largest mosaic floors in the world. The basilica is a truly unique
Afternoon: Check into the Astoria Hotel, a 4-star hotel, and our base for the next couple of nights. Travel to the enchanting Spessa castle in the renowned Collio wine country and visit the wine cellars and the beautiful park surrounding the Castle. Cooking lesson with Chef Tonino in the castle kitchen. Preparation of a 3-course menu of regional dishes followed by dinner with wine from the castle estate.
One hour drive to Trieste, the capital of Friuli-Venezia Giulia set between the blue waters of its gulf, the green hills and the white rocks of the Corso
Check into our 4-star hotel right in the center of Trieste, and then visit
the city’s historic center and the Miramare Castle, the beautiful former home of Maximilian and his wife Charlotte.
Lunch at osmizze (farmhouse restaurant) of simple food, most of it from the
farm. The journalist will recount the history of the area; it used to be part of
Slovenia and its residents still consider themselves
Slovenians). As we sip the local wine, she will tell stories about the regional
cuisine from her four cookbooks.
Visit Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia, once part of Yugoslavia. Its independence
has brought prosperity so what you will see is a surprisingly sophisticated city
with cobbled piazzas filled with sidewalk cafes. The city is pretty with
footbridges over the river that runs through the center of town.
Lunch on the regional cuisine, including delicious ham. My favorite is game
ghoulash with bread dumplings. Walk through town
to visit the food market and cathedral. Optional visit to castle.
We take a half-hour ferry ride to Muggia, one of many coastal towns. Lunch in a
We have the afternoon to wander through Trieste, and stop at one of the many
cafes that specialize in coffee concoctions. Maybe Starbucks got its
inspiration for specialty coffee drinks from Trieste. Trieste coffee
culture owes a lot to Illy Coffee. Francesco Illy, its founder, invented
the first automatic espresso coffee machine in 1935. I particularly liked
the caffe shekkerato, iced coffee which tastes so much better when it is shaken
with ice and poured from a cocktail shaker. Or you might want to try
a Gociado, caffee espresso with just one drop of milk froth in the middle of the
Early morning departure for Mestre, and the bus connection to airport to make your flight home.
$3,250 (USD) includes 7 night hotel (single room without a single supplement), 4 dinners, breakfast every morning, train between Venice and Udine, train from Trieste to Mestre, 3-day vaporetto pass in Venice, all activities as outlined in itinerary. Not included: airfare, airport transfers, bus from Mestre to airport, lunches, café stops, wine and alcoholic beverages, personal expenses.