Though not visited as often by international travelers as other parts of Northern Italy, Friuli Venezia Giulia is a remarkable region with a vast history and impressive cultural and natural sights. Positioned in northeastern Italy along the borders with Slovenia to the east and Austria to the north, the region has long been influenced by adjacent cultures. The landscapes of the region are characterized by the Karst Plateau as well as mountains and the Adriatic Sea. Renowned for its wine, Friuli’s countryside is filled with hidden gems. The following itinerary focuses on local highlights, including the provincial capitals of Trieste, Gorizia, and Udine, as well as smaller, yet equally stunning areas, such as Aquileia, Grado, and Grotta Gigante. Do not miss your chance to get to know one of the most stunning regions of Northern Italy.
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS: Trieste, Gorizia, Udine, Aquilea, Grado, Grotta Gigante
Day 01: OUT-BOUND FLIGHT
Board your flight and travel to the northeastern corner of Italy.
Day 02: TRIESTE
After landing in Trieste Airport, travel to your hotel in the historic center of Trieste via private driver. As the largest city and the capital of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trieste serves as a hub for the region. For many centuries, the port city of Trieste was part of the Hapsburg Empire before officially becoming part of Italy following World War I. Nowadays, the influence of the Austrians can still be identified in the architecture of the historic city center.
Take a stroll through the city center to begin to familiarize yourself with Trieste. In the evening, enjoy your first taste of the local cuisine during dinner at a family-owned restaurant.
Day 03: TRIESTE
When you finish breakfast, meet with your guide and begin your private walking tour of Trieste’s historic city center. The guide will regale you with tales of Trieste’s fascinating past as you walk through the centuries-old streets.
One of the city’s most important sites is Piazza Unità d’Italia, which faces the sea. As the main gathering place for locals and visitors alike, this bustling square is home to several important buildings including the City Hall and Palazzo Pitteri in addition to the Fountain of the Four Continents. The established port, which long ago cemented Trieste’s role as a trading center, remains among Italy’s busiest. Other highlights of the city center include the Molo Audace and the Cathedral of San Giusto.
When the tour concludes, take in the views of the Gulf of Trieste and enjoy a leisurely lunch. Be sure to finish off your meal with a cup of the city’s world-famous coffee. Then, spend your afternoon at the remarkable Miramare Castle, which is perched above the waters of the Adriatic Sea. The ornate architecture and interior of this former residence of Archduke Maximillian of Austria is only matched by the majestic gardens that surround it.
End your day by dining on a local specialty, such as calandraca. Afterwards, return to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 04: GORIZIA
After finishing breakfast, embark on a day excursion to one of the most unique cities in Italy. Positioned along the border between Italy and Slovenia, Gorizia represents a remarkable mixture of cultures. In fact, the city’s main square, Piazza della Transalpina is partially in Gorizia and partially in the town of Nova Gorica in Slovenia. While Gorizia joined Italy after the conclusion of World War I, the city’s historic Austrian and Slovenian influences are still very much alive.
Other points of interest include the medieval Gorizia Castle, the Palazzo Coronini Cronberg Museum, and Palazzo Attems Pezenstein. After exploring Gorizia and setting foot on the other side of the Slovenian border, return to Trieste. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant accompanied by locally-produced wine, then make your way back to the hotel for a good night’s rest.
Day 05: UDINE, AQUILEIA, GRADO
Once you have finished your breakfast, head northwest to Udine, which is the capital of the eponymous province. Among the most popular sites is the Udine Castle, which is positioned at the top of a hill. In addition to the remarkable historic architecture, the castle houses museums and art by the likes of Tiepolo and Caravaggio. While at the castle, be sure to admire the stunning views of the surrounding area as well. Other highlights of Udine include the Piazza della Libertà and the Baroque Cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore.
Next, head to Aquileia, which was an important Roman settlement and among the largest cities in the world during the second century. Nowadays, the town itself is rather small, yet its archeological area is one of the most important in all of Italy. In fact, the archeological area is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site together with the Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia.
The final stop of the day will be the charming town of Grado, which is located on an island. At one time, Grado was mainly a fishermen’s town, though nowadays its coastal beauty has transformed it into a resort town with a pedestrian center. Among the town’s main highlights are the Basilica of Sant’Eufemia and the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which have origins that can be traced back to the fourth and fifth centuries. It is also possible to explore the smaller islands located in the Grado Lagoon by boat.
In the evening, return to Trieste for dinner followed by a nice passeggiata along the moonlit streets.
Day 06: GROTTA GIGANTE
For your final day, embark on a short excursion to the Grotta Gigante, which is located just outside of Trieste’s historic city center. Believed to be among the largest visitable caves in the world, Grotte Gigante is located on the Karst Plateau. During a visit to the cavern, travelers can admire a remarkable amount of stalagmites and stalactites. The deepest point measures approximately 377 feet, while the length extends as far as 920 feet. Near the cave, it is also possible to visit the Museum of Speleology where several geological and paleontological finds are on display.
Return to Trieste in the afternoon to partake in some last-minute sightseeing or souvenir shopping. In the evening, celebrate your time in Friuli Venezia Giulia with an unforgettable dinner.
Day 07: RETURN FLIGHT
In the morning, meet with your private driver who will take you to Trieste Airport. Wave goodbye to Friuli Venezia Giulia as you board your flight home.
Good morning Emily
Our trip to Italy and cruise was amazing and we thank you for your assistance and great organization.
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PACKAGE START AT $ 5,144 Per person INCLUDES (*):
- Round trip flights in economy class with in-flight meals, drinks, and entertainment (**)
- Transportation by Private Car with Driver as per itinerary;
- 5 Nights accommodation in 4* Category Hotels or Similar in double/twin rooms with private facilities;
- Daily Buffet Breakfast;
- 3 Dinners as per itinerary;
- 4 Half day English Speaking Local and expert Tour Guide (Trieste, Gorizia, Udine, Aquilea);
- Panoramic Visits as per itinerary;
- Vat Taxes and service Charges.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED:
- All Land & Air prices: Additional U.S. & Foreign Departure Taxes and Surcharges Fee(s) assessed by the Airlines.
- Hospitality city tax which varies by city and hotel category. Where applicable it must be paid locally to the hotel.
- Porterage service.
- Entrance Fees to Monuments or Museums, Tips, Extras.
- All which is not listed under “PACKAGE INCLUDES”.
(*) Rate based on two adult persons sharing a double or twin bedded room with private bathroom. Single rooms are available at an additional supplement. Children’s, triple room rates and alternative accommodation arrangements are available upon request. (Additional and different charges may apply).
(**) Rate based on NYC departure gates. Alternative U.S. departure cities available upon request at 1-866-GO ITALY or Email Trips2italy .