This past Saturday, June 9th, I made the call at 7am after a week of stewing whether or not I'd make this the weekend I finally make the 70-minute road trip up to the completely rebuilt middle-ages city of Venzone. A small town in the neighboring province of Udine, rich in history, culture, archeology, natural disaster, and social re-building. Clear remains of times past and recent devistation still stand clear to allow the passerby to get a glimpse of something pretty exceptional.
As a coaxing to get myself to make the road trip up and back I also made plans to stop at the Spilembergo city market which I had not yet been to but very much wanted to get check out. It was literally on my way to Venzone so of course, a stop was mandatory. I am so glad I did and plan to come back myself as well as bring others into crafts and flowers/plants to check as its rich in both as well as the typical artisan cheeses, several produce vendors, bags vendors, lots of clothes, paintings, pottery and other goodies. The whole city center is pretty well enveloped in this market. I spent a good 45 minutes in the market after a caffeine fix just outside the main market. What's a Saturday morning without a cafe stop right?
I landed myself a new hat as can be seen by the opening picture above. Gotta look the part when you take an adventure yes? The sun was brutal all day long so I am darn glad I got this cap!
I also did well by my mother who says a happy house is one with color and life and flowers do just that. She asks me weekly on the phone if I have gotten any and as of now, yes, I have 3 flowers in my house. I must say, it does add a nice touch to drive up to the house and see these on the front porch.
Upon arrival at Venzone, I had plans to see 2 primary sites.
The Tiere Motus Museum (5 Euro admission) otherwise known as The Earthquake Memorial Museum. Chronicling everything about the May 6, 1976, 6.4 magnitude earthquake the devastated much of NE Udine and the surrounding area, Venzone particularly. The aftermath of the city and region to repair and recovery from this travesty is also known as one of Italys most well-known examples of social, economic and humanitarian efforts to date with repair and near perfect restructuring of the cities ancient mid-evil village structures, churches and walls to their pre-disaster status. Open 9-1 and 3-7 weekends. All in Italian. I wish like heck this had an English version or written English handout or an audio guide in English as I am sure I missed out on a ton of details about this event but even the pictures alone and my limited reading ability of Italian left an impact on me.
The Duomo of St. Andrea Apostle and the adjacent Chapel of St. Michael.
This church nearly completely destroyed in the earthquake, is a spectacle for the eyes. Even for someone not religious at all like me (agnostic), I could not help but truly be in awe of the architectural marvel, artistic skill, and optical pleasure this church offers inside and out. Take your time if you visit this site and take it all in. The mummified remains of the original 12 souls were found in tombs under this church.
See Duomo Images
The Chapel now holds a crypt holding 5 real mummified remains of local clergy and nobility. Today only these remain since the 1976 earthquake sadly destroyed the other 9. Its 1.50 Euro admission and you get a token to enter from the local tourism info center just 100 or so yards away. That is all you see in the crypt I shall note, 5 encased separate mummies. I was not aware of this until going in past the turnstiles. Still worth seeing in my opinion for the close-up significance this has for the town.
See Chapel Images
After this my plans were wide open, check out the city center, grab an espresso and people watch the locals, walk the streets of the town and explore, and of course, get some local grub as well. This was all accomplished and thoroughly enjoyed! See below:
The many spectacular city views
Suggested Coffee Spot
Suggested Food Spot
Images of my sips and bites
I will note the drive up was beautiful as well! I stopped five times to take photos of viewpoints, landmarks, agrotourism sites, and vineyards I wanted to make note of and plan return trips to. This was a gorgeous drive through several classic Italian towns of the FVG region let me tell you that!
For more info on Venzone and other things to see and do there see these sites below. I highly suggest this as a full day trip from Aviano or a short weekend getaway with the sig other or family where something close by but yet far enough is sought. But I promise that you're going to feel much further away as this town does a great job of really transporting you to someplace seemingly much different than the rest of Italy.
Buon viaggio amici miei!
Venzone Tourism Guide Website
FVG Regional Tourism Website: Venzone