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Report 2013: Two Splendid Weeks in Northern Italy

By Engred from Oregon, Fall 2011

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Page 11 of 14: A Lovely Day in the Country

After a wonderful breakfast that included the fantastic Zoff yogurt, we headed off to visit the town of Cividale for the morning. Cividale is about 30 minutes north of Cormons and is a lovely mideaval town with picturesque buildings that reflected more of an Austrian style and a river running through the center. One of the most picturesque villages we have visited in Italy. Both Julius and I commented that we could see ourselves living there. There were many narrow alleys and streets to explore by foot, along with signs explaining various sights such as a Jewish ghetto. We visited a couple of different small museums, including the National Archaeology Museum and the Christina Museum of Cathedral. The Christian Museum had a wonderful alter and a baptistry. The alter and baptistry were together in a small room and the alter was positioned so if you viewed it from a certain angle, colored lights would illuminate it at certain times depicting what the alter would have originally been painted. Very interesting and clever way to make art and history come to life. We stopped for an aperitivo in one of the piazzas, and watched the locals wander through the stalls that were set up along the periphery.

Guido then drove us up into the hills to Agriturismo Ronchi di Sant’Egidio, where we had lunch. The surrounding scenery was spectacular, with views over the valleys and the snow-capped peaks in the distance. The restaurant is in a building separate from the Agriturismo and was a popular spot with the locals for a leisurely lunch. After lunch Guido surprised us with a visit to the Rosazzo Abbey. It is a beautiful compound located up in the hills, with gorgeous views ranging from Slovenia all the way to the Gulf of Trieste and across the various towns throughout the Friulian plains. The Abbey was established around 1100 and now includes a winery. We wandered the grounds and the porticoes, stopping in to view the abbey church and Hall of the Frescoes. Just outside the Hall of the Frescoes is a gorgeous balcony where there are some beautiful sculptures and amazing views. On our way back to the van, we stopped and saw part of the wine cellar, which was dug into the side of the hill. A very lovely and peaceful place!

We went back to the hotel, and while the others rested and Guido worked on his computer in the “living room” I went for a walk through the vineyards and down a couple of dirt roads. It is really a beautiful area with lots of wildlife, and would be ideal for a walking/hiking/biking trip. The only issue with having lots of wildlife is that there also also lots of hunters, which caused me to take a few detours on my way back to the hotel!

Dinner that night was at Trattoria al Cacciatore Sirk, which is a sister restaurant to La Subida owned by the Sirk family and just down the road from La Subida. Prior to dinner, we met Mr. Sirk who took us on a walk up to his acetoria, where he makes vinegar. He passionately explained his process for making and aging vinegar and had us taste a few of his vinegars at various stages of the aging process. Graciously we accepted his gift of a bottle of vinegar and then made our way down the hill to the trattoria. On our way back we passed several small cottages, which are available to rent. The trattoria was adorable, just what you would expect to find at the foot of the Alps. Along with some local Colio wine, Maryann and I each had an amazing salad of prosciutto cotto, arugula, Parmesan, ricotta salata, and fresh mushrooms. I would rent one of the cottages just so I could have this salad for dinner each night! A nice easy drive after dinner back to the hotel and we were in for the night.

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