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Friuli Venezia Giulia

THE HARMONY OF DIVERSITY    

IN FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA A UNIVERSE OF VALUES  

Harmony ? A word of Greek origin to mean union, proportion, accord. It is a concept that generates a sense of well-being.

Diversity is, in some way, its opposite. It is, certainly, a value in itself, but it generates a feeling of variety, comparison, that goes back to an idea of difference. But how much positivity lies in respecting and cultivating difference: the mental attitude of Friuli Venezia Giulia from time immemorial.

This is why in this land, situated at the centre of the new Europe, one can talk of ?Harmony of diversity?.

An evocative idea, that conjures up the image of a land of paths crossing. In the orographic systems, here the Alps and the Balkans merge to plunge into the Adriatic. In the great cultures, the Slavic, the German, and the Latin, that blend together in a region that has been historically a crossroads. In Friuli Venezia Giulia four are the officially recognized languages: besides Italian, Slovenian, Friulian, and German.

The mix creates unique situations and nature lovers know this: in just a few kilometres are the sea, the plains, and the mountains, but the landscape changes constantly. Look at the coastline: the golden sand is followed by the uncontaminated lagoon and then the rocky cliffs that fall sheer into the sea. Or the karstik rock that declines into gently rolling hills and dolomite.

The central position of Friuli Venezia Giulia, so important in times of peace, development and integration, has not always been so obvious: wars and division have, in the past, made it dangerous for some and an opportunity for others, thus turning it into a land of conquest or a borderland. The region is at the top of several classifications that measure the quality of life through parameters such as income per capita and the level of schooling of its inhabitants, a human dimension with livable towns and nature everywhere, safety, employment, services, infrastructures. But the genuine character of the people, their eagerness and love for life, are the immaterial values that can be perceived.

Quality of life and safety are the jewels of the XXI century: Friuli Venezia Giulia is the Italian region with fewer inhabitants per square kilometre. This means that non-urban areas are eminently green, with cultivated fields, but also parks, forests, lagoons. In other words, a territory where the harmony of nature reigns unchallenged. The harmony of diversity.

THE TOURIST SITES 

Endless. Like the panoramas of Friuli Venezia Giulia. Where the ancient gaze of the mountains of Carnia and of the Tarvisio district overlooks the gentle slopes of the Friuli hills, dotted with castles. Like green waves melting away on the broad plains, in spring they witness the blossoming of a thousand colours. Further on, the lagoons and the sea. Long stretches of golden sand, at Lignano and Grado, give way further east to the white rock of Trieste?s Riviera. A variety of settings rich in natural parks and ideal for activities in touch with nature, such as trekking, mountain bike, golf and, in winter, a host of winter sports.

The peoples of antiquity were already appreciative of these rich landscapes: many locations can boast Roman remains, including majestic Aquileia, and Longobard sites, such as Cividale, at one time the capital of Italy?s first duchy.

But over the centuries, Friuli Venezia Giulia has also been chosen for its strategic position: today, it lies at the heart of Europe, where the winds from the East and West meet. The roads lead straight to towns full of art: Trieste, Gorizia, Udine and Pordenone all bear not only the traces of antiquity, but also the more recent signs of their domination by Venice and the Habsburgs.

A pleasant pastime can be hard by losing oneself in these streets, especially where they meander in the historic centres of little towns and villages where popular traditions still flourish. It is in these districts that a world of sounds and scents unfolds: that of skilled craftsmen hard at work, and of a cuisine of which San Daniele ham and Friuli wines are only the most well-known representatives.

A host of sounds and scents that find a further outlet in the myriad festivals devoted to folklore. And at the centre of everything: the people. Unique people who win you over.