During our 3 week stay in Cividale del Friuli, we were lucky enough to be able to visit the surrounding areas with our rental car. One of the cities we visited was Gorizia.
Gorizia is one of the 2 cities of the Venezia Giulia region (the other being Trieste). It is situated at the easternmost corner of Italy at the border with Slovenia. This area has a distinct style, culture, and history that is quite different from the rest of mainland Italy.
The town was divided into two as part of the settlement separating Italy and Yugoslavia at the end of WWII, although with Slovenia joining the EU the division has now become much less formal. Nova Gorica is the name of the town on the Slovenian side of the border.
The town has an attractive old centre with colourful houses lining the streets, arcades below, and shops that attract Italians and Slovenians alike.
Gorizia cathedral originally dates from the 14th century, although it was rebuilt in the baroque style in the 17th century (and rebuilt again with the identical baroque design in the 20th century, after extensive damages during the war).
Saint Ignatius of Loyola Church
The Saint Ignatius of Loyola church is the most important church in the city. The church was built in 1680 by the Jesuits. There is a single nave inside the church and various beautiful sculptures at the side chapels.
The beautiful palace Attems-Petzenstein is definitely worth a visit. Although the palace is not very old, it has several beautiful elements in its architecture. The palace was built in the 19th century according to the designs of Nicolo Pacassi.
The castle, standing on a hill above the town, has wonderful views over the city.
Dating from the 11th century onwards, the castle comprises several different parts, with small palaces, some remains of early fortifications, a chapel and a museum.
On summer nights, if you stop along the walkways of the castle, it’s rumoured that you might meet the ghost of Countess Catherine. The Countess lived here between the 14th and 15th centuries and perished under mysterious circumstances following the frantic search for a fabulous treasure chest that was eventually stolen by the devil himself.
In addition, at the ramparts of the fortress walls, a misunderstood creature named Serafina (presumably a powerful witch) seems to cast evil spells- if not death – on all those she encounters!!
Piazza della Transalpina/Trg Evrope
This square is divided between the Italian town of Gorizia and the Slovenian town of Nova Gorica. The railway station of Nova Gorica is located at the eastern end of the square, on the Slovenian side.
From 1947 an international border between Italy and Yugoslavia (Slovenia since 1991) crosses the square. Until 2004 the square was divided by a wall.
Movement on the square is now free because both Italy and Slovenia are EU members and part of the Schengen Area, so there is no more physical border.
There are photos of how this place used to be during the Cold War. Very interesting indeed! To think it wasn’t even that long ago…
We didn’t really eat in town. However, we stopped to have lunch on our way back to Cividale in a restaurant near Cormons.
Poderi di Angoris
We found this place by chance. It is called Poderi di Angoris and it is just on the side of the main road. We saw many cars parked just outside of it, which is always a good sign, so we decided to stop and give it a try. And boy were we happy we did!
We liked it so much that we went back another couple of times. This place is handy if you are in the Gorizia, Aquileia, Redipuglia areas. So keep it in mind.
At lunch, they usually have a fixed menu. When we were there it included 2 main dishes (a pasta dish and a meat/fish-based dish), a side, a glass of wine, and water for 12 euros. Amazing price! And the food was really really good too. Just make sure to choose from the dishes on the blackboard, if you don’t and order something else, the price will increase – not that it’s a big deal, but it’s nice to know.
We tried their potato gnocchi with melted butter and smoked ricotta.
Their sausage pasta.
Their pasta with eggplant and calamari.
Their canederli (bread dumplings) with melted butter and smoked ricotta.
Their beef steak with baked potatoes.
Their pork steak with grilled polenta.
And their AMAZING vitel tonne (see my recipe HERE).
We were always too full to order dessert, so we can’t comment on that. All other dishes were amazing. I highly recommend this place!!
We stayed in a beautifully appointed apartment right in the heart of town, in Piazza Polo Diacono: Casa in Piazza. This place is a gem.
We booked the 1 bedroom apartment with a king bed.
There were a big kitchen and a sofa bed in the living room.
There was also a perfectly sized bathroom.
It is very clean and practically new. Highly recommended – I think a place like that right in the centre of town is hard to beat! And with so many restaurants and cafés just down in the square!
Also, the building itself is ancient – it dates back centuries and the restoration work was done really tastefully. You can still see part of the original walls in some areas of the apartment!
The mezzanine with loft is the apartment above this and it was lovely too – friends from our same group were renting it, so we got to visit.
The owner and his wife are truly amazing people. Very friendly, helpful, and kind. One day they even took us for a drive to see the vineyards and we had lunch together. More on that in another post though.
If you decided to visit Cividale, look no further: stay at Casa in Piazza for an AMAZING experience.
I highly recommend a visit to Gorizia. It is a very interesting and quiet city. I particularly enjoyed the visit to Piazza della Transalpina where you can learn about how things used to be during the cold war.
If you have any questions, leave a comment and I will be happy to help out!
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