The capitol of the Country of Friuli in the Middle Ages, its ancient history merges into legend, which has Attila the Hun as the builder of the hill topped with the castle that still dominates the historic centre and makes an ideal starting point for a tour of the city.
Leaving this complex behind and crossing the Bollani Arch built according to a plan by Palladio in 1556, you enter the beautiful Piazza Libertà or “Freedom Square”, often described as Venice’s nicest square on dry land. Here you will find the most important monuments in the city, a legacy of Venetian history from 1420 to the late 1700s.
Travelling along Mercatovecchio, the most typical main street in the city, you reach Piazza Matteotti, “a square of life as it was lived”, still the site of a long-running market and in the past of championships, performances and executions.
Walking past the Liberty-style Palazzo del Comune, built between 1910 and 1931, you find the Cathedral, an impressive building in the form of a Latin cross that houses a number of works of art by GianBattista Tiepolo.
Near the Cathedral, in the small Oratorio della Purità (1757), you can see L’Assunta, one of Tiepolo’s great masterpieces.
Another wonder of the city is the Cavazzini House, an elegant gallery of modern and contemporary art that exhibits, among other pieces, the works of the Basaldella brothers. Udine is the geographic centre of a region that boasts 8 DOC areas and 3 DOCG areas, with a quite respectable wine production. This tradition is honoured in the many historic taverns in the city centre where you can also sample some of the local culinary specialities.