Friuli–Venezia Giulia is Italy’s most North-Eastern region. Its landscapes are characterized by vast pine forests and pastures, mountain lakes, and numerous streams and small rivers descending from the mountains. The area is also known as a tourist destination, especially during the winter season.
Friuli–Venezia Giulia has a temperate climate. However, due to the terrain’s diversity, it varies considerably from one area to another. Walled by the Alps on its northern flank, the region is exposed to air masses from the East and the West. Along the coast the climate is mild and pleasant. Trieste records the smallest temperature differences between winter and summer and between day and night. The climate is Alpine-continental in the mountainous areas, where, in some locations, the coldest winter temperatures in Italy can often be found.
The Friuli Venezia Giulia region is one of the smallest, yet most culturally diverse areas in Italy. This semi-autonomous area is also one of the newest, gaining modern boundaries and a government in 1963. The region shares borders with the Veneto region, Austria and Slovenia.This is by far the most easily accessible region from outside of Italy and has traditionally acted as a gateway for Germanic and Slavic invaders over the centuries.
The food of Friuli-Venezia Giulia is indicative of the region’s history. The Friuli portion is more rustic and resembles cuisine of other Italian regions. Standouts include the local Prosciutto di San Danielle, a sweet cured ham that is hung to absorb the fresh mountain air. The region is known for its vast cornfields, which feed the areas demand for polenta. Montasio is an aged hard cheese that is sold at different levels of maturity.
The cuisine in the Trieste area reflects the German/Slavic traditions of Venezia Giulia. Iota is a soup made of beans, potatoes and white cabbage. Porcina is a mix of boiled pork with sauerkraut, mustard and horseradish. Slavic goulash and dumplings are also local favorites. Like the Veneto, the coast loves its seafood and includes all sorts of shellfish including cuttlefish, mixed fried fish and a fish and white polenta soup known as boreto graesano. Regional desserts have a Germanic touch such as apple strudel, cuguluf (a ring cake that originated in Vienna) and gubana (made from dried fruit and raisins).