The mountainous North East of Italy
is largely saturated with some of the country’s most renowned and largest appellations despite the widely inhospitable terrain (only 15 per cent of the land in the valley of the River Adige can be cultivated). The vineyards of Friuli-Venezia Giulia
, on the hillsides of the eastern corner and near the border of Slovenia, benefit from the contrasting airflows from the Alps and the Adriatic from the south. Veneto
is Italy’s largest wine-producing region and home to Valpolicella DOC which is the second most important red DOC in Italy behind Chianti.
In addition to the region’s winemaking legacy, the North East of Italy has a large variety of cultural attractions and places of interest for tourists. Housing the regions of Emilia-Romagna and Trentino-Alto Adige, in addition to the aforementioned Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Veneto, and subsequently the famous Italian cities of Bologna, Padova, Trento, Trieste, Verona, and Vicenza there is much more to the North East of Italy than its most famous city, Venice.
Bordering Slovenia and Austria, Friuli-Venezia Giulia is picturesquely perched on the banks of the Adriatic Sea and embraced by the spectacular high mountains of the Eastern Dolomites, the Carnia and the Julian Alps, all of which enclose a plethora of eye-catching lakes, valleys and rocky enclaves, regularly frequented by tourists. The impressive Karst Plateau, lying between the Vipava Valley and the Gulf of Trieste, is an attractive limestone coastline that affords visitors stunning views of the region extending into south western Slovenia.
The coast of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, nestling next to the equally striking Veneto, is home to a number of famous tourist resorts such as the idyllic Lignano Sabbiadoro and the long sandy beaches offer a tranquil escape from the region’s busy streets. Friuli-Venezia Giulia’s capital, Trieste, is worth visiting for the Piazza dell’Unita D’Italia alone. It is one of the most beautiful squares of its kind in the whole of Italy and while popular with tourists, it has managed to retain its local charm by remaining central to the Triestini way of life.
Veneto, once the epicentre of the Venetian Republic which was an independent state for more than a millennium until it joined Italy in 1866, is amongst the wealthiest and most developed regions of Italy, boasting one of the country's richest historical, cultural and culinary heritages.
The Queen of the Adriatic, Venice, remains Veneto’s heart and most widely visited city. The famous Grand Canal, Basilica di San Marco, Rialto Bridge, and The Doge’s Palace are just a handful of iconic destinations to visit.
While evidently the main attraction, Venice is by no means Veneto’s only worthy place and if the bustling streets of "La Serenissima" become too much, the quaint nearby seaport town of Chioggia is equally enchanting but less saturated with the reams of tourists.
Verona will forever retain its association with William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and while the prose of The Bard of Avon have inevitably enticed tourists to Fair Verona, the Opera house in the 2000-year-old Roman Arena, La Piazza delle Erbe and the Piazza Bra are just a few of the countless attractions on offer.
Lake Garda, divided between the provinces of Verona, Brescia and Trentino is the largest lake in Italy and remains a magnet for visitors due to its remarkable scenery and host of exclusive resorts scattered along its shores.
Within an hour of Venice and located between Padua and the aforementioned Verona, lies the beautiful city of Vicenza. Listed as a World Heritage site and capital of the eponymous province in the Veneto region, the city and its surrounding areas, most notably the Teatro Olimpico and its many museums of note, makes it a worthy stop on one’s travels to the North East of Italy.
Like many of the regions discussed on CellarVie Wines
the North East of Italy is far too big to touch upon all of the cultural and historical attractions on offer to run through them all here. The above is hopefully an introduction to just a few of the notable places that contributes to this area being one of Italy’s most visited regions.