Getting Lost in Gorizia
The province of Gorizia is located in the south-east of Friuli Venezia Giulia region of Italy, bordering the Adriatic Sea. This small area embraces a wide variety of environments and landscapes, as well as many historic and artistic remains.
The Gorizia coastline is dominated by the wonderful Grado lagoon, an internationally renowned tourist destination known as the “golden island” for its clean water and the beauty of its lagoon.
In this uncontaminated environment there are two wildlife areas, a perfect habitat for a wide variety of bird species, namely the Riserva Naturale of Valle Cavanata and the Riserva Naturale of Foce dell’Isonzo, where Camargue horses live wild. The rich Isonzo valley is renowned for the production of excellent wines and offers a vast line of vineyards, picturesque small towns and outstanding views.
One of the most peculiar landscapes of the province and the region is offered by the Karst plateau, with calcareous rock and rocky land covered with a rich and colorful Mediterranean vegetation. The Karst is an area of remarkable naturalistic value. The plateau is a must-see for history buffs, as it was the scene of ferocious battles during the First World War, and there are some unforgettable signs of that period such as trenches in Monte San Michele, communication tunnels and war memorials like Redipuglia, where one hundred thousand of the fallen are buried. A stop at Gorizia’s World War I Museum enhances this rich historical experience.
Gorizia’s rich and diversified artistic heritage can be seen in the Gorizia Castle with its charming small village, the Cathedral and the Musei Provinciali, which add to many aspects of the local culture. The modern Piazza Europa – an urban space in common between Gorizia and Nova Gorica – has a symbolic value, representing the coexistence of two cities and the overcoming of conflicts.
The towns of Gorizia are bursting with culture. The old city centre of Grado is truly fascinating, with large and small squares in Venetian style and wonderful early Christian churches, full of decorations. The Sanctuary of Santa Maria di Barbana is also an important religious destination, located on a wonderful small island in the Grado lagoon.
Monfalcone is renowned for its shipyards and trading port. The town is filled with surprises, including a fortress, located on the hillside of the city and the Gulf of Panzano where the breathtaking Bagni di Panzano and Marina Julia face the sea.
Gradisca d’Isonzo is also well worth a visit. It is an ancient fortified city with strong Venetian influences. Some of the ancient walls are preserved along with valuable religious buildings and elegant baroque palaces.
Exploring Gorizia, one may follow archaeological routes leading to prehistoric ruins such as the “castellieri,” which are ancient urban centers located on the hillsides enclosed by walls that nowadays are practically destroyed, that visible from different areas like Ronchi dei Legionari, Monfalcone and the lake of Doberdò.
The variety of the landscape in the area of Gorizia allows for the practice of many activities such as hiking, going on cycling trips, riding on the Isonzo valley and on the hills of the Collio, in vineyards and small villages.
Gorizia is ideal for gourmands, who can follow the Strada del Vino and Ciliegie, a wine and food route in the area of Collio, in orchards and vineyards, with stopovers in farms and wineries, in order to taste wines and specialties.
A typical Grado dish is the exquisite boreto alla graisana, a fish broth. Going inland flavors are stronger, with dishes including semolina dumplings with broth, smoked pork loin, game, potatoes in tecia (sautéed with onions) and brovada, prepared with thin sliced turnips, macerated and then cooked.
Some of the DOC wines produced in the Collio and Isonzo area are Cabernet, Merlot, Refosco and the excellent Pinot are not to be missed.
With something for everyone – hikers, history buffs, nature lovers and gourmands –Gorizia is the ideal province to get lost in and the perfect destination for your next Italian vacation.