Friuli Venezia Giulia Italy – 10 Fun Facts - Digging Up Roots in the Boot

Friuli Venezia Giulia Italy – 10 Fun Facts

Ciao tutti! Welcome to The Best of Italy, a video series on Digging up Roots on the Boot’s YouTube Channel. Alessia is going to share 10 fun facts about Friuli-Venezia Giulia. It is one of 20 Italian Regions in the North of Italy. Watch the video and continue reading below. Also, be sure and subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss out on new video posts. 

1 Friuli Venezia Giulia – An Autonomous Region

Friuli-Venezia Giulia is Italy’s easternmost region and one of 5 autonomous regions in Italy. It formed after World War II. The historical region of Friuli combined with a portion of the historical region Venezia Giulia. Each has a very distinct history, traditions, and identity.  The region stretches from the Alps to the Adriatic sea and borders Austria and Slovenia. Although Italian is the official language, Friulian and Venetian dialects are commonly spoken in the countryside. There is also a Slovene-speaking minority.

2 The Karst Plateau

The Karst Plateau (Carso in Italian and Kras in Slovene) extends across the Southwest border of Slovenia and the Northeastern border of Italy. The western edge of the limestone plateau marks the traditional ethnic border between the two countries.  Originally, San Martino del Carso was the only village inhabited by Friulian speakers. After World War II, Istrian Italians fleeing from Yugoslavia settled in Karstic villages in the province of Trieste. Today an estimated one-fifth of the population of the Karst Plateau speaks Italian.

3 Grotta Gigante

Grotta Gigante is a giant cave on the Italian side of the Karst Plateau. It entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 1995 as the world’s largest tourist cave and remained there until 2010.  The cave was first explored in 1840 while searching for an underground water source from the Timavo River. The cave was fully mapped and equipped for guided tours by 1905. Although it opened in 1908, tourism began in 1957 when electricity was installed.

4 Il Rito del Tajut di Vino

Il rito del Tajut di vino is a happy hour tradition in the region Of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Friulians take the edge off of their appetite before lunch or dinner with a glass of red or white wine called taj di ros o taj di blanc. It is traditionally served with prosciutto, cheese, and toast.  Nobody knows exactly where the term Tajut comes from, but there are a couple of theories. The first is that it refers to the amount of wine poured in the glass. The other is that it refers to the mix of a low-alcohol wine with a more robust wine. Today, it simply refers to the desire to have a glass of wine.

5 Playing Cards in Trieste

The Italian playing card company Modiano was founded in Trieste in 1868. Modiano cards are known for their style, color, and quality.  Today, the company produces 10 million decks of playing cards a year. 50% are sold in Italy and the other 50% are sold abroad to casinos and gaming companies.

6 Friuli Venezia Giulia – Regional Cuisine

Friuli Venezia Giulia’s regional cuisine is rich in Polenta and Minestrone. Because of its geographical location, Friulians also eat Slavic dishes such as Goulash. It is a beef and vegetable soup originating in medieval Hungary. Or Cevapi which is a Balkan dish of grilled minced meat.  Two of the most popular traditional desserts are the Gubana, a baked cake, and Strucchi, which are fried pastry squares. Both are filled with mixed nuts, raisins, and dark chocolate. They are traditionally made for carnival and the holidays.

7 La Scuola Mosaicisti del Friuli

A Mosaics School was founded in the town of Spilimbergo in 1922. La Scuola Mosaicisti del Friuli is a professional school that serves three purposes.  First, the school teaches the history, theory, and technique of mosaics. Secondly, it promotes the mosaic art form and participates in exhibitions globally. Thirdly, it creates mosaics that are on display worldwide including the iridescent Thunderbolt at Ground Zero in NYC.

8 The Magic of Friuli Venezia Giulia

There is a popular Legend that in the 16th and 17th century there were many sorceresses, magicians, and wizards who performed rituals and exorcisms in the villages of Friuli.  These powers varied considerably for good and evil. One sorceress used spells and potions to help people find lost or stolen objects. Another magician used his powers and spells to entice women into his bed.  They were often summoned to the courts for practicing magic and condemned.

9 Olympian Fashion in Trieste

Before becoming a world-renowned fashion designer, Ottavio Missoni competed in the Olympics as a hurdler for the Italian National Track Team. He started an activewear business with his team-mate Giorgio Oberweger in their hometown of Trieste.  They started out making wool tracksuits that were called the Venjiulia suits. They were so functional and fashionable that the Italian Track Team wore them in the 1948 Olympic games.

10 A Love for Tennis

Friuli-Venezia Giulia has a love for tennis. The ASD Eurotennis Club in Cordenons holds regional and national tennis tournaments and clinics year-round, as well as tennis summer camps for all ages.  Every year they also host an annual professional men’s tennis tournament played outdoors on clay courts. It is currently part of the Association of Tennis Professionals Challenger Tour.

Do you know any other fun facts about Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy?  Let’s talk it out in the comment section below.  Thanks for reading and watching The Best of Italy.  A presto!

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