Sunday morning, my last day in Udine, I took the little 30 minute private train to visit Cividale del Friuli. This train runs back and forth between Udine to Cividale with 4 stops along the way. My FVG card qualified me for a free ride roundtrip. I believe if paying for the ride, you would purchase a ticket from one of the tabaccheria shops.
Most people on the train that morning seemed to be people heading to Cividale for a visit rather than residents. When the train arrived in Cividale, I made friends with a nice Italian couple who also were visiting Cividale for the first time. Amy gave me a map of Cividale del Friuli but it the map was a shot of the town from the sky and was of no help in how to find the centro (historic center of the town). The funny thing was there was this big map posted up on the side of the road but it was the same map (photo of the town taken from up in the sky). The Italian couple even commented about how useless the map was. Together, we eventually found the centro after stopping and asking people three times along the way. We parted ways once we found our way.
My luck, I chose the 4th Sunday of the month, when the huge antique flea market takes place.
Many people love these markets. I don’t. They take up all the streets and block photo opportunities. Mostly junk seems to be sold at these markets. Stuff you would find in your attic or garage that you want to get rid of, but to each his/her own.
My first stop was the beautiful Caffe San Marco for my morning caffè macchiato.
The Museo Archeologico Nazionale was not far from the caffe. At the ticket counter, I met a very nice man who gave me two different maps of the town, circled the important places to visit, drew routes back to the train station, and commented about his irritation of the Sunday market outside. My FVG card got me free entrance. I spent about an hour wandering through the two floors of this interesting museum. Here are a few photos I took.
After leaving the Archeological Museum, I stopped in the nearby Duomo and then went in search of Il Tempietto Longobordo. I knew this place was a “must” visit but really had no idea what to expect. There is a path to follow when visiting and at first I really wondered what the big deal was about the Tempietto Longobordo. At one point, the path takes you to an outdoor area where there are incredible views.
Finally, you arrive at the jewel of the visit… the Longobordo Temple. WOW! Really incredible. My photos do not do justice to the beauty of this little temple.
I stumbled upon the beautiful Chiesa dei Santi Pietro e Biagio after leaving the Tempietto Longobordo. There, I found the nice Italian couple from the train. Unfortunately the church was closed but the frescoes on the outside were worth the stop.
I did not do any research before my visit to Cividale del Friuli. I was craving a pizza even though pizza is probably the worst thing for me to eat as I usually wake up with my eyes swollen shut the following day after eating pizza. I was in Italy and I was going to have pizza, at least once! As I walked up a hill back towards one of the main streets of the town, I saw a cute pizzeria called Pizzeria Ristorante 4S. I was able to get a table and I was happy. I ordered a pizza con mozzarella di bufala e rucola (pizza with buffalo mozzarella cheese and arugola. It would have been wonderful except the crust was burnt a little too much. It still was pretty good though.
I next went in search of the famous bridge – ll Ponte del Diavolo. Below is a photo I saw in the pizzeria of an older Ponte del Diavolo bridge. Not sure if I would crossed that one!
Cividale del Friuli is one of the towns in Italy where street signs on the buildings seem to be more of a mystery. I walked and walked up and down hills, around corners, down little alleys searching for this bridge using both the two maps in hand and google map on my phone. Somehow I ended up back in front of the entrance to the Tempietto Longobordo where I found a nice couple. They did not know the way either but looked on their phone to see if they could help me. At first they sent me the wrong way, but then called me back when they figured out the best way to get to the bridge.
The views from the bridge were spectacular! They are similar to the views from the Tempietto Longobordo, just from a different vantage point.
I took a different route back to the train station. It was more of a direct route but a gamble as I usually end up lost. Success! This modern bank in the distance, which is located quite close to the train station, assured me that I was headed in the correct direction.
Once back in Udine, I once again headed to Oggi Gelato for one more scoop of nocciola. The girl recognized me this time and smiled as I ordered the same gelato. YUM!! Oh how I wish I could have a scoop right now!
I walked up and down a few more streets yet explored, found an interesting little public park
I went back to Piazza della Libertà one more time and started to think about dinner. Many places were closed on Sunday. I decided to go back to the area with all of the food from various countries and regions of Italy and order that Slovenian dish called a raznjici that I was eying the night before. They weren’t quite ready to serve dinner yet, but part of Miss Italia was being filmed. I sat and watched with amusement until my food was ready. I ordered my Slovenian dish of grilled chicken and vegetables and then headed back to my hotel to pack.
Next stop… Treviso!
**Review of my hotel. I stayed at Allegria – It is located very close to the centro and also to a bus stop where a few different bus lines will take you quickly to the train station. The hotel was clean and modern. The room was spacious. The bathroom was nice. Great breakfasts! Very nice person serving breakfast as was the waitress who served me dinner one night at their restaurant. I have mixed feelings about the people who worked at the desk. The couple (older man and woman) were not very helpful and I often felt like I was putting them out when asking questions. Massimo also worked the desk at certain times. He was extremely helpful and friendly. The wifi is free but there is not password and it is not secure. I was given a very old PC laptop to use. I was very grateful for this offer. The laptop of course had an Italian keyboard, which can be a challenge but it came in handy a few times. The air condition worked nicely. The room was quiet. You are given a plastic card (the size of a credit card) as your key card to use during your stay. The photo of the room on their website is accurate.
Next up – Monday in Treviso