And scattered here and there in the valleys, some very unique towns and hamlets lie peacefully in the green. Tolmezzo is one of them and one of the most ancient ones, its story tracing back to over a thousand years ago (though it could presumably be even a pre-Roman dwelling place). It's the capital of Carnia, set just under Mount Strabut in a valley surrounded by the Oriental Alps, and a crucial passage to Austria for which reason its position was once of very strategical importance.
Strolling through the Borgat
For four centuries Tolmezzo belonged to the Patriarchate of Aquileia, and it transformed into a fortress city shortly before being annexed to the Republic of Venice in 1420. These historical events left their traces on the city and are still visible nowadays: the “Porta di Sotto”, one of the ancient gates to the town is still rising, while glimpses of the past clearly show in the city's old town known as Borgat, the beating heart of Tolmezzo. There one can find St. Catherine church (15th century), while the Duomo cathedral dates back to the 18th century. The Borgat is also the location of several festivals all year long: most of the events are organized by the local association Proloco di Tolmezzo, keeping it alive and kicking.
Also belonging to Tolmezzo's area are eight districts, among which Illegio really is oustanding as a typical, historical mountain hamlet. There one can visit the most ancient rural church in Italy, St. Paul's (dating back to the 4th or 5th century) and also the paris church of St. Florian (9th century). But you could also take a walk along the windmills' path, where Mulin dal Flec windmill's still working and open to visitors. Illegio also hosts a series of high-profile sacred art exhibitions throughout the year.
Under the mountains and walking
Towering over Tolmezzo it's Mount Amariana, a snowy peak lovely looking after the city's neighbourhoods. And just right from the city centre one can directly take a walk to the surrounding mountains, following one of the many trails both by bike or on foot.
Of course, in Tolmezzo it's possible to enjoy some of the most delectable typical Friulian foods, even better paired with FVG wines like a Friulano or a Refosco. Mountain cottages' fresh cheese, special local salami and hams, frico and more: when it comes to dine and wine, Carnia knows it best.
More info at Tolmezzo's Tourist Office: tel (+39) 0433.44898, firstname.lastname@example.org.