The newborn state reunited many territories under the same flag, up to the 15th century. The Friulian flag is the centre of the celebrations: the golden heraldic eagle on a light blue background is the symbol of the city of Aquileia, which was founded by the Romans in 181 b.C. for its strategic position on the sea, and as an outpost barrier against the Barbarians descending from the North. Aquileia, nowadays a unique UNESCO site, had been for a long time the seat of the homonymous Catholic Patriarchate, and then became the capital city of the Friulian State.
The flag is the seventh oldest one ever recognized in Europe (it dates back to 1334) and the most ancient Friulian banner, originally from the 15th century, is still preserved and exposed at the Duomo Cathedral in Udine: it once wrapped up Patriarch Bertrand of Saint Geniès' body.
ARLeF and the 2021 celebrations
As we said, the flag is at the very heart of the whole Fieste de Patrie dal Friûl. The Agjenzie Regjonâl pe Lenghe Furlane – Regional Agency for the Friulian Languages (ARLeF) last year launched an online initiative to celebrate the day, as it was right in the first pandemic wave so all events had to be cancelled. So, in March 2020 more than 500 people from all over the world sent their photos with the Friulian flag, to feel part of such a great community scattered on almost every corner of the earth.
As for this year, events were due to take place on April 11st in Udine but, again for new Covid-19 restrictions, they had to be postponed to September, when the city will host Friuli Doc. So ARLeF decided to donate flags to all the municipalities that needed one, and gave away hundreds of Friulian banners that will proudly wave today in every city of the region.
They also set up a surprise with the help of Friulian videomaking agency Quasar Corporate. Director Giorgio Milocco created for ARLeF a video in which the eagle-themed flag is the leading star, uniting Friulians living both in their homeland and around the world under it. Scenes were shot in New York, Los Angeles and Paris – and in Friuli, of course. You can watch it down here. Enjoy!