"The Castles and the Ham
" is a route that runs among many beautiful villages in the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, located in the northeastern part of Italy. This road links some of the most famous villages of Friuli, and it is an area that offers many tourist attractions in terms of history, art, nature, food, and wine. The road is shaped as a loop and it is about fifty miles long, so you can start the tour from whatever point of the loop you prefer. The tour we would like to propose starts from Udine
, the capital of the region, where we can spend a little time visiting its wonderful castle (pic n°3), the main attraction of the city.
Then, you will drive towards Colloredo di Monte Albano
, where you can visit the Castle of Colloredo
, home to the famous seventeenth-century poet Ermes di Colloredo. Part of the castle is still in ruins due to ownership issues. From Colloredo di Monte Albano, we take the road towards Fagagna
, where the first stretch of the suggestive "Road of Castles and Ham
" starts. The road runs around the Castle of Fagagna
, which was the residence of the lieutenant of Friuli during the Venetian conquest (from 1420). In the nearby village of Villalta
, there is another beautiful and well-preserved castle (pic n°4), which dominates the surrounding area from a small hill.
Our next stop will beRive d'Arcano
with its beautiful castle, one of the best-preserved in Friuli. Then, move towards north until you get to San Daniele del Friuli
. This popular town features historic attractions that deserve to be seen (pic n°6). Nevertheless, the reason why you should visit it today is a local specialty: the worldwide famous "Prosciutto di San Daniele"
(San Daniele Ham) (pic n°2). It is a unique product as it is made only here on the hills around this town. In late June every year, a big festival celebrates this excellent ham of San Daniele.
From San Daniele del Friuli, a short drive will lead you to the town of Ragogna. The Castle of Ragogna
is located on a rocky promontory overlooking the river of Tagliamento. East of Ragogna is the historic Castle of Susans
(pic n°1), reminiscent of the Tuscan Medieval castles. Recently renovated, the castle is private and it can only be visited during the "Open Castles" days.
It is time to hit the road again towards the last stops of your route. East of the Parish Church of San Lorenzo there is a hill known as Monte di Buja: here are the remains of what used to be a Medieval castle, which was built before 983. After a few kilometers, you will reach Treppo Grande where you will find the beautiful Castle Zegliacco
, which is private property and can only be visited for a few days during the year.