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It is not certain that the name Udine is of pre-Roman origin, as researchers support, deriving from a word meaning ‘mamma’ and then metaphorically ‘hill’. The fact is, however, that from the hill in the middle of the city (which according to a legend was formed with the earth carried in Attila‘s soldiers’ helmets since the king, after having sacked Aquileia, wanted to see it on fire) it is possible to sweep in one look the whole of Friuli, from the Carnic and Julian Alps to the gentle morainal hills and the fertile plains, even glimpsing the Adriatic in the distance. It is maybe for this reason that a thousand years ago a castle was built on the hill, subsequently inhabited by Aquileia’s Patriarchs, the Venetian lieutenants in the -Friuli homeland-, and by the Austrian S. Maria, angelshaped weather vane governors during their fifty-year rule. The hill is the heart around which the city was built and has grown, the reference point for the surrounding territory which still shows traces of a faraway past in the -castellieri- of Pozzuolo, S. Osvaldo, Gradisca di Sedegliano, as well as the traces of a less distant past in place names (Codroipo, for example, is the Roman Quadruvium, where four roads crossed) and those of a very recent past (only two hundred years have gone by) at Campoformido, the town which gave its name to the 1797 Treaty signed between Napoleonand Austria which, sealing the end of the century-old Serenissima Republic of Venice, definitely changed the destiny of most of Europe and of Villa Manin at Passariano, the actual place where the Treaty was signed. The sumptuous Villa was deemed by Napoleon the perfect backdrop for the signing of the Treaty not only because it was immersed in the luxurious green Friuli countryside, but also because, being the home of the Venice dogeLudovico Manin, it was, in Napoleon’s eyes, charged with profound symbolic values.

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Images from Friuli Venezia Giulia