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  The pleasant hilly area of Friuli, the strip of land running from Gemona to San Daniele almost to reach the suburbs of Udine, has always been, through the centuries, subject to earthquakes: suffice it to mention the appalling earthquakes of 1348 (also mentioned by the Florentine historian Filippo Villani), of 1511 (that halfdestroyed Udine itself) and most of all the 1976 catastrophe whose scars are unforgettable. But every time, the towns that have suffered the earthquakes have been born to new life, more beautiful than ever thanks to the reconstruction of houses and palaces but most of all of their symbolic monuments. This can be assessed by visiting, for example, the medieval town of Venzone, enclosed in once imposing walls, or Gemona del Friuli, which in the 1300s ranked third in the Friulian Parliament and, with its almost three thousand citizens, was one of the most important cities in the Patriarchate of Aquileia. Its splendid Duomo confirms it indeed, a large building dating to 1290, with a lacy rose window on the façade and the gigantic statue of St. Christopher. Also the surrounding hills are scattered with historic monuments, as the picturesque castle of Colloredo di Monte Albano, where Ippolito Nievo wrote most of his “Confessioni di un Italiano”, or the fortress of Osoppo, which, given its often being the set for heroic actions, became the symbol of the fight against the oppressor to defend the ideals of freedom and justice in the crucial history of the country: in 1848, when the citizens of Osoppo resisted for six months against the Austrian army (the siege ended with the honours of war being granted) and in the Second World War, when Osoppo became one of the strongholds of the Resistenza. Another symbolic monument is the “Biblioteca Guarneriana” of San Daniele del Friuli, which was, with its precious illuminated codes, the first public library in Friuli (1466) and one of the first in Italy, or the enchanting castles of Villalta and Cassacco, or the caves of Villanova, a natural monument of unrivalled beauty.



Images from Friuli Venezia Giulia