Dominated by its castle, Gorizia is an Italian town that keeps its balance between its German and Venetian origins.During the Middle Ages, its imposing castle was inhabited by the Counts of Gorizia whose estate covered those territories nowadays belonging to Italy, Slovenia, Austria Boemia and Croatia.
As we walk through the centre of Gorizia, we reach Palazzo Attems-Santacroce which overlooks Piazza De Amicis and hosts the Provincial Museums.Behind this striking palace is the ancient Jewish Ghetto and its Synagogue which hosts the Jewish Culture Museum. Along some main roads like Corso Verdi, Corso Italia and the charming Viale Venti Settembre there are some elegant open air coffee houses and shops.
For the gourmands, Gorizia offers unique recipes accompanied by local wines, like the D.O.C. (Controlled Denomination of Origin) wines from the Collio and the Isonzo areas.As a matter of fact, the hilly area of the Collio is famous for its high quality wines.Precious white wines like Sauvignon, Pinot grigio and Tocai can be tasted in many farm houses and wine cellars, which are always open to tourists and to those willing to drive along the “wine route” going from Gorizia to Dolegna.
Cormons is the heart of the Collio area and is located in an enchanting hilly area very close to Gorizia.It has long since been the main town of this enchanting hilly area, renowned not only for its geographic position but also for its trade. Its historical centre is surrounded by the ancient city walls dating back to the Longobardi (Lombard) time, which are the most ancient part of the city. Since the Middle Ages, the Market square has been the deputed place for the rite of the tajut, the Friuli appetizer which consists of a glass of white wine and some gossip. (Explore other foods of the Gorizia).
Another town worth remembering is Gradisca, also known as the “countryside estate”.Firstly dominated by Venice, it was later ruled by the Hapsburg family. This town still preserves its ancient defensive walls as well as the Duomo, the Civic museum, the Merchant’s Loggia, the Monte di Pietà (pawnshop), the government palace of the Venetian rulers and the tower palaces.
Another significant town is San Floriano, whose inhabitants are proud of their Slav ancestors.Between the 5th and the 6th Century, their ancestors settled down right in this area and were able to revive the ancient Roman traditions. Vineyard growing nowadays is the main activity of this area and, in order to celebrate the ancient rites, a procession is held in mid July of every year, in honour of the Saints Ermacora and Fortunato.
Grado is a fascinating town that is characterized by its charming outline and its huge bell tower.It reveals its green pinewood, its gardens, parks, ports, sandy beaches and its buildings ranging from simple, ancient houses up to the most modern ones, to guesthouses and hotels. Among its ancient heritage, the town boasts some precious early Christian basilicas.Besides, the tourists are more and more attracted by its golden sandy beaches.
Within the province of Gorizia, the town of Monfalcone has always played an important role as a link with Central and East Europe. Its fortress stands on a hill which was strategic for the control of the coastline going from Grado, Trieste up to Istria. During the Roman age, the mouth of the Timavo river was a renowned spa area for the Aquileia inhabitants.During the Middle Ages there was a small village called Vicus Panzianus, today called Panzano, the heart of the industrial district of Monfalcone.The location of Monfalcone was strategic for the control of the invasions from East Europe. Emperor Ottone I rewarded the Patriarch of Aquileia with the villages and fortresses so as to be protected from the Hungarian invasions. In 1420 Venice conquered the town and its fortress.In the following centuries the Monfalcone area became the scene of many battles against the Turks first and later against the Austrian and the German populations.The fortress was restored in 1525 and has maintained the same style up to today.
The new town of Palmanova overshadowed Monfalcone’s strategic importance. All the areas close to the North-east border were affected by World War I and Monfalcone, claimed by the Italian “nationalist” movement of the Irredentists, became the scene of cruel battles.The town was severely damaged and then conquered by the Austrians after the defeat of Caporetto. It was given back to Italy after the end of the War, on 24th October 1918. The border areas between Italy and the former Jugoslavia were disputed during and after World War II. Monfalcone was definitely given back to Italy on 14th September 1947.Today, thanks to the ever growing shipyard activities, many other related industrial activities have rapidly expanded and allowed an economic growth as well as a population increase. The chemical, electric, electromagnetic, iron and steel industries are among the most important activities.