Friuli V G: Alps to Adriatic Sea with Palio of San Donato


“From the moment we woke up to the moment we went to bed, Patty was there to assist us along the way with every perfect and brilliant detail…absolutely loved her charismatic nature, her depth of travel expertise, and her ability to immerse us in the specific culture and authentic experience of every place that we visited” Emma, Canada

DAY 1: Tuesday 20thAugust 2019 

Depart for Trieste, Venice or Treviso, Italy and transfer to your hotel in Udine.

Udine our home base is a joyous surprise to most visitors, known as the ‘Living Room’ of the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia because of its cosy piazzas, elegant atmosphere, classy bars, cafes and restaurants. Our favourite place to stop and have a drink is Osteria Al Cappello where on a summers night you can sit in the street and order a drink through an open window without even going inside. So nice!  

Welcome Dinner this evening is at 7.30pm in the heart of this relaxing town.

Included Meals: Dinner

DAY 2: Wednesday 21stAugust 2019

In the morning we will take a short tour on foot of Udine a university town shaped by the Venetian style of architecture. Elegant and refined Udine has everything you picture in an Italian town – art, architecture, great food and amazing stories.

Then we drive to Spessa Castle in the heart of the Collio vineyard region where the best wines of the region are produced. Have you ever cooked in a castle? Well now’s your chance as we will learn to cook ‘frico’, a local speciality, with a local chef and eat lunch in amazing surroundings. Aprons, kitchen, tools and one castle provided by us!

After lunch we tour the local countryside with photo stops at some of its most beautiful locations - Rocca Bernarda and Corno di Rosazzo Abbey - together a wine tasting at a famous local wine co-operative. On the way back to Udine we will stop in Manzano (a world capital of chairmaking exported all over the world) to visit a family owned ‘acetaia’ where they produce another local speciality - balsamic vinegar - to learn how it is made, its history and of course taste it.

This evening you are free to explore Udine at your leisure.

Included Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

DAY 3: Thursday 22ndAugust 2019

Today we experience the glorious contrasts of this region of Italy as we visit the Alps and plunge into nature. 

We depart in the morning for Monte Lussari (1790m) travelling the final stage by cable car, up and up, to enjoy spectacular views and a meal in the ‘rifugio’. At the top you can visit three countries in the blink of an eye – Italy, Slovenia and Austria. Subject to time we will visit the interior of the Sanctuary of the Madonna, its origins dating to a miracle in the mid 1300s, when a shepherd found his flock of sheep kneeling around a bush in which he then discovered statues of the Virgin and Child. 

On the way home we make a stop at Laghi di Fusine, one of the best examples of an Alpine lake, crystal clear water and energising pure air. Later we also stop in Venzone voted the most beautiful town in Italy in 2017 and used for filming in a recent Inspector Montalbano episode! Learn about the amazing recent history of this sensational walled town and enjoy an ‘aperitivo’ in the main piazza beside an old Venetian palace. 

This evening you are again at your leisure in Udine where you will not be short of choices.

Included Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

DAY 4: Friday 23rdAugust 2019

Yesterday the mountains, today the sea, but first we drive to Aquileia an ancient Roman town famous for its well-preserved mosaics and ruins and a guided tour from a local expert.

Then on to the Adriatic and Grado, an historic and unique island and some free time in the old town and its charming, tiny streets. Then hop aboard a boat for a trip to a ‘casone’, local fishermen’s huts, where they catch and cook fish on the spot for lunch. 

Have you ever had a coffee inside a star? On the way back to Udine you will as we stop for a coffee in Palmanova, a star shaped fortress town built by the Venetians. Practical, and at the same time stylish, so typically Italian. 

Your evening in Udine is at your leisure.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 5: Saturday 24thAugust 2019

Today we travel back in time. After a leisurely morning we travel the short distance to the town of Cividale del Friuli, a great place to visit anytime but sensational during the Palio of San Donato a local festival taking us back to medieval times.

You will see locals dressed in medieval costumes, taking part in contests representing their ‘contrade’ (medieval town districts), street shows, knights, jugglers, drummers, crossbows, parades and fire. Shop and eat at the local stalls and shops all dressed up to look like medieval times.

There is much more to see here in a town founded by Julius Caesar himself in 50BC. Cross the stunning Devil’s Bridge for sensational views of the Natisone River and maybe visit a very rare example of a Lombard Temple dating back to the 8th Century. Your local guide will be on hand to give you lots of ideas.

You will have plenty of time to explore, eat, watch, participate before our evening transfer back to Udine.

Included Meals: Breakfast

DAY 6: Sunday 25thAugust 2019

This morning we check out of our hotel in Udine and travel to the capital of the region - Trieste. Take a tour on foot of this enigmatic city with a local guide and hear the stories of its seafaring history, its famous writers (James Joyce and Italo Svevo for example) its sensational cafes and learn about the over 30 different types of coffee you can order. 

In the afternoon you are free to explore this city at your leisure be it beach time, Miramare Castle or shopping in the old town.

This evening we will have a farewell dinner together in an osmiza, a very special, rustic style trattoria in the Karst area, a must do for locals in the summer. These are family owned, only sell the goods they produce themselves are signed open by a single branch hanging from a country road and perhaps most remarkably are only allowed to open for 40 days a year. Learn the fascinating story behind one of the area’s best kept secrets and eat like the locals!

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 7: Monday 26thAugust 2019

Today it’s time to say goodbye. Departures are available from Trieste Airport a short distance away to London and onwards and direct to other locations via Treviso or Venice throughout the day with a number of carriers (see below).


- The services of an Insider Guide from the local region throughout (not including tips which are at your discretion)

- All your Accommodation based on twin/double rooms

- Meals as listed above

- Coach Touring, Entrance Fees, Visits, Local Guides as listed above

- Transfers to and from Trieste airport


- Flights to and from the tour start point in Udine

- Single Room Supplement Total (€100)

- Personal Holiday Insurances

- Meals other than those mentioned above

- Drinks, Snacks and Personal Incidentals

- Tips and Gratuities

- Transfer from other airports (but we are happy to help you source these)


For a booking form or if you have any questions please contact:

Want to Stay On Before or After the Tour?

If you are looking to stay In Italy before or after the tour and want a customised package of places to stay and things to do please let us know and we would be delighted to assist you.

Who Flies Where?


Ryanair – Dublin to Treviso

Air Lingus – Dublin to Venice Marco Polo


Ryanair – London Stansted to Trieste (easiest connection to tour start)

British Airways – London to Venice Marco Polo

If you need assistance with flights please get in touch and we would be happy to help

Patty Sommer, Tour Leader (Udine Local)

Patty Sommer, Tour Leader (Udine Local)

Hotel Guide



Our hotels are chosen based on local insider information for the best trade off between quality and location. We tend to favour location so you can enjoy the best of the area by walking out the door of the hotel and straight into the action.



Hotel Allegria***

Boutique style family run hotel within walking distance of the old town.

Via Grazzano 18, 33100 Udine



Victoria Hotel Letterario****

Centrally located and housed in an historic building once home to the Irish writer James Joyce. 

Via Alfredo Oriani 2, 34131, Trieste



We chose the best three and four star hotels based on availability in the regions we travel in.

These hotels are our preferred partners however we reserve the right to substitute hotels for ones of equal standard.