Friuli (Friulian: "Audio|Friul.ogg|Friûl", _de. Friaul, _sl. Furlanija) is an area of northeastern Italy with its own particular cultural and historical identity. It comprises the major part of the autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, i.e. the "provincie" (administrative provinces) of Udine, Pordenone, Gorizia, leaving Trieste out. The most important city of Friuli is Udine, capital, in the medieval era, of the Patriarchate of Aquileia. Besides Udine, other important centres are Pordenone, Gorizia, Portogruaro, Sacile, Codroipo, Cervignano del Friuli, Cividale del Friuli, Gemona del Friuli, Tolmezzo.


Friuli is bounded on the west by the Livenza river, on the north by the Carnian Alps, on the east by the Julian Alps and the Timavo river, and on the south by the Adriatic Sea. Rivers flowing southwards from the north are numerous. Other important rivers include the Torre river, the Natisone river, the Stella river, the Isonzo river, the Ausa river, and the Tagliamento river. The northern part of the region is wholly mountainous. From west to east, the region's highest points are, in the Friulian Dolomites, the Cima dei Preti, (2703 m), Duranno (2652 m), and Cridola (2580 m); in the Carnian Alps, Mount Peralba (2691 m), Mount Bìvera (2474 m) and Mount Coglians (2780 m); in the Julian Alps, the Jôf Fuârt (2666 m), the Jôf di Montasio (2754 m), Mangart (2677 m) and Mount Canin (2587 m), which dominates the plain. The Friulian mountains surround the course of the Tagliamento river, which, at the latitude of Gemona del Friuli first crosses the hills that occupy the center of the Friuli, then flows into a large flood plain. This plain is commonly divided into the High Friulian plain and the Low Friulian plain (Bassa Friulana), whose boundary is the Napoleonic road that connects the cities of Codroipo and Palmanova; to the south of this road is the "risorgive" zone, where water gushes through the terrain everywhere within the territory. South of the plains are the lagoons of Marano and Grado, which are protected natural oases. Friuli's area is 8.240 km², subdivided between the provinces of Udine (the 4,905 km²), Pordenone (2,178 km²) and Gorizia (466 km²).


The climate of the Friulian plain is a humid sub-Mediterranean type; the areas in the hills, however, have a continental climate, and the mountainous regions have an alpine climate. On the coast the mean annual temperature is 14°C, while in the inner plains, the average is lowered to 13°C - 13,5°C (Udine 13,1°C, Pordenone 13,3°C, Gorizia 13,4°C). Further north, in Tolmezzo, the average temperature is approximately 10,6°C. The lower values are recorded in the Alps: 4°C to the "Passo di Monte Croce Carnico" (1300 m) and between 5,5°C and 7°C in the Val Canale, which is situated 850 m below sea level. In the coldest month, January, temperatures vary between the approximate 4,5°C temperature of Monfalcone and the nearly -5°C of Monte Croce Carnico, passing for 3°C of Udine and the -2°C or -3°C of the Valcanale. Gorizia, a short distance from Udine, enjoys a particularly favorable microclimate with its approximate annual climate of 4 C. In the warmer month, July, the temperatures range between 22,5°C - 24,0°C in the coast and plains and the 14°C - 16°C in the Val Canale area. Precipitation in Friuli is relatively abundant; the distribution of rainfall varies a great deal in the course the year. Minimum values in the southern part generally fall between 1,200 and 1,500 millimeters (Gorizia beyond 1.350 millimeters and Udine beyond 1.400 millimeters), whereas the alpine climate area's maximum is approximately 3.000 milimeter. The PreAlps Giulie is one of Italy's most rainy regions: Musi gets about 3.300 millimeter of annual precipitation and can get a 400 millimeter concentration in a single month. In some zones of Friuli, excessive rainfall has caused erosion and the overflowing of many rivers. Snow is sparse in southern plains (3 or 4 snowy days to Udine and Pordenone) but falls more consistently towards the north (Val Canale 25 days, Sauris 23, "Passo di Monte Croce Carnico" 28).


The population of historical Friuli numbered little more than a million people; the concentration of people was subdivided between two Regions (Friuli - Venezia Giulia and Veneto) and further subdivided into five provinces (Province of Gorizia, Province of Udine, Province of Pordenone, the District of Portogruaro in Province of Venice and Common of Sappada in Province of Belluno). However, some do not consider the last two provinces to have been part of historical Friuli, especially Portogruaro, whose constituents explicitly chose by public plebiscite in the fifteenth century to belong to the Serenissima (Venice Republic). One of the most important demographic phenomena in Friuli was emigration. It began in the last few decades of nineteenth century and it was stopped in the 70s. It was estimated that more than a million Friulian people emigrated in approximately one hundred years. According to the last census of AIRE (2005), Friulian émigrés living abroad number 134.936. Of these, 56.0% reside in Europe, 24.0% in South America, 10.3% in North America and 4.7% in Oceania. These data pertain only to those Friulians and their descendants who have Italian citizenship. The descendants of Friulians are excluded because they aren't Italian citizens. Friulians in the world have given life to cultural associations called Fogolârs furlans, of which there are 46 in Italy and 156 in the rest of the world.

Ente Friuli nel Mondo (Friuli in the World)

In 1953, to assist Friulians in foreign countries and to coordinate the activities of the Fogolârs Furlans, the organization Ente Friuli nel Mondo, or Friulian People in the World, was founded. It publishes a magazine, Friuli in the world, of which over 25,000 copies are distributed in 78 different lands. The organization acts to inform émigrés and their descendants about their origins and identity, and to establish connections between Friulians around the world.


The origins and the Roman age

In the prehistoric era, Friuli was home to the Castellieri culture. Later, the region was populated, in the course of 4th century BC, by Celtic-speaking peoples, in particular by the Carnics, who introduced advanced techniques of working iron and silver. Starting from the 2nd century BC, the Friuli was colonized by the Romans: Aquileia was the fourth city in Italy in Roman imperial times, capital of "regio X" of Italia province (the Augustan region "Venetia et Histria"). The city was the most important fluvial port on the Natissa river, dominating trade between the Adriatic Sea and northern Europe (carried on the Via Iulia Augusta).

Aquileia owed its importance to its strategic position on the Adriatic sea and proximity to the Alps, allowing Rome to intercept barbarian invasions from the East. Julius Caesar used to quarter his legions in Aquileia during winter. The development of other centres, such as "Forum Iulii "(Cividale del Friuli) and "Iulium Carnicum "(Zuglio), contributed to the increase of the economic and cultural wealth of Friuli until the first barbarian incursions, at the beginning of 5th century. In the last few decades of the 3rd century, Aquileia became the centre of one of the most prestigious bishoprics of the empire, competing in Italy with Milan and, subsequently, Ravenna, for second place after Rome. A Hunnic invasion marked the start of the Friuli's decline: Aquileia, protected by meagre forces, was stared into surrender and was razed to the ground by Attila in 452. After the retreat of the Huns, the survivors, who had found shelter in the lagoon of Grado, returned to the city, but found it completely destroyed. The reconstruction of Aquileia to bring back the old splendour of the capital of "X Regio", was never completed. Nevertheless, the city remained important even after the fall of the Western Roman Empire's, due to the creation of the Patriarchate of Aquileia, which, from the mid-6th century onwards, ranked among the highest Church authorities in Italy. The lack of security in the Friulian plain, crossroads of all the great barbarian invasions, drove many people to seek shelter on the islands in the lagoons or in fortified hill-villages, causing a general depopulation of the more fertile part of the region and its consequent impoverishment.

Middle Ages

After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, Friuli belonged to the kingdom of Odoacer and subsequently to that of Theodoric the Great. The Byzantine reconquest under Justinian I was, for the region, of brief duration: in 568 it was one of the first provinces conquered by the Lombards, invading from Pannonia. The Lombard king Alboin established the Duchy of Friuli, the first Lombard duchy, and granted it to his relative Gisulf I. The capital of the duchy was established at "Forum Iulii" (Cividale del Friuli), which became the most important city of the area and lent its name to it.

The duchy of Friuli was from the start one of the most important Lombard duchies. It served as a barrier against the threat of invasion by the Avars and Slavs from Pannonia. Among the duchies of the North, which were closely aligned with the crown (unlike Spoleto and Benevento to the South), it was the most powerful, probably due to its marcher status. Among later dukes, Ratchis became king in 744 and his ducal successor, Aistulf, succeeded him as king himself in 749. In this period the historian Paul the Deacon, author of the "Historia Langobardorum" and teacher of Latin grammar at the court of Charlemagne, was born in Friuli (730/5).

After the "Regnum Italiae" fell to the Franks, the duchy of Friuli was reorganised into counties on the Frankish model. The region was again reorganised into the March of Friuli in 846. The march was granted to the Unruoching dynasty. Friuli became the base of power of Berengar I during his struggles for the throne of Italy between 888 and 924. The march was transformed under his rule, its territory extended to the Lake Garda, the capital moved to Verona, and a new March of Verona and Aquileia established in its place.

On 3 April 1077, the Emperor Henry IV granted the county of Friuli, with ducal status, to Sigaerd, Patriarch of Aquileia. In the succeeding centuries, the patriarchate expanded its control over neighbouring Trieste, Istria, Carinthia, Styria, and Cadore. The patriarchal state of Friuli was one of the best organised polities of the Italian Middle Ages. From the 12th century it possessed a parliament representing the communes as well as the nobility and the clergy. The life of this institution extended over six centuries, remaining alive yet weak even during Venetian domination. It convened for the last time in 1805, when it was abolished by Napoleon Bonaparte. The Patriarch Marquardo of Randeck (1365–1381) had gathered together and codified all the laws of Friuli and promulgated them as the "Constitutiones Patriae Foriiulii" ("Constitutions of the Country of Friuli"). Cividale del Friuli was seat of the Patriarchate until 1238, when the patriarch moved his seat to Udine, where he had a magnificent episcopal edifice constructed. Udine assumed so great an importance that it became with time the institutional capital of Friuli.

Venetian domination to Bourbon Restoration

The experience of the Patriarchy, concluded in 1420, when the Friuli was attached to the Venetian Republic, one of the great powers of that time, with a territory in full expansion. The historical debate on the relationship between Venice and its colonial territories has still opened and to a large part isn't based on historical motivations properly to connect himself to the myth of the lagoon city. According to the most traditional historiography in fact «the civil quiet and the pacific state of its dominant class would have been the principles on which the myth of Venezia was founded». For the new international historiography instead: «for long time is not been possible to dissociate the reality (of Venice) from the image, extraordinarily flattering and deformed (of Venice)... the Venetian political myth has for centuries distorted the approach and the analyses. At least up to the XIX century, the myth of Venice has weighed on the writing of the history, since the history had as principal end to comfort the myth». Only from few years is begun to investigate on the supposed deficenzes of the oligarchical political Venetian system and on the relationships deeply conflictual existing between Venice and the other territories territories that belonged to her State. The researchers are almost unanimously in agreement nowadays in to consider this period as one of the most tormented and difficult of the whole long history of the Friuli.The Friuli, used often as shield in anti-Turkic funcrion, was repeatedly devastated by a long series of wars for his possession between Venice and the House of Habsburg. Such wars involved for the rural classes uneasiness and poverty, with the impossibility to cultivate the country crossed by the armies in struggle and with the forced requisition of all the breeding animals for the provisioning of the soldiers. Necessity to give him lumber for Venetian boats caused besides the deforestation of the totality of the Bassa Friulana and the middle Friuli. Venice took possession him some collective earths of ownership of the rural friulian communities seriously impoverishing her. These earths will be sold then by the State during the '600 to overcome its serious statement of affairs and to make box.

On the other hand beginning from the third decade of the XVII century the Venetian Republic entered a due process of irreversible decadence to the loss of many her traditional markets, to the canalization of the saving and important financial resources in unproductive investments (above all of land character), and to the loss of competitiveness of its industries and its services. A speedy trial of impoverishment also struck the Friuli, subject to an oppressive fiscal pressure more and more and to the total crisis nearly of its industries and of the commerces.

The political populist practised from Venice (not reported particularly to the Friuli) it looked for in every way, according to some historical ones, of «to limit the most oppressive and anachronistic effects of the feudalism. Of different notice other researchers that affirm that the Venetian aristocratic government bore in Friuli, the survival of the heaviest feudalist rights. This politics to make sure herself the support of the urban and rural populaces as I counterbalance to the tendencies autonomists and centrifuge of the local oligarchies, also aristocrats, could not have put the Thirty Years' War anymore into effect.

An important popular revolt, done historical very known and known as "Joibe grasse1511" (fat Thursday 1511), it was initiated to Udine on February 27 from hungry citizens "udinesi" subsequently supported by the farmers and it subsequently extended him to the whole territory of the Countries of the Friûl. Such insurrectionary movement was one of the vast of Renaissance Italy and he extended for the whole 27 February and on February 28, up to when, on March 1º, it was drowned in the blood from Venice that it sent some hundred riders to soothe the motions. The financial starvation suitable forced the Venetian managing classes not to listen anymore to the aspirations and popular demands already increasing the elevated taxes level and connecting again the relationships with the friulian aristocratic classes, natural custodians of the constituted order. Such politics determined a loss generalized of the already scarce consents of which it enjoyed Venice near the popular classes. You finally tried, to various resumptions, to replace or to integrate the friulian aristocratics with Venetian ones, or of make the Venetians in various way, also through the linguistic tool. To halves the XVI century the inhabitants of the Country of the Friuli were 198.615, in 1599, according to the respect of the Lieutenant of the time, Stephen Viario, 97.000 were alone. The rate of childish mortality was elevated and reached his maximum historian in 1629.

With the 1516 Noyon pacts the confinements between the Venetian Republic and the County of Gorizia and Gradisca by now in the hands of the House of Habsburg, were redefined. Venice lost the tall basin of the Isonzo (that is the gastaldia of Tolmino with Plezzo and Idria), but it maintained Monfalcone. Marano remained to the archduke of Austria (up to 1543) and a series of shed feudal islands in the Western Friuli. Among 1615 and the 1617 Venice and Austria were again faced militarily for the possession of the fortitude of Gradisca d'Isonzo. The so-called war of Gradisca concluded with the return to the preceding "status quo".

Beginning from 1516 the Habsburg Empire checked the oriental Friuli, while the western and central Friuli was Venetian up to 1797, year of the Treaty of Campo Formio, when following the Napoleonic countries also this part of the Friuli was surrendered to Austria, that the lost ones for a brief period in which it belonged to the italic Kingdom, from 1805 up to the Bourbon Restoration- The contiguity between the Venetian Friuli and the Austrian Friuli allowed comparisons and, according to some studious ones, these were not quite flattering for the Serenissima.

Contemporary history

From the Restoration to the Great War

In 1815, the Congress of Vienna enacted the definitive union of Veneto and Friuli with the Austrian Lombardy, to constitute the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia. About twenty years later, the District of Portogruaro, for a long time friulian for history, culture, geography and for a long time also for language, was removed for Austrian wish from the Province of the Friuli (integral part, as already said, of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia) and assigned to the Province in Venice (1838). Today is asking to return to belong to the administrative Friuli. In 1866 the central Friuli (actual province of Udine) and the western Friuli (actual province of Pordenone) were attached together to Italy with Veneto after the Third Italian War of Independence, while the oriental Friuli (the so-called County of Gorizia and Gradisca remained subject to Austria up to the term of the First World War.

During the First World War the Friuli, that was found separated to the epoch between Kingdom of Italy and Austria-Hungary (Province of Udine for the Kingdom of Italy; a part of the County of Gorizia and Gradisca for the Austro-Hungarian Empire), it was theater of the war operations, that had serious consequences for the civil population, above all after the disaster of Kobarid.

Regional languages and dialects

While standard Italian is the first official language of the region, several other regional languages and dialects are spoken in Friuli.

Friulian is spoken in the provinces of Udine, Gorizia and Pordenone.

Venetian and its sub-dialects are usually spoken (for historical reasons) in the western border regions (i.e. Pordenone), sparingly in a few internal towns (i.e. Gorizia, etc.) and by ancient time in some places on the Adriatic coast.

Also in south-eastern border exists a venetian-kind transictional dialect, called "Bisiaco", that have influeces of Slovenian and Friulian and marks the border with the historical region of Trieste and Venezia Giulia.

Slovenian dialects are spoken in the largely rural border mountainous region known as Venetian Slovenia. German (Bavarian dialect) is spoken in Val Canale (mostly in Tarvisio and Pontebba); in some of Val Canale's municipalities (particularly in Malborghetto Valbruna), Carinthian Slovenian dialects are spoken, too. German-related dialects are spoken in several ancient exclaves like Timau, Zahre (Sauris) and Plodn (Sappada).

Slovenian is spoken in the "Collio" area north of Gorizia. In the Resia valley, between Venetian Slovenia and the Val Canale, most of the inhabitants still speak an archaic dialect of Slovenian.

Note: only Friulian, Slovenian and German are allowed to be locally second-official languages in their historic areas, but not their related dialects or languages.

See also

*Venetian Slovenia
*List of Friulian place names
*List of Dukes & Margraves of Friuli
*County of Gorizia
*Austrian Empire

External links

* [ Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia]
* [ Friuli Venezia Giulia]

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