Newsletter - february 2012

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Trieste at the top of the Lonely Planet list

Friuli Venezia Giulia’s chief city is top of the list of 10 of the world’s unsung places according to Lonely Planet. Love at first sight for Abigail Blasi, a Lonely Planet author, who on St. Valentine’s Day published the list of the 10 places that stay persistently off the beaten track despite their many charms, often overlooked because of geography, chance and the presence of more glamorous neighbouring locations.
The author wonders how it is possible that this anomalous Italian city is not included in a must-visit list, thanks to its cultural melting pot concentrated on a sea-thrusting narrow strip of land; she also recalls the key role played by the city port in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and points out that the city retains a charming atmosphere and an elegiac sense of the past. Readers are incredulous to find out that a rather well-known resident of Trieste, Irish writer James Joyce, began writing his masterpiece – Ulysses – here, and not in Dublin, as is commonly believed. Finally, the writer celebrates the Hapsburg splendour that permeates the city, from its Viennese cafés and central-European cuisine to its long waterfront overlooked by Neo-classical palaces.
In the past few days the news has broken on social networks thanks to the many people who love Trieste and who posted the link; by Sunday the news had already been published on important Italian newspapers like Corriere della Sera and La Stampa, where the adjectives in the titles went from “beautiful and forgotten” to “beautiful and underestimated”, whereas actually the original article said “unsung”. However, not for much longer. We hope, in fact, that this coup de foudre is a good omen and infects, in addition to readers, also and above all travellers, and that allows Trieste to be legitimately included among Italy’s top destinations again, for unusual tours increasingly appreciated by international tourists.
Therefore, Friuli Venezia Giulia is becoming more and more popular with foreign visitors. After the article that celebrates Udine as “a delightful city” on the Sunday Telegraph of January 15, now Trieste has been included in the list of the world’s top 10 places worth visiting, while Topolò has been listed as one of Italy’s most beautiful towns in the March edition of the famous German monthly magazine GeoSaison, right now on sale all over Germany.

Here you will find the article published online:

Napoleon Bonaparte’s Friuli Venezia Giulia

Friuli Venezia Giulia: a crossroads of people, a meeting of cultures, but also a land that staged many battles. Between 1797 and 1814 the war between Napoleon’s France and the Habsburgs’ Austria causes six changes in the rule of these lands, as well as administrative reorganization, strengthening of the road network, renovation of fortresses and fortifications, new names of roads and towns, the “beheading” of the winged lions that symbolise Venice and, of course, many deaths, over 8000 in the battle of Camolli only, on April 19, 1809.
Through an itinerary that from Palmanova leads to Pordenone along an ancient pre-Roman road renamed “Napoleonica”, there are many opportunities to go through and discover part of the French campaigns. Napoleon enters Palmanova on March 18, 1797, and from here declares war to the Serenissima Republic of Venice, thus condemning it to its end. After observing the structure of that Venetian fortress, built in 1593, he orders Bernadotte to enlarge it and build a third circle of walls. In these two hundred years, in fact, armaments have changed and cannons have a much larger range. The work will employ, some years later, four thousand people for almost four years: the surrounding villages are destroyed to make room for a large clearing, blockhouses are built, parapets are raised, a moat and various tunnels are dug. Palmanova, a national monument, retains its original structure and the following enlargements. The Napoleonic circle of walls can be visited going for a walk or for a bicycle ride.
After defeating Venice, in August of 1797, Napoleon moves into one of the residences of the last Doge of Venice Ludovico Manin, the wonderful Villa Manin in Passariano that still recalls him in some of its rooms, although today it hosts important art exhibitions (see the fourth news of this newsletter). Here, on October 17 he signs the peace treaty with Austria to which the former Venetian territories are ceded. Actually, the treaty should have been signed in a less prestigious place, that is to say, in the inn of a small town between Passariano and Udine, Campoformido, which in fact is mentioned in the name of the treaty. A few years later, Napoleon inaugurates another decade of wars and campaigns, which invest most of the present Friuli Venezia Giulia region, from the Cellina to the Isonzo, from Pordenone to Pontebba. The most demanding battle from the military point of view is that of Camolli, which involves a large area of the province of Pordenone. Every year, at the end of April, the town of Porcia recalls this event with a spectacular show. A real military camp is set up in the park of Villa Correr Dolfin, with the reenactment of the most significant moments of the soldiers’ life: the reenactors, equipped with arms, cannons and horses, are people coming from Italy and from other European countries, who are specially trained to recreate with verisimilitude historical moments in a sort of large open-air film set.

Walking around Trieste with Italo Svevo - Part sixteen: famous authors in Friuli Venezia Giulia

Trieste has been defined as a sort of laboratory of experimentation of the crises and of the contradictions of the twentieth century and Italo Svevo expressed - and partly also embodied - some of these crises. German and Italian, businessman and man of letters, Triestine, that is to say, international, Italo Svevo was born on December 19, 1861, in a middle-class Jewish family with the name of Aaron Ettore Schmitz, the son of a German father and Italian mother. The pen name chosen for his novels highlights his double origin. He spends most of his life in Trieste, working first in a bank and later in the family business, and it is here that he writes and sets his novels. Thanks to him, Trieste becomes a capital of world literature and in the 150th anniversary of his birth, the city dedicates various events to him: exhibitions, conferences and a photographic and a literary competition, which in its title recalls the protagonists of his novels: "Il povero Alfonso, il caro Emilio, l'egregio Zeno" (Poor Alfonso, dear Emilio, eminent Zeno). The celebrations started in December and will continue until spring of 2012, which is the ideal moment to deepen the knowledge of this famous writer and, thanks to him, of the city of Trieste. For the whole month of March there will be conferences, films, theatre shows and concerts dedicated to Svevo, and the exhibition “U.S. Ultima Sigaretta. Italo Svevo e il buon proposito” (Last Cigarette. Italo Svevo and the good intention) will be open until April 1. The Svevo tours are organized at any time of the year. Walk in the city centre and discover the most significant places of Italo Svevo’s life and activity, which represent the city as well. His native house, the building that housed the synagogue frequented by Svevo in Via delle Scuole Israelitiche, his workplaces - from the Union Bank next to the Palazzo della Borsa to the Assicurazioni Generali, founded in Trieste in 1831, to the newspaper “L’indipendente” at whose editorial office Svevo works and on whose columns he publishes “Senilità” in 1898 -, the Filodrammatico theatre and the Biblioteca Civica (Municipal Library) in Piazza Hortis, which was frequented regularly by Svevo and which he mentions in “Senilità”, without forgetting his walks: the whole itinerary is marked by specific plates, which also provide a short description and curious facts.

Socialist Realism in Czechoslovakia (1948-1989) at Villa Manin

After the great success of the exhibition dedicated to Expressionism, Villa Manin will now host an important exhibition dedicated to the Socialist Realism in Czechoslovakia (1948-1989).
From March 23 to July 8, through a hundred works of painting, sculpture and graphics, it will be possible to be provided with a detailed overview of the artistic production of this Country, which is directly linked to the political and historical events occurred.
Thanks to this exhibition it will be possible to discover an artistic movement that is still little known but is one of the greatest examples of the culture of this Country, which was part of the Eastern bloc.
The system also used art as a means of propaganda, dealing with the themes of the cult of personality, of class struggle, of the everyday life of peasants and labourers, always depicted as healthy and happy. Many of these representations are not very realistic, but surely account for the influence that that ideology, always hovering between utopia and reality, has had on the history of the Countries beyond the Iron Curtain.
Along with the exhibition, which is under the sponsorship of the Municipality of Prague, of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Rome and of the Italian Embassy in Prague, there will also be an institutional and economic forum in the presence of exponents of the government of the Czech Republic.
In particular, this will be the right context for some entrepreneurs of the agri-food, tourism, furnishing and design sectors to let people get to know their products and lay the foundations for a fruitful collaboration between the two Countries.

The Castle of Buttrio, where hospitality is exclusive

The Castle of Buttrio, historically known as the Castle of the Morpurgo family, is an exclusive four-star country housesituated on the renowned Collio hills, from which one can enjoy an amazing, incomparable view. This ancient dwelling, which dates back to the 14th century, was acquired about ten years ago by the family of vine-growers of Marco Felluga and is now run by one of the daughters, Alessandra, who renovated it with care and passion in order to preserve its ancient and prestigious atmospheres and provide guests with the opportunity to stay in an enchanting place enhanced by a warm family welcome. The facility has eight elegant suites equipped with all comforts, furnished in a refined style, with period furniture and exclusive details, thus meeting all customer expectations. The Castle offers stays for couples and families, it is the ideal location for those looking for quiet accommodation, but also for those who need an amazing location for important events, such as weddings and conferences. In the restaurant it is possible to taste the typical products of the local cuisine, accompanied by the excellent wines from the homonymous wine farm, whose row of vines stretch over an area of seventeen hectares. Moreover, the owner proposes guided tours in the wine cellars, providing the opportunity to get to know the production process of a product that is already much appreciated on an international level. Walking in the park surrounding the castle, you can see the ancient remains of the first settlement of the castle and visit the small thirteenth-century church of Saints Gervasius and Protasius.