Gorizia is your typical border town: just a few years ago a wall divided the Transalpina Square but today you may walk along with your left foot in Italy and your right foot in Slovenia! Richly endowed with culture, art and history Gorizia has always balanced the strong surrounding European cultures (Germanic, Slavic and Latin).
Gorizia is a small jewel surrounded by a fabulous hilly countryside, the Collio Hills and it is located in the confluence of the famous emerald green Isonzo river.
Besides the wonderful nature of this area and its historical heritage, Gorizia is also well known for the production of local wines and many gastronomic products from here such as honey, oil and mushrooms are sold all over the world.
Festivals, exhibitions, conferences and local street markets are organized every year to promote the numerous traditions and customs of this area.
The nightlife is also animated: along Corso Italia all the bars are crowded with people indulging in the very civilized habit of the aperitif - a social victory and glamour personified! Feel a little lucky? Try your hand at gambling in the Perla and Park Casinos or experience magnificent shows on grand stages performed by popular international stars.
The strategic location of Gorizia, allows you to reach the major town of the region Udine and take a walk along the seaside of Trieste within 20 minutes.
WHAT TO SEE
The historic centre, the castle and the buildings themselves offer evidence of a past alive with the energy of different European cultures meeting, clashing and growing together!
The Castle: Founded in early medieval times, probably in the XIth century, the Castle of Gorizia remains a robust and articulate construction to this day with its distinctive shape of a pentagon around the wide Court of the Lanzi. From the Court visitors access the 13th century Palazzetto of the Counts, the western part of the Castle - recognized from its five Romanesque windows, and the 15th century Palace of the Provincial States in the east, connected to the Palazzetto by means of a connecting structure called Palazzetto Veneto. The rooms in the Castle are furnished with ancient furniture: on the ground floor one can admire the small dining room and the kitchen, with medieval furniture and implements. Also on the ground floor is the Hall of the Knights, where there are some interesting copies of arms and armor.
The Cathedral: near Piazza Cavour the Court of Saint Ilario opens out, dominated by the imposing bulk of the Cathedral, a church devoted to Saint Ilario and Saint Taziano.
Lantieri Palace: the only surviving parts of an old convent founded by the Sainted Abbot: It originated from a fourteenth-century guesthouse built by the Counts of Gorizia and that is connected to the castle by an underground passage.
Piazza Vittoria: Returning to Piazza Cavour and turning into Via del Rastello we come to Piazza della Vittoria dominated by the fairytale Fountain of Neptune, designed by Nicolò Pacassi.
The Jewish Ghetto and the Synagogue lies on Ascoli Street. An imposing 19th century building with sober features that contains the very interesting didactic Museum of the “Little Jerusalem on the Isonzo” (according to the name defining the local Hebrew community).
EATING IN GORIZIA: WHAT AND WHERE
Trattoria alla Luna: Experience typical dishes from Gorizia in a rustic restaurant. Address: 13, Via Oberdan. Closed on Monday.
Trattoria da Gianni: Where to go if you are INCREDIBLY hungry: his portions are tasty and huge! Address: 10, Via Carlo Morelli. Closed on Wednesday.
Al Chiostro: An elegant venue looking out over the castle. Address: 10, Piazza Sant’Antonio. Closed Monday evening and Tuesday.
Il Maida: Food, wine and homemade dishes coming from Slovenia and Friuli traditions. Closed on Sunday. Address: 71-73, Via Duca d'Aosta.
La Tarantella: Pizza restaurant. Open every day until 3 am. Address: Corso Italia 99.
Trattoria ai 3 Soldi: Typical Central European fare. Closed Sunday evening and Monday. Address: Corso Italia, 38.
Caffè Teatro: A historical central cafe, with a lovely outdoor area. Address: 1, Corso Italia
• Carnival: A traditional Festival complete with participants in extraordinary masks.
• Spring Festival: Visit the Middle ages! Knights and dames performing in shows and engaging in games! The last weekend of April sees the Castle filled with ballad singers and jugglers and the streets with markets and Medieval music.
• International History Festival “èStoria”: Rediscover the past with this interesting initiative reflecting on the most important event ever. Programmed for the second half of May(era in italiano, ho dimenticato di tradurlo).
• Falconry Days: Come and see one of the most beautiful bird exhibitions in July: Gorizia is the Capital City of Falconry. Lots of people come every year attracted by the exhibition of the rarest and noblest predators, flight demonstrations and a rich bird market.
• Folklore Festival: Incredible performances of folklore groups in Gorizia.
• Gusti di Frontiera: The greedy people of the world come from all over to indulge in the European cooking culture. The last weekend of September.
• S. Andrea Fair: Almost more important than Christmas, this celebration is a joy for both adults and kids. The first week of December the entire city light up and is covered in festoons.
• Sweet December: The inimitable atmosphere of the Christmas Period is almost palpable in Gorizia with its evocative snowy landscape.
• Barcolana: In Trieste, close to Gorizia the Barcolana Sailing Show takes place. This most famous yachting regatta has a record-breaking number of participants.
• Friuli Doc: The main event and a fixed date in the calendar of any wine lovers that attracts thousands of visitors who come to Udine (next to Gorizia) each year for the distinct purpose of tasting the wines from the Friuli region. From 16th to 19th of September the scenic city of Udine will offer an interesting itinerary and the best gastronomic products.
WHAT TO DO
An itinerary in the Collio Hills: the Collio’s succession of rolling downs, dotted with small villages and vineyards, covers a total of 1,600 hectares. A DOC zone, it runs almost without a break from east to west, its gentle slopes presenting extensive south-facing areas that are ideal for premium-quality winemaking. Home to many great white wines, the Collio produces Pinot Grigio and Bianco, Tocai Friulano, Sauvignon and the renowned Collio Bianco, the DOC’s blended wine. The leading reds are Collio Rosso, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon, and Merlot.
Cycling tours: Tour of the Collio (28 km): Capriva-castello di Spessa-Cormòns-Brazzano-San Rocco-Monte Quarin-Subida- Russiz superiore-Capriva. Wine and Cherry Road (36.4 km): Gorizia-Mossa-Capriva-Cormòns-Giasbana-San Floriano-Oslavia-Piuma-Gorizia.
A trip to Gradisca: Only 13 km from Gorizia you will find a beautiful village regarded by the Venetian Republic as a bulwark against the frequent and furious Turkish invasions of Friuli. Built by the architects of Venice this fortified town features wide streets forming a regular grid. Take a walk along the ancient walls, planned by Leonardo Da Vinci and visit the wonderful Palazzo del Capitano inside the castle.
Try your luck in a Slovenian Casino: Feeling lucky? Try your gambling hand at Perla or Park Casino and play poker or roulette till the sun comes up. Just across the border in Slovenia.
Watch a play at Teatro Verdi: The most important theater of the Municipality presents prose, music, ballet and big events less than 500 meters from the hotel.
Shopping at Ikea or Udine Fiera: The central shops are not enough? You could visit the new Ikea at the end of Villesse road or spend your day at Udine Fiera, one of the biggest malls in Italy.
A tour to San Daniele: San Daniele is one of the ‘pearls’ of Friuli Venezia Giulia, known internationally for the unique taste of the original San Daniele ham that it has been producing for centuries - with the help of a unique micro-climate.