Udine is an elegant and welcoming city, there are many things to see in Udine in a day or two. An ideal city to discover in a weekend.
In the heart of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the Friulian capital is located in the center of a region that many know for the beauty of its mountains, where it is possible to go trekking in the summer and skiing in the winter; the fine wines of the hilly areas; the historic villages; the broad, golden ribs; walks on the plains and hills.
Udine is full of places of interest, the most beautiful ones are the heart of the historic center, with its elegant streets. The first thing to do in Udine is simply to walk downtown. The oldest streets are located near the Castle of Udine, which stands on top of a hill.
Let’s start with our walking tour in 4k – Best things to see in Udine:
1.- Udine Castle
Udine Castle dominates the historic center from a 138-meter hill. The birth of the hill is linked to a legend: it is said that Attila, after sacking Aquileia in 452, ordered his soldiers to create a hill by carrying the earth in their helmets, in order to admire the flames from above.
The castle, on the other hand, dates back to 1517, even if already in 983 a Roman castrum stood here to defend the city. The last part of the construction work was entrusted to Giovanni da Udine, a pupil of Raphael, and then to Francesco Floreani.
Today the Castle of Udine stands in a large green park, from which you can admire the panorama of the Friuli plain and the Carnic Alps and since 1906 it has housed the civic museums of the city.
2.- Piazza Libertà in Udine
The oldest square in Udine, the most beautiful Venetian-style square on the mainland: Piazza Libertà is a Gothic and Renaissance jewel enclosed in the heart of Udine. It is a very important square in the city, which you absolutely cannot miss if you visit Udine.
Always a meeting place, Piazza Libertà opens at the foot of the Castle hill and is worth a visit for the richness and beauty of the surrounding monuments.
Opposite is the Loggia with the Tempietto di San Giovanni, which dates back to 1533. Today the Tempietto houses the War Memorial and is surmounted by the beautiful clock tower.
On the Loggia there are also the statues of Hercules and Cacus and the column with the Lion of Venice. Next to the Loggia the Bollani Arch, built in 1556 and attributed to Palladio, gives access to the climb that leads to the Castle.
The Loggia del Lionello was built shortly after the arrival of the Venetians as the new seat of the Municipality. What you see today, however, is a faithful reconstruction of the original building dated 1876: a fire had almost completely destroyed it. The white Loggia del Lionello, for example: built in 1448 in Venetian Gothic style and restored 400 years later, welcomes Friulians and tourists in front of the slope that leads to the Castle with a riot of marble and columns. Its portico hosts events and demonstrations.
3.- Piazza San Giacomo in Udine
Also known as the Square with four names: Piazza San Giacomo, Piazza delle Erbe, Piazza del Mercatonuovo or Piazza Matteotti, the name with which it was renamed in the post-war period.
Piazza Matteotti is one of the most beautiful squares to visit in Udine, not only because this was the first real square in the city ( it was built in 1248), but because it represents the heart of Udine life. If you are looking for a place to eat, enjoy a snack or go shopping, this square is ideal for you.
In the center stands the Fountain of Giovanni da Udine, built in 1543, and next to the square is the church of San Giacomo, built in 1398. On the facade of the church you will notice a small balcony with an altar: in the 15th and 16th centuries allowed to follow the Mass to those who were in the square. The church tower has housed the first public clock in the city of Udine since 1525.
The arcade that surrounds the square on three sides is perfect for a walk to discover the quiet and friendly atmosphere of the center of Udine: here you will find cafes, trattorias and elegant shops.
4.- The Cathedral of Udine
The Cathedral of Udine, dedicated to Santa Maria Annunziata since 1735, was built in 1236 by the then Patriarch of Aquileia, and has been remodeled several times. The current building was renovated in the early 1900s and has a Gothic appearance, while the interior is mainly Baroque.
Udine’s cathedral is the most important religious building in the city and houses precious treasures such as the altarpieces painted by Giacomo Martini and Gianbattista Tiepolo. Next to the Cathedral stands the bell tower, which dates back to 1441 and houses a museum on the ground floor with free admission.
The exterior of the cathedral welcomes visitors with the Portal of the Redemption: created by an unknown German artist, it dates back to the 14th century and is richly decorated with high reliefs representing the Redemption. Above you can admire the patriarchal eagle.
The interior of the Cathedral, enriched in the 1700s thanks to the Manin family, is a Baroque triumph and deserves a visit especially for the works of Tiepolo: the altarpiece of the Chapel of the Holy Trinity and that of Saints Ermacora and Fortunato, the frescoes of the Chapel of Blessed Sacrament. The Chapel of San Nicolò houses the oldest paintings of the Cathedral: they date back to the 14th century. The Duomo museum houses frescoes, paintings and sculptures from 1300 to 1400, as well as a rich collection of sacred objects, goldsmiths and textile art.
Near the Cathedral there is also the Oratorio della Purità, frescoed by Giambattista Tiepolo and his son. The curious thing about the Oratory is the history of its construction, commissioned by the last patriarch of Aquileia, Daniele Dolfin. In the place of this building, the Old Theater of Udine stood here in the eighteenth century. The patriarch, finding the presence of a theater near the Duomo unsuitable, bought it and had it demolished to build another place of worship in its place.