Land of good wine and delightful traditions

Right from the beginning of the fi rst century a.D. the Cividalese territory was subject to the passage of numerous peoples: Romans, Longbards and Veneti left their mark with monuments and works of art which now make Cividale del Friuli, (the ancient Forum Julii, which is traditionally assumed to have been founded in around 50 b.C. by Julius Caesar but probably dates back even further, gave its name to the whole area it dominated, which is still known as Friuli today) one of the mainstays of tourism in our region. While the historical centre of this town still guards archaeological and architectural relics of incredible beauty, just a few kilometres to the south, the hamlet of Spessa guards equally beautiful ad spectacular vineyards. These lands, which have an extraordinary winegrowing tradition, provide the ideal habitat for all the autochthonous and international grape varieties, creating an ever-changing landscape in an undefi ned number of rows of vines on the sunny slopes. Its origins probably date back to Roman times, as the ruins of settlements have been found near the Church of St. Giuseppe (no longer visible today). Here we can visit Villa Giulia, a complex guarded by the mansion house, the farming annexes, added later, the adjacent church-chapel and the park at the rear overlooked by the villa’s main façade. The villa, built on a primitive nucleus dating back to the 16thcentury, possibly belonging to the Boiana family, the Cividalese nobility, passed into the hands of the De Rubeis family and, lastly, in 1814 to the Rubini family, originally from Comasca but transplanted to Friuli in the 18thcentury, who initially cultivated silkworms before moving on to winegrowing. The Rubini’s, the current owners, reconstructed the villa in 1832, giving it its present day appearance and the characteristic imprint in the 19th century mansion. The main body, on two floors plus an attic floor has an entrance hall on the ground floor which once directly linked the park with the yard. The hall is decorated with panels depicting statues and an alcove houses a sculpture of the Canova school. The façade overlooking the garden is characterised in the centre by a pronaos-balcony supported by Doric columns and on the upper floor, by round arched French windows with jutting frames and the De Rubeis family coat of arms above the central one. The neo-classic church-chapel of St. Croce, commissioned by Domenico Rubini in 1835 and decorated for the Rubini-Tosoni wedding, stands next to the villa. The longer side of the church with the bell tower has been partially damaged and all its exterior decorations have disappeared.

The well-conserved park clearly reflects the style of the nineteenth century: it has a large oval-shaped lawn surrounded by age-old trees and, at the bottom, a wood where an artificial lake with a central island was once visible. Also of interest in the neighbourhood is villa of the Romano Counts which houses interesting frescoes by the Cividalese artist Jacum pitor, dating back to the early 20th century and the castle of St. Anna, an old fortress dating back to the 13th century, of which the 16thcentury cellars remain. Near Villa Rubini we can also visit the Romagno Woodland Park, a recreational nature park famous for the events linked with the Partisan resistance during the last world war. The Eocene hills between the Corner river valley and the Judrio river valley at the southern limit of the municipal territory are home to a large, interesting wood of mixed mesophyll broad-lead trees. The most interesting natural feature is created by the complexity of the forestry formations, as it is possible to observe both hill hornbeam woods and the mixed oak wood, with durmasts, bay-oaks, downy oaks and Turkey oaks. The area, occupied by an imposing gun powder factory during the second world war, has been owned by the region since 1968 and is managed by the Regional Forestry

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