TRIESTE PROVINCE

GORIZIA PROVINCE

UDINE PROVINCE

UDINE

CARNIA

TARVISIO

VENZONE

GEMONA

BORDANO

SAN DANIELE

CIVIDALE

VILLA MANIN

AQUILEIA

MARANO LAGUNARE

PORDENONE PROVINCE

 

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Udine Province

Carnia

Friuli's northwest corner is dominated by the Carnia mountains, through which run the many tributaries of the Tagliamento River. These form Carnia's seven valleys: Val Tagliamento, Val Lumiei, Val Degano, Valcalda, Valle del Bût, Val Pesarina, and Valle del Chiarsò. Carnia takes its name from the region’s first inhabitants, a Celtic tribe called the Carni. Thought to be less barbaric in nature than their warrior cousins, these Celts wandered across the Alps in search of a quiet place to raise cattle. Modern-day residents have inherited their ancestors’ peaceful ways, as well as their spiritual connection to nature.

Sauris

Sauris is perhaps Carnia's most picturesque village, nestled in the Carnian Alps, its verdant hills dotted with Alpine farmhouses, gabled chalets, and the onion-domed steeple of Chiesa di Sant’Osvaldo. Sauris consists of two separate towns: tranquil Sauris di Sopra, at 4600 feet, boasting the highest altitude of any Carnian town and Sauris di Sotto, home to Prosciuttificio Wolf Sauris.

In the mid-19th century, village eccentric Pietro Schneider (who went by the nickname “Wolf”) began selling his homemade hams, which he seasoned and smoked using a variety of local herbs and wood. Schneider’s family continued this tradition for a full century; in 1962, his grandson Beppino Petris took over the business, officially naming the new company Prosciuttificio Wolf Sauris. To keep up with orders, a new plant was built in 1983. Today, Wolf's barn-like factory turns out an annual eighty thousand legs of prosciutto, one hundred thousand legs of speck, and hundreds of tons of pancetta, salami, cotechino, ossocollo, and coppa.

Arta Terme

Arta Terme is well-known for its thermal baths, the Terme di Arta, but should also be recognized for producing some of the best cjarsòns in the region. You will find these at Hotel Ristorante Salon, located in the hilltop hamlet of Piano d’Arta on a serene lane lined with shady trees and wisteria blossoms. When Arta Terme’s thermal baths first opened in the late 19th century, the sudden influx of visitors spawned a proliferation of new restaurants and hotels in the valley. Salon was one of the originals, opened by Osvaldo Salon in 1910—first as an osteria and then expanding a few years later into a small pensione.

It was when Osvaldo passed the business down to his son Bepi, a budding mycologist, that the restaurant saw a significant transformation. In a tourist market where hotel menus typically featured “national” dishes such as spaghetti al ragù, lasagne, and tortellini in brodo, Bepi Salon pioneered the use of local ingredients and regional specialties. With his wife, Fides, commanding the kitchen, the pair introduced guests to such Carnian peasant fare as polenta, frittata, and goulasch.

Many experts have judged Salon's cjarsòns to be the best in existence. Filled with a complex blend of eighteen ingredients, they offer the perfect flavor combination of herbs and fruit, sweet and savory, salty and smoky. The pasta is delicate, never doughy, and the cinnamon-laced butter is enhanced by just the right amount of ricotta affumicata.

Every May, Arta Terme presents the Festa dell’Asparago di Bosco, del Radicchio di Montagna, e dei Funghi di Primavera, a festival that celebrates three bounties of springtime—wild asparagus, mountain radicchio, and mushrooms. Restaurants throughout Arta Terme serve special tasting-menus, featuring such dishes as herb fritters, fillet of locally-caught trout marinated with wild fennel, and orzotto with morel mushrooms. At the street fair, booths display artisanal foods and handmade crafts.