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Discovering places of worship in Friuli Venezia Giulia

Friuli Venezia Giulia is rich in art, history and culture. As evidence of a history that spans centuries, numerous places of worship are scattered across the region and attract every year thousands of tourists and pilgrims from around the world. The most important and worthy of a visit shrines in our area are certainly the Marian Sanctuary of the island of Barbana (Grado - GO), the National Shrine of Mary Queen Mother of Monte Grisa (Trieste), the Shrine of Monte Santo (Nova Gorica) and the Shrine of Our Lady of Castelmonte (Prepotto - UD).

Close to the Julian Alps, about 7 km from Cividale del Friuli, in the town of Prepotto, lies the ancient village of Castelmonte. Of Roman origin, the whole complex of buildings retains the traits of a stronghold. Inside it, there is a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Castelmonte. Recommended time to visit is autumn, when nature offers an explosion of colors and it’s possible to take walks in the woods nearby and collect chestnuts.

The island of Barbana, set in the middle of the lagoon of Grado is the seat of an ancient and much visited shrine. The legend says that in 582, following a strong storm, a statue of the virgin Mary was found among the branches of a tree, probably dragged there from Istria by the waves. The patriarch Elia ordered to build a church on the island of the discovery and elected as prior Barbana, the man who had found the statue and gave the name to the island.

The Monte Santo (holy mountain) is located north east of Gorizia, at the intersection of the Soča (Isonzo river) and Vipava (Vipacco river) valley in Slovenia. With its 681 meters it offers a splendid view of the Julian Alps, the forest of Trnovo, the Karst up to the sea, the Carnian Alps and the Dolomites of Friuli.
The mount is the seat of the Basilica of the Assumption of Monte Santo, for centuries famous destination of pilgrimage for Slovenian and Italian people.

The Marian shrine of Monte Grisa is an extraordinary building, which dominates the city and the beautiful gulf of Trieste. With its grandeur and essentiality it seems to bloom from the karstic rock of the hill and the dark green of the pines. It would be worth a visit only to enjoy the breathtaking view from the square that opens on the Adriatic Sea and the Gulf of Trieste.

The place where it stands, one of the most impressive of the Karst, makes Monte Grisa an oasis of silence and prayer for those who go there seeking peace and spiritual renewal.

HINTS FOR YOUR HOLIDAYS 

1st Day: MONFALCONE –AQUILEIA – MONFALCONE

02.00 pm: Arrival and room accommodation. Welcome drink, introduction of the hotel and the itinerary.

Early afternoon: transfer and visit to Aquileia, UNESCO World Heritage site. The tour (not guided) includes the National Archeological Museum of Aquileia, the most important permanent exhibition in terms of Roman remnants in Italy, and the Early Christian Museum. It continues with  the Civic Museum of the Patriarchate, with its many archeological finds from the IV Century to the XIX Century and an immense historical and artistic value.

The excursion ends with an aperitif in a typical tavern to taste the famous local wines and appetizing specialties.

08.00 pm: return to the hotel, dinner and overnight. During the evening, possibility of transfer to the casinos of Nova Gorica.

2ND Day: MONFALCONE – GRADO – MONFALCONE

9,00 am: Breakfast and leaving for the Island of Barbana. Transfer by boat from Grado to the Barbana Island Marian Shrine. It was built in 582 AD after a terrible storm which flattened the village, sparing only a statue of Virgin Mary. After its rebuilding, since 1924, the Sanctuary has become goal of an enchanting procession of boats called “Il Perdon“.

01.00 pm: lunch in a typical “Casone“ of the Grado Lagoon and, in the early afternoon, visit of the town centre of Grado.  Known as the “Golden Island“, it was the landing place for boats that, after going up the lagoon, moved to Aquileia. The little village is famous for its picturesque old town, the Basilica of St. Eufemia, the Baptistery and the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

20.00 hrs: return to the hotel, dinner and overnight.

Recommended periods: from April to October for the Barbana Marian Shrine. The other sanctuaries are open all over the year. The autumn season is preferable for the several town festivals related to the chestnut harvest. 




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