There’s a land narrating about sieges, battles, ancient traditions and aristocracy, located along the river Tagliamento: it’s Valvasone, listed among the Borghi più Belli d’Italia (the most Beautiful Villages in Italy) in Friuli Venezia Giulia. A noble family coming from Carinthia ruled here in the 13th century: as a matter of fact, the name Valvasone comes from the German word “Wolfes”+ “Höfe” (meaning “The Wolf’s Hut”). But soon, Venice took over power in 1419-1420, defeating local rulers. Have a stroll with us through the village and take a step back in time!

The Castle 

The most effective time-machine in the village is the Castle, that today resembles more a palace than a defensive building. Just imagine it was provided with towers and ramparts, ready to defend the Land of the Wolf. The wide entrance path was actually an impressive tower, with a lift bridge, a moat and a brooklet. Visiting the castle, do not miss the 14th and 15th century fresques: the tree of life, vividly depicting the human existence’s cycle, will amaze you for the effectiveness of the scenes, while the fierce Wolf of Valvasone will appear in an allegoric and entertaining scene. Here, a donkey comfortably sitting on a throne and covered in a red cape tries to teach the alphabet to the Wolf, that fiercely refuses to learn with a annoyed mimic. May this be a reference to the Patriarch of Aquileia, that aimed at imposing his power over local rulers?

The real “hidden jewel” of the Castle is the Smallest Theater in Italy, with only 50 seats. Built in the late 1700, it has some wooden theatre boxes, perfectly preserved, once used by the castle owners to assist to farces and dramas. The decoration is composed by mythological scenes as well as by blonde and chunky puttos: would you be able to spot the only girl-putto, well blending in with males?

The Duomo 

Let’s not forget to get into the Romanesque Cathedral: here, the highlight is the precious organ, the only Italian 16th century instrument still working perfectly. This instrument will amaze us thanks to its wonderful frescoes, created by the great painter Giovanni Antonio de Sacchis, an important Renaissance artist, and its step-son, Pomponio Amalteo, engaged in painting competition representing biblical scenes.

The Borgo 

Let’s get lost in the Village alleys, admiring the evocative Tower close to the Castle, the ancient stone houses combined with Gothic Palaces, the cobbled alleys with courtyards full of flowers. Let’s stop in front of the public wash tub, perfectly preserved through time. Here women mixed ash with boiling water, creating a substance called “lissiva” that they poured over their laundry: after an half-day of “rest”, clothes and blankets were ready to be washed in the river and hung out to dry. Furthermore, the Village presents wide renovated porticoes and monuments: Count Eugene Palace, headquarter of the French army in 1797 (where Napoleon slept during the conquer of Friuli); the 15th century water mill, renovated and still operating; Gandini palace, whose sundial tells: “Nihil tempore pretiosus”, nothing is more precious than time… and time, here, seems to stand still.

images credits:

Raffaello De Gottardo (pordenonecastelli) – quadro nello slider