Udine is a commune in the north eastern region of Italy that sits in close proximity to the Slovenian border. It lies in-between the Adriatic Sea and the Alps and has a current population of approximately 99,000. This city has an ancient history and has influences from Attila the Hun, the Republic of Venice and the Kings of Lombard.
Udine rose to prominence during the 1700’s and was eventually integrated into the Kingdom of Italy in 1866. The economy of Udine centres on commerce, and mechanical and iron manufacturing industries. For the intrepid tourist, Udine has a wide range of interesting historical sites such as the Duomo, Castle and beautiful Loggia del Lionello. Furthermore, several stunning Piazzas were created during the Venetian reign such as the Piazza Matteotti. Udine also has several beautiful parks and a handful of intriguing museums.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Udine:
1. Udine Castle
In the centre of the historic old town is the wonderful Castle of Udine.
This beautiful structure was created in 1517 but wasn’t completed until 50 years after.
With a front façade that features some stunning arches, a central tower and a series of windows, the castle is one of the premier buildings in the city.
At the rear of the castle is a gorgeous portico lined with a long row of ornate arches – this is a delightful place to walk through on a summer’s day.
Within the main building of the castle is the interesting Art and History museum that contains a plethora of artefacts and artworks from the city and surrounding region.
2. Udine Cathedral
This delightful cathedral is the central religious structure of Udine and is an impressive church.
Located in the self-titled Piazza del Duomo, the cathedral is easily accessible.
The front façade of this huge structure features several beautiful rose windows, arched designs and a beautiful carved wooden door.
Inside the cathedral is a plethora of fantastic decoration including frescos from Giovanni Tiepolo and Maffeo Verona.
Furthermore, there are several ornate sculptures and the ceilings are packed full for gorgeous artwork depicting various religious scenes.
Although this cathedral was constructed in the 13th century, it still retains its original beauty and splendour.
3. Loggia del Lionello
This structure is one of the most important buildings in Udine and is considered to be a symbol of the city.
Created in a Venetian Gothic style, this building is a fine example of this type of architecture and is one of the best preserved examples in this region of Italy.
The front façade of this structure is composed of two levels – the first of which has a portico lined with a series of Venetian arches.
Above this is the second level that is finely decorated with alternating levels of white and pink marble.
Within the portico, the floor is covered with a fantastic tile pattern featuring red, pink and white colours.
This truly is an amazing structure and the architecture will leave you breathless.
4. Piazza Liberta
Not far from the Piazza Matteotti is the Piazza Liberta.
This is another delightful square that lies in close proximity to Udine Castle.
As the oldest square in Udine, this public place has held an important place in the history of the city for hundreds of years.
Contained within this square is a plethora of fantastic structures including the Loggia del Lionello, the Torre dell’Orologio and the Arco Bollani.
Furthermore, within the square itself are several ornate monuments, marble statues and fountains.
This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful areas of Udine and is a great place to see some historical architecture.
5. Piazza Matteotti
The Piazza Matteotti is one of the main open public spaces in Udine and has some fantastic architecture and a bright atmosphere.
Located in the centre of the historic old town, this square was originally built during the 13th century when the town was given market rights.
At the western side of the square there is an ornate column that depicts the Virgin Mary with child.
Furthermore, the Chiesa di San Giacomo has a stunning white façade and is a central structure in the square.
There is also an opulent fountain and the other structures are painted in a variety of colours.
If you are looking for a place to relax, do a little sight-seeing and have a coffee, Piazza Matteotti is the perfect place.
6. Giardin Grande
Just to the right of the historic town centre is the beautiful Giardin Grande.
This circular garden is framed by a row of gorgeous trees and has 6 symmetrical paths that lead towards the central fountain.
In-between the paths are 6 finely manicured lawns that are perfect to relax on and sunbathe.
At the northern end of the garden is the smaller Giardino Loris Fortuna – this small area is shaded by trees and is surrounded by some beautiful architecture.
Surrounding these two public gardens is a series of restaurants and cafes – this is just a charming place to walk through and enjoy.
7. Museo Diocesano e Gallerie del Tiepolo
Located in a decadent structure next to the charming church of San Antonio Abate, the Diocesano Museum is an important cultural and historical building.
The aim of this museum is to preserve the cultural heritage of the religious orders of Udine and does so by maintaining a huge amount of artefacts and relics.
Displays within this museum date back as far as the Roman period, including a fine stone statue of Pluto.
Furthermore, there is a collection of wooden sculptures and polychrome carvings.
Additionally there is an impressive library collection which contains over 10,000 volumes and manuscripts.
You can also find altar pieces, Renaissance decoration and a series of richly decorated rooms.
This museum is a great place to visit to learn about the religious past of Udine.
8. Parco del Cormor
Located next to the Friuli Stadium is the fantastic Parco del Cormor.
This park stretches over a large area and is a great place to explore and enjoy some walking.
In the northern end of the park there is a large wooded area that is abundant in wildlife and has some trails to walk through.
The southern part on the other hand has some open pastures and footpaths lined with trees and bushes, plus some interesting water features and fountains.
If you are looking for refreshment there is a café in the grounds.
Furthermore there is also a children’s playground and plenty of space for sunbathing, ball games and recreational sports.
9. Chiesa di San Giacomo
Another brilliant church in the centre of Udine, the Chiesa di San Giacomo is located in the Piazza Matteotti.
Created in the 16th century, the church has a baroque style and features a white-washed front façade with a central bell tower.
The top of the bell tower is decorated with some shell reliefs and a bronze clock-face.
Inside the church, the Baroque design continues and there are a series of frescos, sculptures and paintings.
Notable works include the Virgin with the Holy Apollina bv Griffoni, and the Virgin Surrounded by Saints by Carneo.
This church is truly beautiful and is a fine example of Renaissance architecture.
10. Enjoy a cocktail or fine wine at the Liberty Bar
Udine has some amazing nightlife destinations, and one of the more well-known establishments is the Liberty Bar.
Only a short walk from the historic town centre and the Parco Moretti, this bar has a great location and is a fantastic place to enjoy a drink or three.
This American themed bar has a great atmosphere and a wonderful selection of drinks.
Why not try one of the perfectly made cocktails or maybe one of the myriad of spirits on sale? Alternatively you can choose from a selection of ales, wines and beers.
On certain evenings the bar features live Jazz music and there is a large grand piano that is often in use.
11. Enjoy a delicious meal at the La Nicchia Restaurant
Located on the Via Gemona, the La Nicchia restaurant is one of the prime spots in Udine to enjoy a fantastic home-cooked meal.
Service is key here and the staff will ensure your experience is a memorable one – they are attentive and friendly.
If you are looking for an authentic pasta dish, the La Nicchia menu will have something to satiate your appetite – they create a range of pasta dishes and the taste and presentation is amazing.
Furthermore, you can choose from some quality starters including a selection of cold meats and salads.
What more could you want than great prices, quality food and a pleasing atmosphere?
12. Take a trip to the beach at Lignano Sabbiadoro
If you want to relax, escape the city and enjoy some sunshine at the beach, consider heading to Lignano Sabbiadoro.
You can reach this fantastic coastal town from Udine in less than an hour.
The main feature of this town is the long stretch of golden beach – the sands stretch for approximately 7km along the coast until reaching the Punta Faro Marina.
On this stretch of beach is a plethora of sun loungers, bear bars, and public areas for recreation.
Behind the beach are an aqua park and a theme park, and also a series of hotels and restaurants.
Further up the coast are another amusement park and the gorgeous Terrazza a Mare which is a large pier that juts out into the sea.
Lignano really is a great place to visit and is one of the premier beach resorts in the region.
13. Museo del Duomo
Located within the Baptistery of the Cathedral, the Duomo Museum regales the history of the structure and contains a plethora of relics and artefacts.
This is a great place to visit if you wish to learn more about the impressive Cathedral of Udine.
Within the museum is a plethora of frescos, religious relics and vestments.
Some of these artefacts date back to medieval times and have been kept in impeccable condition despite their old age.
14. Take a trip to Trieste
Whilst Udine has a great deal to offer in terms of tourist attractions, a neighbouring city that is also packed full of delights is the coastal town of Trieste.
This wonderful city can be reached in an hour by car along the coastal E70 route, but there are also regular trains that take approximately 1 hour 10 minutes.
Trieste has numerous attractions including the epic Piazza Unita d’Italia, Trieste Cathedral, the Canal Grande, the Roman Theatre and the Castello di San Giusto.
Furthermore, Trieste has an extensive harbour full of commercial and recreational boats of all sizes.
You could literally spend hours admiring the well maintained ports and the quaint quays full of fishing boats.
15. Watch an event at the Friuli Stadium
Udine has a history of competitive sport and one of its most successful teams is the Serie A football club Udinese.
The Friuli Stadium is home of this football club and has a capacity of just over 25,000. This stadium is a true feat of modern engineering and has one covered stand with the other three open to the elements.
Udinese have had varying success in the Italian Serie A and have reached several European finals and have competed in the Champions League.
Located in the north western region of Udine, the stadium is a great place to come to witness a football match – the atmosphere is fantastic and the locals come to life.