Northeast Italy - 2013


Photos by Walt & Gloria Fogler-Mancini

Friuli is a little known province of northeast Italy between the mountains and the Adriatic, bordering Austria and Slovenia.  For the Romans who came in the 2nd century,  the city of Aquileia was important for trade and as the starting point for roads to the east.  Julius Caesar’s legions were quartered there. 

Though Attila and the Huns destroyed the city in the 5th century, local museums have significant archaeological collections and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The romanesque Aquileia Cathedral was built ifrom 1031 to 1379 over older buildings.  The church mosaic floor is from the 4th century and the chapel on the north side is over an Augustan villa with floors of different ages.

The frescoes in the crypt are from the 12th century.

The separate baptistry dates to the 5th century.

The city of Gorizia developed from a watchtower over the fords of the River Isonzo in western Fruili.  The medieval castle was the seat of power for the Hapsburgs.  Since 1947, when the area again joined Italy, a twin town of Nova Gorica developed across the border in Slovenia.

Duino is a small town on the Adriatic coast just north of Trieste.  Two castles are its main attractions, with the oldest being in ruins on the promontory.  The other castle is where Rainier Maria Rilke was a guest of Princess Marie in 1912.  It was there that he began the poem cycle of the Duino Elegies.

Trieste was founded as the Celtic port of Tergeste and became an important port under the Romans.  Augustus built the walls and amphitheater in the first century AD.  The hilltop was the nucleus of the ancient city and the Arco di Riccardo was an entry.  Ruins are under the newer castle.

The Duomo and Castello di San Giusto, from the 14th-15th centuries, have a commanding view of the city and port.  Both the Venetian and Hapsburg builders used the nearby Roman ruins for building materials.  The mosaics are older.

After the fall of the Roman empire, Trieste developed at the crossroads of Latin, Slavic and Germanic cultures.  It was Venice’s rival in many ways.  It became part of the Hapsburg empire and was declared a free port in 1718.  It became the neoclassical city we see today under the enlightened rule of the Empress Maria Teresa in the 18th century.  It was the empire’s principal port.

The Canal Grande was created in the 18th century.  The Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia was made by filling in the old Roman harbor in the 19th century.

Since rejoining Italy in 1954, Trieste has become a culturally vibrant city, known for its coffeehouses, yachting, and well-developed port and shipyards.  It is popular with cruise ships.  Much of its prosperity comes from trade with other countries,

James Joyce lived, taught and worked in Trieste for many years.

The photographs were taken with Leicas, the M8 and M9.  All images are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission.  We can be contacted at   Our home page is

February 16, 2014                                                                                                                                                                                           wgfm                                                          

A museum with many Roman artifacts is under the hilltop castle.