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Cividale del Friuli


The town's name derives from the Latin "Civitas Austriae", later popularized in Cividale. Municipality in the province of Udine is enclosed by the Giulie Pre-Alps to the North and by the river Natisone to the South. The village looks like a large eagle with outstretched wings and with its head in profile and is the result of developments carried out in different historical periods. On the ancient Roman system, characterized a certain regularity, of which remains only a main gateway, followed one of the Lombard period, the era of the patriarchs and the domination of the Venetians. The walls built in this period are still visible, like some of the districts that develop around the center.
Founded by Julius Caesar between 54 and 50 B.C., the "Forum Julii" (the first name of this center, from which derives also the name "Friuli"), which has been an important reference point through all the centuries. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the VI century, with Gisulfo, it became the first capital of the Lombard Duchy in the region. Destroyed by the Avari in 610 and conquered by the Franks, it became the seat of the Patriarch of Aquileia. In the XII century it was proclaimed municipality and in the XV century it was conquered by the Venetian Serenissima Republic and played an important defensive role on the Eastern border. Subsequently the town followed the same fate of other nearby localities under the rule of Venice, until in 1866 it was subjected to Austria.

- the Cathedral, situated in the square, where once stood the site of the ancient Roman Forum, was built in 1457 by Bartolomeo delle Cisterne in Gothic-Venetian style. It features a simple stone façade, interrupted by three Gothic portals, of which the largest central one is a masterpiece of the artist Jacopo Veneziano and it is flanked by a Baroque Bell Tower with a massive square base, originally built between the XVII and XVIII century. Inside is preserved an altar of the Madonna by Giorgio Massari, the Pietà in sandstone dating from the XV century, the octagonal shaped Baptistery by Callisto, the Ara of Ratchis, both of the VIII century, frescoes taken from the Lombard Temple, a patriarchal throne and several decorative elements of the Middle Ages;
- the XIV century Church of San Francesco, which is flanked by a Romanesque Bell Tower and houses frescoes from the XIV and XV centuries;
- the Church of San Pietro ai Volti, rebuilt in the late XVIII century and preserves inside a precious altarpiece, artwork of Palma il Giovane;
- the Church of San Giovanni in Xenodochio, which presents a structure in Neoclassical style, built on an existing early Christian one;
- the VII century Church of Santa Maria di Corte;
- the XV century Church of Saints Peter and Biagio;
- the Monastery Maggiore with unusual shaped cloister;
- the Devil's Bridge on the Natisone, which was built in 1442, restored several times and finally rebuilt by the Austrians in 1918. It consists of two unequal arches;
- the Temple, also called the Oratory of Santa Maria in the Valley, built in the VIII century, during the domain of the Lombards and completed in the Carolingian period. It overlooks the river and consists of a large square shaped hall, that ends with an apse. It is enriched with fine stucco decorations and important testimonies of the late medieval art. It also preserves the sarcophagus of Piltrude, built with materials obtained from a VIII century bishop's throne;
- the Patriarchal gate entrances: Porta Arsenale Veneto of the XV century and Porta Patriarcale;
- the Roman gate;
- the XIV century Town Hall, built in Gothic style with mullioned windows and a porch below. It has been restored several times. In front of it, finds location a bronze statue of Julius Caesar, founder of the city;
- the Palace of the Venetian Administrators, built in the late XVI century and designed by Palladio, today houses the Archeological Museum;
- the Archaeological Museum inside which are on display numerous exhibits of the Lombard period.


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