Venzone is an unforgettable and unique town, so much so that it was elected “Village of Villages 2017” and declared a “National Monument” in 1965. Visiting it, one finds oneself in a real 14th-century village, which the inhabitants were able to keep intact and rebuild after the 1976 earthquake that devastated the town. Piece by piece, the original stones have been reassembled, breathing life back into the city’s iconic cathedral and other public buildings. Friulians’ pride in this painstaking work and love for the historic village are celebrated with the Pumpkin Festival, a historical reenactment in which the inhabitants dress in medieval clothing and pumpkin in all its forms is served in the festive village.
Venzone has been elected a National Monument, as the only 14th-century village left in Friuli Venezia Giulia. The fortified village looks exactly as it did in the Middle Ages, with the mighty walls, 8 meters high and 1.5 meters wide, anchored by 15 towers forming a double wall surrounded by a deep moat.
Many scenes of the masterpiece film The Great War were filmed in Friuli and particularly in Venzone. It is no coincidence that director Mario Monicelli chose this place rich in history, longed for by many peoples and the scene of many wars. The different domains have left the mark of their passage with the many works from different eras.
The small village can only be visited on foot. From the parking lot, past the imposing walls, you can stroll through the narrow streets, visiting Town Hall Square, the Tiere Motus exhibition in Palazzo Orgnani Martina, St. Andrew’s Cathedral, St. Michael’s Crypt, and the Mummy Museum.
The double walls with 15 towers enclose an extraordinary village, identical to how it was in the Middle Ages, in which noble palaces and the magnificent Romanesque-Gothic cathedral erected in 1308 stand out. Strolling through the streets, one can see: the 11th-century Casa Marcurele, the oldest building in the village; the 14th-century Palazzo degli Scaligeri; the 18th-century Palazzo Zinutti; the 14th-century Casa Calderari; the 15th-century Palazzo Comunale; the 18th-century Palazzo Orgnani Martina, home of the museum Tiere Motus; the 14th-century Church of St. John the Baptist. Finally, the 13th-century Crypt of St. Michael, with Venzone’s mummies from between the 14th and 19th centuries.
The cathedral, named after St. Andrew the Apostle, dates back to the year 1308 and is one of the oldest buildings in Venzone. In the 1976 earthquake it was almost completely destroyed. The people rebuilt it from the ruins using the original stones.
The magnificent building is in the Romanesque-Gothic style, and inside you can still see the 14th-century frescoes from the time of its construction. The cathedral also preserves works from later periods: the “Lamentation over the Dead Christ” from 1500, consisting of 8 wooden statues, and the “Pieta,” a stone sculpture from 1400.
In 1647 nearly forty mummies were unearthed near the cathedral, including the oldest known as the Hunchback. The corpses date from between the 14th and 19th centuries, but are perfectly preserved as they have undergone a natural mummification process that has halted their decomposition. Five of these mummies are displayed in the Crypt of the 13th-century Chapel of St. Michael.
Summer hours 09:00-19:00. Winter hours 09:00-17:00.
Admission to the Crypt is subject to the purchase of a ticket/token. The token can be purchased at the tobacconist next to the building and at several other stores in the village for €2.
Erected in the 14th century, the church was destroyed in the 1976 earthquake and only the main facade remains. The ruin was not rebuilt by choice, to remain as a reminder of the tragedy that struck Friuli.
Near the city walls, the remains of the Church of St. Clare from the 1200s, which was a convent of the Poor Clares, can be explored. It too was destroyed in the ’76 earthquake.
The Pumpkin Festival is a medieval re-enactment with an ironic twist in which inhabitants dress up as noblewomen and knights, soldiers, jesters, jugglers and other characters of the time. The festival draws tourists from all over Friuli Venezia Giulia and neighboring regions, attracted by the historical re-enactment and the pumpkin, which is served with different recipes. Pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, whole or carved, are displayed everywhere, and on the last day farmers compete for the heaviest pumpkin prize.
The pumpkin festival takes place every year, on the fourth weekend of October, on Saturday and Sunday.
The historic center of Venzone can be visited exclusively on foot. Outside the circle of walls there is ample free parking.
Yes, the city is part of “Stage 6 Tarvisio-Venzone” and “Stage 7 Venzone-Udine.”
The small village, the cathedral, the museum dedicated to the earthquake and the Crypt of the Mummies can be visited in half a day. It is also recommended to visit the surroundings of Venzone, walking among the summer lavender blooms, and the ancient Celtic path that connects votive churches from different eras, from the year 1000 to the 18th century. All this is set in the fascinating setting of the Julian Pre-Alps Nature Park.
Yes. The visit to the ancient mummies is very interesting and informative, both historically and scientifically.
The contents of this page are protected from reproduction and copying with a digital certificate