The trip from Venice to Austria is brimming with breathtaking views of the Alps and some hidden gems too. One of such hidden gems I discovered was Venzone, Italy’s most beautiful village chosen in 2017 in the Borgo dei Borghi competition.
With a population of a little over 2000 people, the village carries dreadful memories of the Friuli earthquake that caused 47 deaths and destroyed more than half of the village including the historic centre. Even today, the ruins tell a story of loss and rebirth as over 10.000 stones have been preserved and catalogued as a reminder of the deadly past.
Today, the hamlet shines bright as an exquisite gem tucked within the mountainous landscapes of the valleys of the River Tagliamento attracting numerous Austrian visitors fond of the Venetian Gothic architecture and history. Declared a National Monument in 1960, its medieval walls have many stories to tell.
Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, complex by history, is very rich in medieval buildings of striking importance. Saint Andrew cathedral in Venzone is one of those medieval cathedrals in Friuli-Venezia Giulia that have stood the test of time. It contains remains of 14th and 15th century frescoes and is simply too beautiful not to see with your own eyes. The cathedral is open to all visitors that want to immerse in the spirit of the medieval times.
But the interesting facts about Italy’s most beautiful village do not end here!
There’s a mystery surrounding the 14th century fortified town – the mummies of Venzone! In 1600s, mummies were discovered beneath the cathedral. And it caused quite a sensation as for a long time nobody could figure out the reason behind their naturally preserved bodies. “In modern times, scientists finally traced the source of this wonder to Hypha tombicina, a microscopic, parasitic bacteria that rapidly dehydrates the bodies before decomposition can even begin.”
Those with a strong spirit can buy a ticket and look at the mummies in the chapel crypt. Been there, seen it! Not for the faint-hearted!
On a more positive note, I got the impression of Venzone as of a Lavender haven! The town has so many beautiful souvenir shops selling all things lavender you won’t see anywhere else. Perfume soaps, balms, candles, creams, oils, chocolate, you name it!
Because of it, Venzone is a very fragrant and aromatic town.
“Smell gives us a sense of place. Our nose is our built in navigator and every city is filled with smell scapes.”
And that is another reason why you will always carry the memory of this experience in your heart!