The Strada dei Castelli e dei Sapori is a route that runs for about 90 km between rolling hills and beautiful villages in the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, located in the northeastern part of Italy. This road links some of the most famous villages of Friuli, an area that offers many tourist attractions in terms of history, art, nature, food, and wine, connecting castles, villages and historic villas with the places of production and tasting of San Daniele raw ham, Fagagna cheese, San Daniele trout and other typical flavors of the territory. The road is shaped as a loop so you can start the tour from whatever point of the loop you prefer.
Our tour started from Fagagna along a very picturesque stretch that winds through the charming villages perched on the hills, in the heart of Friuli countryside. Here we can not miss to taste the typical local cheese, Fagagna, a hard or semi-hard mature cheese with a delicate flavour in the “fresco” version and stronger “mezzano” (moderately mature) and “vecchio” (mature) versions. The road runs around the Castle of Fagagna, which was the residence of the lieutenant of Friuli during the Venetian conquest (from 1420); in the nearby village of Villalta, there is another beautiful and well-preserved castle, probably the most important medieval castle in Friuli, which dominates the surrounding area from a small hill. Our next stop was Rive d'Arcano with its beautiful castle, one of the best-preserved in Friuli. Then, we moved towards north until we get to San Daniele del Friuli, world famous for its prosciutto, a unique product as it is made only here on the hills around of this town. In late June every year, a big festival celebrates this excellent ham of San Daniele.
Don't miss to visit at least one of the artisanal prosciutterie of the village. We choosed the Prosciuttificio Bagatto, but have lots to choose
From San Daniele del Friuli, a short drive leads us to the town of Ragogna. The Castle of Ragogna is located in a magical and isolated place, on a hill that overlooks the the river Tagliamento between Ragogna and Pinzano. Today, the castle is being renovated, but some parts are open. East of Ragogna is the historic Castle of Susans which recalls in the typology the medieval Tuscan castles, with a rectangular plan with squared square squares as you can not see others in Friuli. Recently restored, the castle is private and it is used for events. You can visit it during the days of “Castelli Aperti”.
The last stops of our tour were the Monte di Buja that houses the remains of what was the medieval castle, built before the date of 983, when the emperor Ottone II gave it in fief, with four others, to the patriarch Rodoaldo. After a few kilometers, we reached Treppo Grande where we will find the beautiful Castle Zegliacco, which today is refined by architectural elements reminiscent of country villas. The castle is private and can be visited on some days during the year. The last castle we found was the Castle of Cassacco, unusually never besieged or destroyed in the past. As unusual it is the conservation of its severe appearance, with medieval features. The castle complex is private and can be visited by appointment.
Along the way, there is plenty of bars, restaurants, prosciutterie and trattorie where you can taste over the famous San Daniele prosciutto, delicacies of the cuisine of Friuli. The itinerary allows you to have a snack or a meal in the characteristic restaurants or prosciutterie, in picturesque corners of the area where you can taste the famous prosciutto di San Daniele and other local specialties including, trout, Frico potatoes, cjarsons, the donkey stew, cheese and dairy pestât ( slow food ), always accompanied by a glass of the amazing wine product in this areapart of Italy.
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