Travel to Lidia’s Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and a recipe for Herb and Wild Greens Fritatta

There is a lot to experience and enjoy in this part of Italy. It is still an undiscovered treasure. – Lidia Bastianich (Fodor’s – 2007)

There is nothing that impacts your life quite as much as travel to new destinations and far away places.  It opens your mind and can change your perspective about people and different cultures and within these cultures how food and wine play a significant role.

As you may remember, we recently traveled to Europe for a Mediterranean cruise.  We had the opportunity to visit several countries and experience the unique food and cultures of places as far away as Asia and some more familiar like Italy.  One of the highlights of this incredible journey was the time we spent prior to the cruise in the northeast corner of Italy in Friuli-Venezia Giulia.  At the invitation of Lidia Bastianich, we traveled to Friuli to experience a little bit of this beautiful region which has become known as Lidia’s Italy through her books and television series.

The Friulian plains with the Alps in the distance

Situated on the border of Austria to the north and Slovenia to the east, this part of Italy has been called “the land of contrasts” due to the diversity in the landscapes, its complicated history and influence of different civilizations on the region.  Surrounded by the Alps to the west and north and the Adriatic Sea to the south, there are indeed many contrasts in topography, language, culture and food in this region.

Cividale del Friuli

Café San Marco with a statue of Julius Caesar who founded Cividale

For our visit, we traveled approximately one and a half hours north of Venice to the historic town of Cividale del Friuli.  We stayed on the outskirts of the city in a beautiful agriturismo, Il Roncal.  This property is surrounded by its own vineyard which rises up the slope of Montebello.  From this base, we set out on a whirlwind tour of Friuli with our guide, Wayne Young.

Driving into Il Roncal

Il Roncal

Wayne is the Sales Communication and Marketing Manager for Bastianich and La Mozza wineries in Friuli.  The Bastianich Winery is a joint venture between Lidia and her son, Joe BastianichLa Mozza is owned by Lidia, Joe and Mario Batali.  Having worked with the Bastianich family for 17 years and as the Sommelier at restaurant Becco in New York City between 1995 and 1998, Wayne is very knowledgeable about all aspects of wines and in particular, the wines of this region.  He guided us through several wine tastings and meals at local trattorias where we experienced the flavors this region has to offer. He also escorted us to several local artisans and winemakers and provided translation since many of the people we met spoke only Italian.

The view of the vineyards on the hillside of Montebello

The sun finally arrived the day we left bringing brilliant blue skies

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