Friuli–Venezia Giulia is Italy’s most North-Eastern region. It covers an area of 7,858 km2 and is the fifth smallest region of the country. It borders Austria to the north and Slovenia to the east. To the south it faces the Adriatic Sea and to the west its internal border is with the Veneto region.

The region spans a wide variety of climates and landscapes from the mild Mediterranean climate in the south to Alpine continental in the north. The total area is subdivided into a 42.5% mountainous-alpine terrain in the north, 19.3% is hilly, mostly to the south-east, while the remaining 38.2% comprises the central and coastal plains.

A view of the Carnia highlands.

Morphologically the region can be subdivided into four main areas. The mountainous area in the north: this part of the region includes Carnia and the ending section of the Alps (Carnic Alps and Julian Alps), of which the highest peaks exceed 2,700 m above sea level (Jôf di Montasio 2,754 m.). Its landscapes are characterised by vast pine forests and pastures, mountain lakes (e.g. Sauris and Barcis) and numerous streams and small rivers descending from the mountains. The area is also known for its tourist destinations, especially during the winter season (Monte Zoncolan, Tarvisio). The hilly area, situated to the south of the mountains and along the central section of the border with Slovenia. The main product of agriculture in this area is wine, whose quality, especially the white, is known worldwide. The easternmost part of the hilly area is also known as Slavia Friulana, as it is mostly inhabited by ethnic Slovenes. The central plains are characterised by poor, arid and permeable soil. The soil has been made fertile with an extensive irrigation system and through the adoption of modern intensive farming techniques. In this part of the region most of the agricultural activities are concentrated. The coastal area can be further subdivided in two, western-eastern, subsections separated by the river Isonzo‘s estuary. To the west, the coast is shallow and sandy, with numerous tourist resorts and the lagoons of Grado and Marano Lagunare. To the east, the coastline rises into cliffs, where the Kras plateau meets the Adriatic, all the way to Trieste and Muggia on the border with Slovenia. The Carso has geological features and phenomena such as hollows, cave networks and underground rivers, which extend inland in the provinces of Trieste and Gorizia, with an altitude ranging between 300m and 600m.

Carso landscape at Doberdò.

The rivers of the region flow from the North and from Slovenia into the Adriatic. The two main rivers are the Tagliamento, which flows west-east in its upper part in the Carnic Alps and then bends into a north-south flow that separates the Julian Alps from Alpine foothills and the Isonzo (Soča slo.) which flows from Slovenia into Italy. The Timavo is an underground river that flows for 38 km from Slovenia and resurfaces near its mouth north-west of Duino.

The region Friuli–Venezia Giulia has a temperate climate. However, due to the terrain’s diversity, it varies considerably from one area to another. Walled by the Alps on its northern flank, the region is exposed to air masses from the East and the West. The region receives also the southerly Scirocco from the Adriatic sea, which brings in heavy rainfall. Along the coast the climate is mild and pleasant. Trieste records the smallest temperature differences between winter and summer and between day and night. The climate is Alpine-continental in the mountainous areas, where, in some locations, the coldest winter temperatures in Italy can often be found. The Kras plateau has its own weather and climate, influenced, mostly during autumn and winter, by masses of cold air coming from the North-East. These generate a very special feature of the local climate: the north-easterly wind Bora, which blows over the Gulf of Trieste with gusts..



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