“Ladies and gentlemen! Our plane landed at the airport of Trieste. We are glad to welcome you in Italy,” a pleasant male baritone informs. Out of Moscow habit, we frantically grab onto mobile phones – and here is your first surprise! My mobile operator greeted me in the territory of … Slovenia, and a neighbor received an SMS with roaming tariffs for the territory of Croatia. “And it turns out I am in Austria!” – admired the girl on the left. Perhaps nothing better than this episode will describe Friuli-Venezia Giulia, perhaps the most unique Italian region with Roman roots, a Venetian past, an Austrian accent and Slovenian hospitality.
Lignano – Little Florida
“Ciao! Bianvenutti and Italy!” – the guide welcomes us, a pretty girl with a strange name for the Italian Linda. “Well, have the British also been here?” – We are almost not surprised. “My name is a consequence of the linguistic predilections of my elder sister. But in some ways you are right: in the entire history of the region who has not been here, and the British in this sense are almost the only exception,” says Linda, while our bus is heading to side of Lignano, the resort we have chosen as the “base”.
At first glance, Lignano is not much different from any other resort town: the same neat small hotels immersed in greenery and flowers, streets consisting of cozy cafes and shops with ice cream and fruits, bicycles and scooters traditional for Italy. However, there are some peculiarities.
Lignano in terms of recreational opportunities is very diverse, but it is clearly structured. The city consists of three main areas. Lignano Sabbiadoro, called Hemingway “Little Florida”, is the summertime entertainment capital of northeast Italy and is known for its vibrant nightlife. The bulk of stores and boutiques are concentrated here. Lignano Pineta and Lignano Riviera will provide unlimited opportunities for sports lovers and a healthy lifestyle. So while the ladies are besieging the shops and basking in the SPA and wellness centers, their companions can go in for sports or go with the children to the amusement park – there are six of them in Lignano. By the way, for many adults this type of entertainment is also not alien. In any case, the gray-haired grandfathers on the carousel are almost the main competitors to their grandchildren.
Throwing things at the hotel, we rush to, perhaps, the most important tourist attraction for the frozen Russian tourist – the sea. Here it is, dear to the heart of the beach! Yes, and what – eight kilometers of golden sand, decorated with picturesque lagoons and snow-white cliffs. A blue flag proudly flies overhead – a certificate of compliance with the most stringent canons of cleanliness and safety. Still not even plunging into the gentle warm waves, I want to agree with the unofficial name of Lignano – “the European capital of beaches.”
In the evening, we will have a championship in the most popular female sport – shopping. Under it, in Lignano, an entire street with a length of two kilometers is allotted. Actually, just a walk along it can save you from the consequences of a tiramisu conscience eaten furtively. Moreover, ladies often rush about, running from a shop window with a hat in one store to a counter with scarves in another, which increases the total mileage traveled by one and a half times.
One of the advantages of a holiday in Lignano is its location. From here, in an hour or two you can get to almost all the major cities and attractions of the region or visit neighboring Austria and Slovenia. For example, to the “pearl of Italy” – Venice from Lignano, you can drive for an hour and a half. You can go there by rented car or with a guided tour. By the way, sightseeing buses provide the so-called transfer service: for € 35 you will be taken to Venice, and there you will walk on your own. Very comfortably!
Another mandatory point of the excursion program is the capital of the region, the city of Trieste. It was founded by the Romans, its name translates as “trading city”. Actually, the locals were mainly engaged in trade. Being a seaport, Trieste developed rapidly, grew rich and good. Including for this reason, someone grabbed it every now and then, however, the Austrians left the most noticeable trace, which, first of all, was reflected in the architecture. Having turned a corner of a traditional Italian street with its colored shutters and hanging flower beds, you can unexpectedly find yourself in medieval Austria.
If you take the 36th bus in Trieste, you will reach Miramare Castle in 20-30 minutes. This castle was built for himself and his wife Charlotte of Belgium by Maximilian of Habsburg, brother of the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph. True, the couple did not live in it for long – soon Maximilian was offered to ascend the Mexican throne. This story ended sadly – from Mexico the monarch never returned alive. They say that death in a foreign land became a fate for all subsequent residents of the castle, so that in order to avoid the continuation of the lethal traditions, it was turned into a museum and no one is allowed to stop there.