Gorizia: Nice of the Adriatic

Gorizia is the capital of the province of the same name in the northern Italian region Friuli Venezia Giulia. It is also called Görz or Gorica, nestles in a rolling countryside marked by vineyards and is located immediately on the border with Slovenia.

Whether you are interested in culture or nature, you would like to go hiking, cycling or swimming or you are looking for special culinary delights – in and around Gorizia everything is possible. Last but not least this is due to the eventful history with many changing sovereigns and the mixture of different languages and cultural environments. For instance, in Gorizia you’ll hear not only Italian, but sometimes also German and Slovenian.

From the late Middle Ages the Austrian counts of Gorizia had their domicile in the city. Then the area came under the rule of Hapsburg, afterwards under the kingdom of Illyria and then Gorizia was again an independent crown land. Finally the city and the province were awarded to the state of Italy and the region Friuli Venezia Giulia.

The Hapsburgs already appreciated Gorizia because of the pleasant climate and the well-kept, till now relatively green town. The byname “Nice of the Adriatic” also dates from that time. The extensive parks and green spaces such as the huge Parco Piuma-Isonzo, the park of the Palazzo Coronini Cronberg and the azalea garden Parco Viatori are very beautiful.

Another peculiarity of Gorizia: The national border, which was drawn after World War Two between Italy and former Yugoslavia, run right through the city in the form of a wall. A small part in the east with the station belonged to Yugoslavia and later it was extended to the Slovenian town Nova Gorica. Since Slovenian’s joining of the EU and the entry into force of the Schengen Agreement it is no problem to cross the border. So it is possible to be with one foot in Italy and with the other one in Slovenia.

The town itself is characterized by a varied mix of medieval, baroque and other elements and by a broad range of cultural sights – for instance the central square Piazza della Vittoria, which is flanked by the church San Ignazio with two remarkable onion domes. On the other side there is a little hill with a medieval castle that offers a wonderful view to the city and the surrounding area.

The hilly environs of Gorizia in Friuli Venezia Giulia are perfectly suitable for hiking, cycling and riding out. Last but not least the province of Gorizia satisfies also swimmers and sun worshippers, because with the lovely town of Grado there is available also a popular seaside resort.