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Sacile: In the Heart of Italy’s Friuli Venezia Giulia

Sacile, found in the heart of Friuli Venezia Giulia province, is a small town known as the “Garden of the Serenissima” because of its similarities to Venice. It is a vibrant town on the Livenza River.

Locals, or visiting tourists, can board the train in Sacile and be in Venice in an hour, or drive north and be in the mighty Dolomites in less than two hours. This is one of the reasons it is undoubtedly referred to as the heart of Italy’s Friuli Venezia Giulia

Friuli Venezia Giulia-Sacile river tower flowers

Things to do in Sacile

Many noblemen from Venice built summer palaces along the Livenza to escape the intense heat of Venice. Palazzo del Comune di Sacile and the Palazzo Ragazzoni Flangini Billia are two great examples of Renaissance design.

With its Renaissance and Baroque style architecture, a network of bridges and alleyways, ubiquitous flowers, and towering green trees, Sacile is an ideal place to relax and enjoy the essence of Italy.

Friuli Venezia Giulia-Palazzo Rag murals

The Cathedral of San Nicolo, the Church of the Madonna della Pieta, and Piazza del Popolo, with its beautiful porticoed buildings, can all be enjoyed on a short walk through the historic downtown area.

The La chiesa di San Liberale is an impressive round yellow church built in 1683. In 1694 the remains of a Roman soldier named Liberal were brought to Sacile and placed in a crystal case, where visitors can view them today. A bit macabre, but interesting.

-Friuli Venezia Giulia- Sacile La chiesa di San Liberale

In August of each year is Sagra dei Osei (Bird Festival), one of the oldest traditional festivals in Italy. A celebration of birds, the festival fills the town with exhibitors, a birdsong competition,  art shows, a dog show, wonderful food, and local wines from the Friuli Venezia Giulia region.

friuli venezia giulia province-Sacile

The first exhibition was held over 700 years ago in 1274. Since then, each year brings thousands of birds (they expect about 50,000 this year) that will fill the town. Prizes go to best in show, best singer for each canary category, and others. Also entertaining is the competition of “chioccolatori,” or “Tweeters,” where people do their best to imitate some of their favorite songbirds.

province friuli venezia giulia-Sacile canoes on Livenza

Canoe trips are available on the Livenza

Where to Eat in Sacile

Many restaurants are located on or near Piazza del Popolo, the historic center of the city. La Piola on the plaza is best known for their tasty ribs, aged and seasoned just right. These flavorful delights are cooked on the barbeque in the large fireplace and served with roasted potatoes. Being from Texas, I was a bit concerned on my first visit when I saw there was no barbeque sauce – but you don’t need it with these tasty ribs!

La Piola ribs Sacile

For an afternoon or evening treat on the piazza, stop by one of the many outdoor cafes for a spritz aperol, gelato, espresso, pastry, or other desserts. If you are in the mood for pizza, you can’t miss with Cellini’s Ristorante or Pizza Amore, both with intimate outdoor seating overlooking the river.

Other popular restaurants on or near Piazza del Popolo with outstanding Italian cuisine and local wines include Ristorante Enoteca and Le Contrade. And for gelato, Il Gelatone is the number one choice in town. These are the most popular joints at Friuli Venezia Giulia province.

Friuli Venezia Giulia-friuli venezia giulia province

Where to Stay in Sacile

Hotel due Leoni is a recently renovated hotel conveniently located on Piazza del Popolo. The balcony on my room had beautiful views of the church and tower with the river running below me. The staff was very friendly and helpful and made me feel right at home.

A sauna and workout room are available for guests. This comes along with a nice spread for breakfast, including fresh fruits, juices, and pastries. If the mood hits, you can be in Venice in an hour from the train station. In the meantime, stay in this quiet, peaceful hotel, stroll through the piazza, over the bridges, along the river, and amongst the flowers to relax and revitalize. Book your room here>>

Piazza del Popolo Sacile Hotel due Leone

Day trips in the heart of Friuli Venezia Giulia Province

Because of its great location, there are many wonderful destinations within easy reach for day or overnight trips.

  • Pordenone, an elegant city with an amazing variety of architecture, ranging from Romanesque to Gothic to Baroque, is only twenty minutes away
  • Lake Barjis, a beautiful turquoise lake in the Dolomites, is just 45 minutes northeast of Sacile
  • Venice is only an hour by train
  • Trieste is one and a half hours by car
  • The heart of the Dolomites can be reached by traveling north for two or three hours
  • Verona, Valpolicella, and Lake Guarda are only two to three hours west
  • The wonderful Asolo, the City of a Hundred Horizons, is about an hour away
  • Bovec in Slovenia, a mecca for outdoor activities like hiking, zip-lining, whitewater rafting, and other adventures, is about two hours away
  • Ljubljana and Postojna Caves in Slovenia are around two hours away
 Lake Barcis-Friuli Venezia Giulia

There are so many reasons to make Sacile-the Heart of Italy’s Friuli Venezia Giulia your home base next time you visit northeastern Italy. Beautiful bridges, buildings, rivers, parks, and flowers abound. Wonderful, authentic Italian food and fantastic local wines await you. And a convenient train station is in town to whisk you away.

And most of all, the friendly, vibrant, charming people of Sacile will always greet you with open arms. After all, you’re family!

Sacile flowers-friuli venezia giulia province

Thanks to The Friuli Venezia Giulia tourist bureau for their hospitality, guided tours and information, and to Hotel Due Leoni for hosting the author for a night.

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