Friuli Venezia Giulia.
This is where the Italophile feeling starts. Just after the border, when you first feel Italian soil under your feet. Covering an area of 7,856 square kilometres, Friuli stretches from the Julian Alps to the Adriatic Sea. The fascinating history of the region with over 1.2 million inhabitants is shaped by the Roman Empire, the Lombards and the Habsburgs.
A short drive from the Karnerhof: the border town of Tarvis. Ideal for an espresso or an authentic Italian lunch. The picturesque Monte Lussari and the Laghi di Fusine with their green hues and cool waters are also close by. Great cities await you further south in this north-eastern region of Italy. Walk in the footsteps of author James Joyce in the capital Trieste. Look forward to shopping in Udine. Always in focus: the culinary delights. Numerous wineries, the Prosecco region or San Daniele with its famous prosciutto and grappa set off a special sort of epicurean fireworks.
Most of us can still remember: a visit to Tarvis with a peek at the colourful market, the feeling of dolce vita and the subsequent enjoyment of pizza or pasta was a must on every holiday in Carinthia. There was trading and haggling at the "Fetznmarkt" - and with the fashion pieces you bought, you were at least a year ahead of fashion in Austria. Yet even today, a day-trip to Tarvis is still enchanting. Just 30 minutes away from the Karnerhof, you've arrived in the middle of the Italian "fa niente". With the construction of the new market hall a few years ago, the ambience has lost some of its charm, but the varied offer and the attractive prices still have their appeal.
Numerous restaurants offer Italian specialities in solid and liquid form and serve Friulian, Carinthian and Slovenian delicacies. Surrounded by the Julian Alps and rich in wide valleys and forests - the Tarvis forest, with its 24,000 hectares, is the largest state-owned forest in Italy - today the town is trendy and modern, yet it also has an old soul, full of tradition and cultural heritage.
The Tarvis area also offers outdoor enthusiasts a wealth of activities. The lakes of Fusine (connected by a lovely trail) and the Montasch plateau near Tarvisio are definitely worth a visit. Tarvis is also the starting point for numerous scenic cycling tours in the surrounding countryside. On 5 December, the Krampusse announce the arrival of Saint Nicholas on the streets of the town.
Udine is synonymous with "chic & fashionable". From the Karnerhof, Udine is easily reached in just under 90 minutes via the autostrada A23 from Tarvis. In Udine, we recommend parking in the Viale del Ledra, Viale Giusseppe Duodo or Piazza 1 Maggio. From here, the old town can be easily explored on foot. Here you can browse in the boutiques and sit on one of the many squares, enjoy a spritz or caffè and marvel at the hustle and bustle of the city. Friday or Saturday are ideal for a visit. Particularly worth seeing is the Piazza della Libertà, often described as a gem or the most beautiful Venetian square on the Italian mainland. Here, countless Renaissance buildings stand side by side, including the Loggia del Lionello. The former town hall is one of the oldest and most important historical buildings in Udine. It is considered the city's landmark and is a fine example of Venetian Gothic architecture.
Pontebba is one of the first stops on Italian soil for anyone coming from Austria: After all, until 1919 the bridge over the Pontebbana river was the national border, and you can sense this immediately in the architecture, which combines Venetian with Austrian influences. It is a perfect Central European cultural mixture, already visible in the parish church of Santa Maria Maggiore, which features a fifteenth-century winged altar by the Carinthian master Wolfgang Haller. But Pontebba was already a Roman customs station in the second century AD. So it is not surprising that the SS 13 road that leads up from Friuli and into Carinthia is known as the Pontebbana.
But the little village by the famous bridge isn't just about history. Even though there are no borders today, the bridge over the river still separates the municipality of Pontafel and the municipality of Pontebba. No longer separating cultures, t has become more of a meeting point. Tourists can feel this over a coffee at the Caffè alla Posta. Austrians, Italians, Slovenians - here nationality plays no role. Because the popular Alpe-Adria Cycle Path, one of the longest and most romantic cycling routes in Europe, passes right by here. In 2015, it even won an award at the Fiets en Wandelbeurs trade fair in Amsterdam - and the Dutch know a thing or two about cycling. The Alpe-Adria Cycle Path not only delights cyclists, but hikers also find much to enjoy in the area. In the surroundings of Pontebba there are magnificent hiking trails through the woods and in the mountains.