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View of Maniago

Piazza d'Italia, Maniago

Lago di Barcis near Maniago

Welcome to Maniago
by Lara Candido
From Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Population:  11,471 (2004 census)
Official website:
Wikipedia: Maniago
Map: MapQuest

Set against a stunning backdrop of the Italian pre-Alps, the town and district of Maniago is internationally renowned for its proud tradition in metalworking, as well as being characterised by its natural, cultural and geographical assets. A ninety minute drive north east from Marco Polo airport, an hour drive north from Adriatic beach resorts and an hour drive west from Friuli’s capital Udine, makes clear why Maniago is unaffected by commercial tourism. This taste of true northern Italy is appreciated by Italians, a few central European sightseers (usually en route to the Adriatic coast) and ‘Britalians’ visiting friends and family.

Maniago town centre boasts an array of boutiques, restaurants, bars, monuments, churches and gelateria cafes, serving ice-cream and sweets that are “propria produzione” ('our own make'). In the evenings, people dine al fresco and indulge in gelati, vino and cappuccino as they watch the sun set behind the mountains. Locally produced metal crafts – ranging from knives and cutlery to tweezers – are available to buy, along with equally well-crafted presentation boxes.

As Italy’s cutlery capital, the town has even sold steelwork to Sheffield, England, ironically deemed “the city of steel”. With convenient banking and multi-lingual cash-points, there is no problem buying that last minute bargain or that must-have gift. On Monday mornings the market provides a vast range of goods, anything from seasonal local produce to specialist items –such as ski and hiking equipment. Throughout the summer, there are various feasts, craft fairs and festivals, where visitors are always made welcome.

Maniago is a part of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia province in north-east Italy, a region largely governed by its own special autonomous status. The area is an integral part of national Italian heritage but with a proud stamp of local identity; in particular, the promotion of the local dialect: ‘Friulan’ – Friulan being Friulan for the Italian ‘Friulano’. This vernacular is influenced by the neighbouring languages: including Venetian, Slovenian and Austrian. In this way, the region has a cultural uniqueness that blends middle Europe with the Mediterranean, whilst retaining its ethnicity and own identity with Italy.

A trip away from Maniago town centre and up the awesome mountain roads leads to a destination favoured by the locals: Lago di Barcis. The lake is a hot-spot for relaxation, water sports, mountain biking, walking, site seeing, souvenir shopping and even a ski resort in the winter months. The area also has a camping site which caters for families and back packers alike. Barcis epitomises why Friuli is recognised at a European level for successfully maintaining its biodiversity in the list of “Nature Areas 2000”.  It was referred to as a “site of community importance”.  In addition, a Dam has also been built to provide renewable energy for Maniago and its neighbours and to help sustain the area’s rare natural beauty.

Whilst staying in Maniago, it is also worth venturing out into the rest of the province. The military base in Aviano is home to the town’s American community, complete with hamburger diners and thick milkshakes. Further west is Udine, with the Udine Mall situated on its outskirts; a one-stop shop for essentials and non-essentials alike, along with an ‘around the world’ food court. The city of Udine itself is filled with history, culture and designer shops. North of Maniago is Piancavallo (in winter a ski resort). To the south, on the Adriatic coast, are the Lignano and Carole beaches. As in most Italian holiday haunts, part of the beaches are privately-owned, so expect to pay. Head east from Maniago and enter one of the great wonders of the world: Venice.

Travelling by car is ideal for touring the area, although train, coach and/or bus are also very accessible. Maniago coach and train stations are found at the edge of the town centre, with direct lines to major cities and coastal resorts. The district also has quality four and five star hotels, near Lago di Barcis and other mountain resorts, as well as in central Maniago.

The Friuli-Venezia Giulia region is a playground of everything expected from a holiday in Italy, and Maniago is at the very heart of it.

by Lara Candido, May 06, 2007

Friuli Region

46°10′N, 12°43′E


Polcenigo - 28 km
Udine - 52 km
Venice - 129 km
Trieste - 150 km
Padua - 156 km
Vicenza - 180 km
Verona - 231 km



Coat of Arms, Maniago

Old church in Maniago

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