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Cividale del Friuli

(4.4/5 based on 1,400+ reviews for top 10 attractions)
Things to do: historic sites, sightseeing, museums
Cividale del Friuli is a town and comune in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Northern Italy, 15km by rail from Udine, whose province it belongs to. The town is in the foothills of the eastern Alps close to the Slovenian border, 135m above sea-level. It is situated on the river Natisone, which forms a picturesque ravine here. Formerly an important regional power, it is today a quiet, small town that attracts tourists thanks to its medieval center.HistoryArchaeological findings have revealed that the area was first settled by Veneti and Celts. However, in 50 BC, Cividale was founded as a Roman municipium by Julius Caesar with the name of Forum Iulii ("Julius' Forum"; Fréjus had the same Roman name). Not long afterward, its citizens were inscribed in the Roman tribe Scaptia. The municipium was strategically located to defend Roman Italy's northeastern frontier.After the destruction of Aquileia and Iulium Carnicum (Zuglio) in 452 AD, Forum Iulii became the chief town of the district of Friuli and gave its name to it.In 568 the city was the first major centre occupied by Alboin's Lombard invasion of Italy, then part of the Byzantine Empire. The city was chosen as first capital of the newly formed Lombard Kingdom, then granted by Alboin to his nephew Gisulf as the capital of a Lombard Duchy of Friuli. After the Lombards were defeated by the Franks, (774), following the last Lombard resistance under Hrodgaud of Friuli (776) Forum Julii changed its name to Civitas Austriae, Charlemagne's Italian "City of the East".
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