A motorcycle tour along the Italian eastern route from Trieste, rich in culture and history, along the Slovenian border, to Castelmonte.
Alpine passes do not always give so many emotions to us motorcyclists. Just start from Trieste, in Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia, the largest in Europe overlooking the sea, to have the first indelible memory of this motorcycle tour. We turn on our two cylinders with the scent of the sea still in the nose and head towards Barcola, aiming for the Faro della Vittoria and then the hamlets of Contovello and Prosecco. The curves follow each other elegant and sweet, at a slow pace because every view deserves a photo, like the famous panorama of Trieste with the lighthouse or the Miramare Castle.
2The Great War
After the towns of Santa Croce and Sistiana, we turn our handlebars towards San Giovanni di Duino, where we can see the famous monument dedicated to the “Lupi di Toscana” Infantry Division. These places have unfortunately witnessed so many wars and so many victims of all sides. From here take the Regional SR55, also called “Vallone“, a not very demanding road but with curves in the right place. We suggest a stop at the lakes of Doberzò and Pietrarossa along the stretch that takes you to Gorizia. Those who want to stretch their legs can visit the Casa Cadorna Refuge on Monte Castellazzo. To reach this site you have to start from Doberdò and follow, on foot, the CAI77 path that ends near the Lake. Along the road it is also possible to admire numerous military works, in particular walkways and positions. After about two kilometers you reach the Casa Cadorna refuge from which you can enjoy the wonderful view towards the Doberdò Lake and the Trieste Karst.
Staying on the war theme, you can opt for a variant from the SR55 towards San Martino del Carso and then San Michele del Carso. Between these two places stands, as a witness of the dramatic years of the Great War, the homonymous Open-Air Museum. Thanks to a series of easy and suitable routes for everyone, you can discover different structures and monuments built on the slopes and the four peaks of this karst relief dating back to the Great War. Here also Giuseppe Ungaretti fought, and with his prose handed down to all the dramas of Monte San Michele, theater of hard battles on the Isontino front.
After this sad but fascinating detour we continue towards Gorizia, a crossroads of civilizations, cultures and ethnic groups. Arrived in the central and beautiful Piazza della Vittoria, on the left you can admire the church of Sant’Ignazio and on the right you can see the medieval castle, the heart and symbol of the city. Crossing the square, take Via Carducci, Piazza De Amicis, where you can visit the collections of the Provincial Museums housed in Palazzo Attems. After the short or long stop in the city suspended between the Italian and Slovenian borders, cross the bridge over the Isonzo river, towards Cividale del Friuli.
4Wines of Collio
The road can follow the “SR356” Regional, “easier”, or you can try to follow the state roads that cross the border, both from the Italian and from the Slovenian side, with more “country” roads through nature and less traffic. Approaching Cividale, we reach one of the most prestigious areas in terms of national wine production. There are numerous wine producers where it is possible to stop for a tasting or to buy bottles known all over the world for their value. The hills of the famous “Collio” are literally decorated by the embroidery of the vineyards, in an almost fairy-tale landscape.
Once in Corno di Rosazzo, after about 68 kilometers, the road becomes more linear. Who wants can stop for a visit to the Abbey of Rosazzo, Today is home to a cultural center. Of particular historical and artistic interest is the abbey church dedicated to St. Peter the Apostle, dating back to the 11th century and decorated internally with 16th century frescoes.
5Cividale del Friuli and Castelmonte
In just a few minutes you reach the gates of Cividale, a true gem on the Natisone river, with historical evidence of great importance, such as the Lombard Temple. Cividale del Friuli is also the starting point of the Longobard itinerary in Italy, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
From Cividale follow the signs for Castelmonte. The road rises again and in eight kilometers you pass from the 135 meters of altitude of Cividale to about 600 of Castelmonte. The curves are exciting and on arrival we find ourselves in front of the ancient and suggestive village with the sanctuary, destination of pilgrimages to venerate the Black Madonna, also called “Madonna viva”, for the lively attitude and maternal posture, and “Madonna bella”, for the pleasantness of the features of the face.