Some 17km east of Udine, CIVIDALE DEL FRIULI is a well-preserved medieval gem and one of the most beautiful towns in the area. Visitors are drawn to its dramatic setting, perched over the Natisone River, and to its art treasures. The town has ancient roots, having been founded in 50 BC by Julius Caesar at the picturesque point where the Natisone River valley opens into the plain. In the sixth century AD it became the capital of the first Lombard duchy and in the eighth century the Patriarch of Aquileia moved here, inaugurating Cividale’s most prosperous period. It has been the main commercial centre of the Natisone Valley for two hundred years. Strolling around town is a pleasure, the pace of life leisurely and unhurried, with the historic centre lying between the train and coach stations, within the oval ring bisected by Via Carlo Alberto and Corso Mazzini.