Does coming up with a list of 100+ things to do in the Aviano area seem ambitious? Well it was. And now I want to share my findings with you as an encouragement to get out there and explore this incredible little pocket of Friuli Venezia. Also, there is a Google map at the bottom to help you find these places (and the map even has a couple of bonus places not on this list), enjoy!
*Edit: many people have commented to add even more suggestions so be sure to check out the comments section!
1. Try the local wine at Bessich
You can sit and taste most of their wines in the warehouse on the property.
2. Drink a cappuccino on a market morning at Stradella in Aviano
Tuesday mornings are market mornings in Aviano and on these days Stradella is bustling with adorable locals enjoying their cafe.
3. Look for the underwater Jesus in Gorgazzo
On a clear day you can see the statue of Jesus at the entrance to the underwater cave (I'm pretty sure it's there as a memorial)
4. Visit the knife museum in Maniago
In Italian "Museo dell'arte fabbrile e delle coltellerie" it's 4 euro for the entrance, and is decently interesting (30-45 minutes worth of entertainment); definitely worth the 4 euro. Google it for days and times (they take riposo so plan around that).
5. Ride the alpine coaster in Piancavallo
It's 4 euro for one ride and 11 euro for three rides. It's super fun but open only random months, be sure to check the website for more details. http://www.promotur.org/code/19168/Alpine-Coaster
6. Try the reggae sunshine taco at Taco Mania
A quirky taco truck with a fun vibe, especially on a summer night. The reggae sunshine taco is my favorite. http://tacomaniastreetfood.weebly.com/
7. Watch them make chocolate in Pordenone
Peratoner is located in the main downtown area of Pordenone and just around the corner you can watch them making chocolate in their lab (it's down a small little alley off the main drag so don't be discouraged if you have some trouble finding it). Address: Corso Vittorio Emanuel http://www.peratoner.it/
8. Hike up to the Madonna Del Monte
A beautiful church with a beautiful view of the local area. Be sure to check out the different mosaics on the way up, there are some impressive ones of Mary.
9. Eat with your hands at BEFeD in Aviano
Free peanuts, giant locally brewed beer, and delicious chicken served without utensils.
10. Try indoor go-karting in Pordenone
It's 35 euro (10 for the insurance which lasts for the year and 25 for a five lap race) a bit expensive but the karts go fast and it's pretty dang fun. Definitely worth doing at least once. Bring a few friends and check the website for hours (it opens late and stays open pretty late).
11. Buy cheese from a vending machine
Follow the "Bar Bianco" sign across from the industrial zone in Budoia, it will lead you down a small road. Pass the red house and the next driveway will lead you straight to the vending machine. The cows to your right are used to make the fresh cheese found in the vending machine. At the vending machine put your euro in, pick the cheese you want and open the door (the change taped to your cheese is your change...because the price is for a certain weight). They also sell butter and raw milk there.
12. Buy flowers at Henry&theGarden in Aviano
An adorable and peaceful flower shop full of beautiful seasonal flowers
13. Try the Alpini gelato bar at Scian
The Alpini are famous in this area and at Scian they have created a delicious ice cream bar to pay homage to them. The Alpini gelato bar is kept in the case and is delicious (there is a poster describing what's inside it on the wall). The gelato at Scian is delicious (you can tell it's fresh by the way it's kept in the containers with the metal lids), try their dark chocolate gelato also while you're there.
This is also featured in my blog post: Dessert Crawl Through Aviano
14. Try some hands on science in Pordenone
6 euro and open on Sundays (verify on the website). It's not a huge science museum but there are several hands on displays. They have instructions on most displays in English but the science behind it is only in Italian. Probably about 45 minutes to an hour worth of fun. Definitely do not pay for the "planetarium" it is basically an inflated dome with a slow moving lantern, not worth the 3 euro and the 30 minutes if your life you will be trapped in there (unless you are fluent in Italian and super passionate about planetariums).
15. Take in the view from Castello d'Aviano
It's a great spot for a view of the local area, check out the castle ruins while you're up there.
16. Visit the UNSCO World Heritage Site of Palù di Livenza
I'm not going to lie, it is pretty anti-climatic and there isn't much to see but UNSCO World Heritage sites are a big deal and the fact that there is one so close makes it worth at least a drive by. Oh and it is an ancient pile-dwelling site, you can read more here: http://www.turismofvg.it/Archaeological-sites/Pile-dwelling-site-of-Palu-di-Livenza
17. Try Italian pastries in Roveredo
Get a coffee and some pastrys and enjoy the classic Italian coffee shop vibe. http://www.pasticceria24.it/pasticcerie/scheda_pasticceria/fabris-angelo/12312
18. Learn some Italian
Pretty much every town has a class that meets in the library (or community center) where you can learn Italian for free (my class had a 10 euro supply fee for the year). Take the Italians up on this amazing opportunity they offer to us.
19. View Jupiter up close at the observatory in Montereale
The observatory is a public building owned by the town but operated by a private club. They open once a month for the public but a reservation is compulsory (they open up the observatory usually on a Friday but that can change because of the weather). To make a reservation go online and call the number. It is free to visit but donations are "welcome" (they wouldn't accept one from me but that could have been a language miss). http://www.pordenonewithlove.it/cosa-fare/Cultura-487/Musei-199/Osservatorio-Astronomico-Montereale-Valcellina-139
20. Jump off the pier into the water at Lake Barcis
It's cold, even in the summer, but there is a small ladder at the end of the pier you can use to get out if the water is high enough.
21. Bring a picnic and enjoy a coffee at Gorgazzo
Get a coffee, bring a picnic and sit in the beautiful outdoor area right next to Gorgazzo
22. Try the award winning apple juice in Budoia
Located right off SP31 just past the four way intersection. They sell their apple juice by the box (1 euro for the reusable box, 5 euro for the bag of apple juice to put inside it); so fresh and so delicious. They also sell wine that is quite delicious.
23. Buy a moka pot and learn to make coffee the Italian way
In the Emisfero mall there is a Bialetti shop if you want a really quality (but slightly more expensive) moka pot; or if you just want a cheap one they are available in almost every grocery store. I like Illy coffee but get whatever coffee you desire, just make sure it has the moka pot symbol on it so you know it's the right size grind. If you do not know how to make espresso in a moka pot you can watch this tutorial: http://www.illy.com/wps/wcm/connect/en/coffee/how-prepare-moka-coffee
24. Wander around Parco Rurale di San Floriano
Check out the cows, ducks, sheep, chickens, and other animals; learn about different trees and plants that grow in the park. Follow one of the many walking paths including the 900m barefoot path or do some exercises along the Percorso Vita. Play in the parks and hike to the top where you can see the church of San Floriano where even if it's closed you can peer through its ancient door to see some frescoes painted on its walls. On the way back down (or on the way up) get a coffee, some local apple juice or a snack at the little shop and sit outside and enjoy the nice weather and a game of football or sit inside and warm up by the fire if it's cold.
25. Ride in a glider at Aerocampo La Comina
I did this with one of my friends and we literally just drove there and asked if we could ride in a glider. The man working there made an appointment for us to come back the next day. I paid 60euro (no aerobatics...I get motion sick) and my friend paid 75euro (he went upside down and did all of the crazy stuff). Because there is no motor (it glides) you are pulled up by a tiny plane and then the pilot (who rides in there with you) glides you back down to the ground safely after some pretty sweet views of the area.
26. Buy clothing from the market
Italians really do buy clothing from the market. There are lots of cute things to be found (I have bought several long-sleeve winter dresses). You can barter for a better deal or just pay the cost if you don't have it in you to haggle over a few euro. The Maniago market (where I bought my dresses) is on Monday mornings.
27. Visit the archaeological museum in Castello di Torre in Pordenone
4 euro full price, 1 euro if you get the reduced price (the lady didn't speak a lot of English so I'm not sure what makes you qualify for one or the other). The museum is cool if you enjoy learning about the history of man and where the first people settled in the local area. If you do not find that interesting you probably won't find this place interesting. But it's in a "castle" so that does help boost the coolness factor; the castle has some cool frescoes worth checking out if you go. http://www.comune.pordenone.it/it/comune/in-comune/strutture/museoarcheologico
28. Get hot chocolate at Caffe Commercio in Sacile
The historic Caffe Commercio in downtown Saclie has over 30 different types of hot chocolate. My favorite is #12, so good! https://www.facebook.com/Caff%C3%A9-Commercio-273865282737806/
29. Climb on the castle ruins in Maniago
Drive up via Castello and park in the parking lot there. From the parking lot it's about 500 meters (or a 5 minute walk), just walk under the archway and follow the road up. There is a do not enter sign but if you're feeling rebellious you can climb around on the castle ruins a bit.
30. Get served "holy water" at New Ristopizza in Aviano
A typical dining experience at New (or Mario's) includes a shot that he calls "holy water". While it is slightly blasphemous that he calls it "holy water" it is his fun way of interacting with customers and making people feel welcome.
31. Take a cooking class (this was edited 7/18 because PNBOX studios has closed)
Take a class and learn to cook like the Italians do!
32. Go ice skating in Piancavallo
A fun way to spend an afternoon, check the website for more details: http://www.promotur.org/code/18736/Ice-Rink
33. Skip rocks at the shore of Lake Barcis
At different points along the Lake Barcis hike you can stop close to the water. Find a point with some rocks and learn to skip them along the shore (just make sure there are no people in the water).
34. Play on the tiny rock wall in Sportler
An outdoor sports shop a bit like REI; it has a couple of machines you can play on (try out) and a (really) small rock wall for some bouldering.
35. Try a sgroppino at Ristorante San Giorgio
The lemon ones have vodka but the other ones are non-alcoholic (verify that with a waiter). Tiny, cold, delicious and refreshing.
36. Buy and cook flash frozen sea food from Sapore di Mare
They also have fresh then flash frozen sea food pasta that you can buy and cook.
37. Read children's books at the Pordenone library
The library has a really cool atmosphere and if you want to practice your Italian try reading some children's books from their massive collection
38. Try Profiterole at the "Spaghetti House"
This restaurant is so American and so full of Americans, but they make their profiterole in house and it is dang delicious.
39. Attend a church service
Italy is a very Catholic nation so I recommend a visit to a few of their churches but I also recommend checking out Serenissima because it's a good one. Italy is a great place to reconnect with your faith because there is so much amazing church history here. Serenissima offers an Italian service translated into English followed by an English service translated into Italian. http://sbible.smgroup.info/
40. Buy local honey
There are lots of places to buy local honey but if you happen to be in Gorgazzo on a day that the little honey shop is open I recommend it. You will recognize the shop by the honeycomb on the wall that you will see after parking on your way to the spring. The shop owner speaks little English but is passionate about bees and their honey.
41. Ride the ski lift in Piancavallo
For less than 10 euro you can take the lift to the top of the hill. The scenery is stunning and there is a restaurant at the top were you can get a drink and enjoy the view.
42. Fill your own wine bottle
There are lots of places in the area for "sfusi" which the wine that you fill yourself. Le Favole's B&B has a tasting room (typically they have two wines open, one red, one white, for public tasting) along with 5 vats that offer "sfusi" Just bring your own empty bottle and for less than 2 euro per bottle you can pick out a fresh liter of wine. To see more about this check out my blog post here!
43. Sit in the Salt Room
For 20 euro you can have the strange experience of sitting in a room entirely covered in salt while breathing in salt air. At Luce e Sale they make some claims to health benefits (not sure if they are totally legitimate) but I went with a friend and the lights and experience was interesting and relaxing. Bring clean socks. You can also bring your kids if you'd like (though I don't know if that would be very relaxing).
44. Try a new tea at Doina tea room
So many tea choices!
45. Check out the crazy taxidermy at the Civic Museum of Natural History
I was both disgusted and totally fascinated by this small museum located in the center of Pordenone. W-Su from 1500-1900.
46. Try a black bun burger at Piazzettasanmarco13
Their burgers are delicious yet slightly on the pricey side. The fries are also super good. I recommend the black bun burger with the egg, it's the favorite for all of my friends.
47. Check out the grand mosaic
When it's open the wooden doors along the main walkway in downtown Pordenone open to a giant mosaic. It's very impressive. (To get to it you will pass the tourist office on the left, then the wooden doors are on the right, if you've hit the Pam grocery store you've gone too far). It's only available to see during normal business hours.
48. Get a deep dish pizza at Pizzeria Vecchio
I love the thin crust pizza in Italy, it's delicious. But if you want to switch it up you can try out the deep dish pizza here at Pizzeria Vecchio. It isn't exactly Chicago deep but it's more than the standard crust in Italy.
49. See what's on at the Henry Museum
I went when this museum was hosting a wonderful photo collection from Nat Geo photographer Steve McCurry. What's on display is often changing but the building itself is modern and elegant inside. It's worth the 3 euro admission fee if the art entices you.
50. Try a New Whiskey at The King's Arm
Despite being in Italy this place feels like walking into an English pub. They have over 150 different bottles of whiskey and the owner is incredibly knowledgeable about his collection.
51. Bring a book and enjoy the old time feel of Caffe' Municipio
This is a historical site in Pordenone. There is a room that has floor to ceiling wooden walls and feels exactly like you just stepped back in time. Also you should probably order a cappuccino or a big kid drink so that it isn't weird that you're sitting there. They also tend to have a good selection of high end gins if you're into that kind of of thing.
52. Buy a sustainable gift from Altro Mercato
They have a rotating selection of sustainable gifts and foods, most of which support various causes.
53. Eat at the Michelin starred La Primula
These stars are a big deal. And this one is so close!
54. Try chocolate in Pordenone
Did you know Pordenone is known for chocolate? It is. You should try some in one of it's various chocolate shops.
55. Make Italian friends and share a bottle of Prosecco
According to my Italian friends Pharmacy 33 carries superior wine to other places where you can have a drink. Plus you can sit by the river as you drink.
56. Visit the buffalo
Follow the yellow signs for "azienda agricola" and they will lead you to a farm that sells products made onsite from the buffaloes (open M-Sa 9:30-12:30&15:30-18:30). Get some cheese and perhaps try one of the fun flavored yogurts (I bought coffee and strawberry).
57. Feed the fish at Lake Barcis
Right off the wooden pier there are tons of fish that will swarm if you give them bread.
58. Shop natural at NaturaSi
Organic and healthy food products, they even have kombucha!
59. Have a lazy afternoon at Lake Burida
Bring a snack, picnic, or some lawn games...maybe feed the birds.
60. Try the Menu di Fisso at Bar Trattoria Marcandella in Polceniego
I recommend going for lunch, there are typically two or three options for your first and second plate as well as coffee at the end
61. Spend two minutes in the Museo del Fungo
I'd say the mushroom museum is about two minutes worth of entertainment. The good news is that it's a free museum and that it's attached to a super cute little bar that sells wine, cheese, breads and other local products. See #62
62. Have American Breakfast at Bar Bianco
Bar Bianco has an "American Breakfast" that comes with a piece of toast, eggs, and the Italian version of American bacon (you can also sub "bacon" for cheese if you are a vegetarian...I highly recommend getting breakfast here). I really enjoy the atmosphere at this place and for sure recommend sitting and having a spritz (they have a slightly more comprehensive spritz menu than most local bars) or a coffee.
63. Try a new type of cheese at Latteria di Aviano
Fresh, local cheese as well as a selection of other local products...it's good stuff
64. Buy a knife in Maniago
Maniago "the city of knives" is a city known for its production of knives; buy a knife or a whole set
65. Visit the hydroelectric museum
This power plant opened in 1905. It took around 2000 men and women to construct this power plant (the men worked on the plant and the women carried the materials between construction sites). At one point this was the largest power plant in Europe and used to provide power for the city of Venice. It closed as power plant in 1988 and it has been a museum since 2006. Not super impressive as a museum but it has some fun play science in one of the side rooms. 6 euro ish.
66. Buy fresh flowers from the market
The Sacile market is one of my favorite local markets (Thursday mornings). It is definitely one of the bigger local ones and curves around the different waterways in Sacile's narrow little streets. Many Italians can be seen here buying fresh flowers, you should join them.
67. Try the Oreo milkshake at American Graffiti
I recommend asking them to sub vanilla for chocolate ice cream, so good!
68. Find the shrapnel in Sacile
Many parts of Sacile were bombed during WWII and along the river across from one of it's many gelato shops you can find shrapnel in one of the walls.
69. Take a walk on the Gor trail
Follow the brown sign to "Gor" straight past some sort of water plant place, eventually you will hit a trail along a little stream with a few small waterfalls. The trail goes all the way though from Budoia to Polceniego. There and back takes about an hour and fifteen minutes. I recommend going when there hasn't been rain for awhile as the trail gets really muddy (if you go after rain give yourself significantly more time),
70. Try something new at the Romanian grocery store
It's a small shop but it has some unique things in it so stop by and try something new. https://www.20km.info/eli-s-ro-/pordenone/id=PC00041076
71. Hike the trail around Lake Barcis
It's 3 miles(ish) and really beautiful. If you have a hammoc bring it!
72. Get sushi
Sushi is quickly growing in popularity in Italy, jump on the bandwagon and enjoy the trend. (If you choose to go to Osaka for your sushi I recommend the ebiten roll.)
73. Feed the ducks at Weiss Cafè in Sacile
Bring bread, order a cappuccino and sit and feed the ducks along the river in the back of the cafe.
74. Get a locally brewed beer at Valscura
There is a tiny little drinking room where you can get beers on tap (or bring a growler and take some home!)
75. "Hike" up to the castle ruins in Polcenigo
It's really more of an ambitious walk but the ruins are cool and the view is solid. Plus the castle has some frescos you can check out
76. Take a break from a festival for a glass of wine at Ferronato
This place has a good vibe and is a great place to take a pause for a drink one of Pordenone's many festivals
77. Shoot pool in Dardago
In the back of this little bar/kitchen there is a game room with a pool table.
78. Enjoy some live music and a glass of wine at Il Bianco
There are often live shows, just check the flyers for info.
79. Check out the free art displays in Pordenone
Close to the tourism office there is a little art gallery with ever rotating art. In my experience it's always free and usually really cool stuff.
80. Find all the original towers in Sacile
Sacile used to be a walled city. Make it your goal to find all of the original towers (I think there are three).
81. Get American style frozen yogurt at Mu
Gelato is delicious but sometimes it's also fun to choose your own toppings.
82. Climb to the top of a bell tower
This one is a tricky one to accomplish but if you read the flyers and ask around town you will find that most towns open up their towers to visitors about once a year.
83. Try wine and enjoy the ambiance at Le Favole
The vineyard is located on the road between Sacile and Canava and is open on Fridays for tasting. They also have a store that is open more regularly where you can buy a bottle or fill your demijohn in Sacile.
84. Buy goat cheese
Follow the signs, drive down the little driveway and the shop is in front of the little parking lot through the door on the left. They sell goat cheese as well as yogurt, pudding, ice cream and milk. I didn't try the pudding but he was very excited to tell me that he is the first one in Italy to produce pudding/yogurt from goat cheese.
85. Go to a Christmas concert
Italians love Christmas concerts. I attended one at Auditorium Concordia where a bunch of Italians sang Gospel music. It was hilarious and surprising. There are tons of other places to attend more classical concerts as well, just check around with your Italian friends.
86. Try the Reeces spaghetti ice at Gelato 86
Easily one of the funnest ways to eat gelato
87. Mail a postcard from Italy
It's fun for friends and family to see it postmarked from Italy
88. Check out the Christmas trees in Andreis
During the Christmas season this town goes all out decorating Christmas trees. It's adorable.
89. Find the ancient clock parts in Polceniego
Built into the sidewalk in the center of town are ruins of an ancient Roman clock.
90. Get bread like the locals do at Il Tuo Fornaio in Vigonovo
Located in Vigonovo right across from the church; go early to get fresh bread.
91. Check out the exhibits at the Museo Civico d'Arte
They often change the exhibits but when I went they had an impressive amount of art and ceramics. If I remember correctly it was 3 euro to get in but that may have included the other civic museums (just ask the attendant)
92. Enjoy an evening of gin drinking in the local "speak easy"
This bar is only open on Friday and Saturday evenings and has an incredible variety of gins. The owner works for a local distiller and makes cocktails as a side gig. While it has been renamed "Hemingway" the outside of the bar still has the sign "Bar Polceniego"
93. Warm up by the bonfire at Panevin
A giant bonfire once a year in January with wine and sweet bread. Super fun! It happens in most towns so just ask your neighbors.
94. Learn what a fresco is and check them out in Pordenone
There are frescos all over the walls in Pordenone. Learn about them here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fresco
95. Try coffee from somewhere else at Grosmi Caffè
Each country has such a different flavor profiles in their coffee. Try coffee grown in a coffee region you don't normally drink from at Grosmi.
96. Go hiking in Dardago
There are tons of great trails that begin in Dardago. Find one and follow it!
97. Watch a soccer game
There are cooler places than Aviano to watch better teams but a soccer game in Italy is still always a good time
98. Try the Saffron Spritz in Polceniego
Dardago is known for saffron and at this little caffe in Poleniego you can sit out back along the river and enjoy a spritz made from saffron liquor.
99. Attend Carnivale
Pretty much every town has a carnivale, try to get to as many as you can!
100. Hang out outside at Osteria all'Oca Ubriaca
This place is super special to me. While living in the area I went here almost weekly. The bartender is super chill, the art is quirky and the outside is a great spot for a summer evening hang out. Plus the food is delicious, the pumpkin ravioli was probably the best thing I ate in Italy.
101. Go into the tourist office and ask about this week's events
If you ask nicely they will print you out a list in English of everything happening in the area for the week. Plus they have tons of brochures and info about local places and activities.
Here is a Google map with links to help you find all of these places:
Do you have anything to add to this list? Or were you inspired to check out somewhere new based on this list? Let me know in the comments section!