10 Unique Things to Do in Udine, Italy

If you want to escape from the well-known Italian tourist traps, then Udine should be your true haven.

I visited Udine on a day trip from Trieste. It’s only 74 km away, and if you’re somewhere nearby, Udine is definitely worth visiting.

Udine is a very beautiful small town, with a lovely old core (like most Italian places) and is not overly large.

Under the rule of the Romans and later the Venetians, it became the main economic and trading center in the Middle Ages. Most of its historical monuments date from that time.

Loggia del Lionello

This building is one of the most important in Udine and is considered a symbol of the city.

The perfectly preserved building in Venetian Gothic style is typical for this region. Within the columned hall, you will find an ancient tiled floor and a really beautiful wooden ceiling.

Piazza Giacomo Matteotti

Located centrally in the old town of Udine, Piazza Giacomo Matteotti welcomes you as the former most important marketplace of the place. The central market has been held here since the 13th century. 

Even today, locals and tourists alike like to meet at this square surrounded by remarkable buildings, which leaves nothing to be desired in terms of restaurants and cafes. 

We recommend a cappuccino and a first look at buildings like the Chiesa di San Giacomo or monuments like the column with Mary and the child. This is how you slowly become acquainted with Udine and the city’s relaxed flair.

Piazza della Libertà

Those who love beautiful squares will also be really impressed by Piazza della Libertà. After all, it is one of the most popular Venetian squares in all of Italy! At the same time, the Piazza is the oldest square in Udine. 

Here, among other things, there are statues, a fountain, and the former town hall of the city to see. The latter is in the Gothic style and marks one of the landmarks of Udine. The arcade leading to the Castle of Udine also starts here.

Udine Cathedral

The cathedral of the Archdiocese of Udine originally dates back to the 13th century. Various renovations and expansions, some of which were made necessary due to an earthquake, gradually led to the current appearance of the Roman Catholic church. 

It is characterized by a three-aisled structure and side chapels. The interior of the church is dressed in a Baroque style.

Chiesa di San Giacomo

The Church of San Giacomo was built in the 14th century. Initially, it was a relatively small chapel – hard to imagine when you look at the impressive building today! 

Inside, as with the Cathedral of Udine, you will mainly find elements of the Baroque style. Those who want to admire the religious artworks should inform themselves in advance about the sometimes limited opening hours of the church.

Archbishop’s Palace with Museum

This building, with a centuries-old history, is today an archiepiscopal residence. The palace was originally built in the 15th century, but its current appearance largely dates from the 18th century. 

Inside, there is the Diocesan Museum with sacred art, which is connected to the Tiepolo Galleries featuring frescoes by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Since the end of the 20th century, around 700 works (some from the 18th century) can be admired.

In addition to the famous frescoes, there are also wooden sculptures that fascinate not only art enthusiasts.


A half-hour drive from Udine lies the town of Palmanova.

You must absolutely visit this place even if you are a fan of old fortresses and castles. Definitely one of the most fascinating places in Italy. Its main feature is the fortification system surrounding the city, which remains intact to this day, resembling a nine-pointed star.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to photograph this city (except from the air) and convey it through photos.

Palmanova was declared a national monument in 1960 and a UNESCO heritage site in 2017. The “Venetian Defensive Systems” from the 16th and 17th centuries are one of the most important examples of modern military architecture.

The star-shaped city is about 7 kilometers long and surrounded by walls and moats that are completely accessible via walking paths and small trails. There are three streets that lead through three gates into the city center. At the center of the city, there is a perfectly hexagonal square that invites you to linger.

In Palmanova, there are two official free camper parking spots. You can find the exact location on Park4Night. However, the parking spot within the city walls is recommended only for smaller vans or box trucks due to the narrow city gates.

Porticato San Giovanni

Another highlight during the sightseeing tour is the arcade Porticato San Giovanni. This is a passage that leads from the triumphal arch at Piazza della Libertà to the Castle of Udine.

Baroque statues decorate the passage, and you also enjoy a view of the Venetian clock tower of the square. This clock face, in turn, is blue and adorned with a sun and a winged lion.

Castle with Museums

If you continue through the arcade on Piazza della Libertà and follow the path, you will eventually reach the castle hill above Udine. There stands the castle from the 16th century. 

Originally, the structure was much older but was largely destroyed in an earthquake. Nevertheless, the castle is still imposing and inseparably linked to the region. It is even considered the ultimate symbol of Friuli. The museums housed within the castle are themselves a tourist attraction and are worth visiting not only in bad weather. 

Depending on your interests, you can admire paintings from the 14th to the 19th century, while another museum displays photographs of well-known artists from the region. There is also an Archaeological Museum in the building. This museum takes you even further back into the history of Udine and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

The Città Fiera Center

The largest shopping center in the region is located slightly outside to the northwest along the A23. Here you can find everything under the sun: fashion, sports, household goods, restaurants, entertainment, electronics and so on. 

Over 250 shops, 40 dining establishments, a wholesale market with 7,500 square meters, a supermarket with 1,800 square meters, a cinema with 11 theaters, as well as entertainment fun through a play park, with an indoor go-kart track on three levels, a modern bowling club with seven lanes, and much, much more.