Another Unforgettable Place
Cividale del Friuli (Friulian: Cividât, Slovene: Čedad, German: Östrich) is a town and comune in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Northern Italy, 15 km by rail from Udine. The town is in the foothills of the eastern Alps close to the Slovenian border, 135 m 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.
Cividale was founded as a Roman municipium by Julius Caesar in 50 BCE on the newly built Via Julia Augusta, with the name of Forum Iulii (“Julius' Forum”; Fréjus had the same Roman name). Archaeological findings have revealed that the area was already settled by Veneti and Celts. After the destruction of Aquileia and Iulium Carnicum (Zuglio), it 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”.
Under the Carolingian settlement with the Papacy, the patriarchs of Aquileia resided here from 773 to 1031, when they returned to Aquileia, and finally in 1238 removed to Udine. This last change of residence was the origin of the antagonism between Cividale and Udine, which was only terminated by their surrender to Venice in 1419 and 1420 respectively. When the Patriarchal State of Friuli was founded in 1077, Cividale was chosen as the capital.
In 1420 Cividale was annexed to the Republic of Venice.
After the Napoleonic Wars, Cividale became part of the Lombard-Venetian Kingdom. It was ceded to Kingdom of Italy in 1866.
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