UdineJanuary 2, 2017 in Italy
Udine provided yet another free overnight park with water and toilet emptying facilities. We have a lot more freedom in Italy as it doesn't have the same restrictions on sleeping overnight as Austria and Croatia, but all the places we've visited so far have provided free sites so we haven't felt the need to fly camp. We suspect it may be as a result of the New Year holiday but we've seen lots more vans around than we've been used to.
The stopover was 2 miles out of the city centre and we were glad we walked in because it gave us a chance to experience the difference between the suburbs and the historic old town. If you were to ascribe a colour to the suburbs it would have to be grey. While there were some interesting pieces of architecture, they were somewhat overshadowed by the prevalent graffiti, piles of rubbish and the shabby appearance of many of the flats we passed that had iron bars protecting the windows. It wasn't like this was the picture you took in everywhere you looked and some of the iron bars were ornate, but there was enough of it to give an impression of a run down area.
In stark contrast to this, we gradually emerged to the resplendent grandeur of Piazza
della Liberta with its (according to the Rough Guides book) 'classic Venetian architecture'. It was a large open space with columns and arches of a stone brick palace on one side and a covered white stone cloister running along the opposite side. The cloister fronted a beautiful bell tower that displayed a shining golden sun and was topped with bronze statues of men ringing the bell. It was all a far cry from the neglected buildings we'd walked past to get there!
Behind the bell tower, steep steps took us up the hill to the Castello and its lawn. The Castle itself was large but a bit shabby. What drew our attention more, were the people who'd climbed above the city shade to enjoy the sun on the grassy area. They were sat in a group having a picnic, playing games with a dog or just walking by themselves, taking in the stunning views of the clay rooftops and various towers or domes below.
Udine also had a duomo (cathedral), a large and attractive but not overstated building. We'd stopped for coffee and tea at a cafe on the way to see it, giving the sun time to sink low and large. It shone amber rays directly on the the cathedral as we approached.Read more