Cividale del Friuli is an object lesson in why you should never judge an Italian city by what you can see from a car. I drove through the town on my way from Slovenia to Udine, and got as far as the edges of the old city. It seemed like the usual Friulian city, old and crowded and -- while potentially interesting -- it didn't seem worth a stop. Fortunately, I was spending some time in Udine and took the train out to Cividale on a Saturday (if more Americans spent more time on Italian trains thre realization of how utterly shameful our rail system is might begin to sink in), walked through the ways and found myself in one of those gorgeous, ancient towns that makes Italy such a delight. Cividale has the added bonus of being set above a spectacular little river, with a pleasant waterfall, and has enough sites -- including a lovely monastery and a museum that focuses on Lombard artifacts as well as ancient Roman ones. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts: it's a delightful place to spend an afternoon sightseeing, sipping Prosecco in the cafes, and generally taking in the atmosphere.
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