Cividale del Friuli, Italy: The Shrine of Castelmonte
About Cividale del Friuli:
Some 90 miles northeast of Venice and close to the border of Slovenia, lies one of the most ancient Marian shrines in the world. Largely unknown to foreign tourists, the town is picturesque and peaceful, a great place to spend the day or perhaps a night or two.
The town is at least 2,000 years old, and the Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta (Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Asumption), is one of the oldest in the Christian world.
About the Cathedral and the image of the Virgin of Castelmonte:
Originally built in the 8th Century and then re-built in the 15th Century, the shrine contains an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary that townspeople implored to aid them in repelling the Turkish invasions of the 15th Century.
The image is known as the Blessed Virgin of Castelmonte and many miracles have been attributed to her intercession and votives line the walls. Pilgrims continue to visit the shrine.
There is also a museum with archealogical exhibits, and in the nearby Church of San Martino has a well-preserved altar dating from the 8th Century. It is a great town to get off the beaten track and live like the Italians do. The food is great and their local wines are renowned.
Traveling to Cividale del Friuli:
There is no rail service direct to Cividale del Friuli. The nearest station is Udine, about 10 miles away. Udine can be reached by rail from Venice, a trip that takes about two hours, as well as other Italian cities. Get train & bus schedules, see fares & buy tickets here.
It is not included in most Catholic pilgrimage tours of Italy, but certainly if you are traveling on your own, we recommend a day or two here. In addition to the Catholic sites, it offers a great chance to relax and enjoy the Italian lifestyle.
Address: Nicoletti, 2, 33043 Cividale del Friuli UD, Italy
GPS coordinates: 46° 6′ 20.0448” N, 13° 27′ 13.3776” E
Tel: +39 0432 730403
Click here for a more detailed history of Cividale Friuli (in Italian—use the Google translate button)