Saturday morning promised dreary weather, with the rain already hitting Slovenia, a few miles away. (It became our joke of the week to watch the rain clouds form over Slovenia every day. Yup, raining in Slovenia again.) So as planned we went back to Cividale to visit the museums. The Museo Archeologico Nazionale is a real gem, with locally found artifacts from Roman, Lombardian, and more recent times. There are large detailed signs in each room with English translations. The rooms are carefully arranged, by era and also by material or theme, so you can really thoughtfully wander through history and ideas. Roman and early Christian floor mosaics, reliefs, stone decorations from buildings, Lombardian early Medieval work, including fascinating artifacts collected from tombs.
We were just about the only people there until large groups of children arrived for a family special activity. My Blue guide had a good overview of the rooms, identifying pieces of particular interest. Don’t miss the outside courtyard with funeral pieces (including several from a Jewish cemetery from the 14th through 18th century); we had to ask at the desk for it to be unlocked.
We also went to the smaller Early Christian museum next to the Duomo, which had some marvelous items in a beautiful old palazzo. A fantastically carved 8th century altar. Originally it would have been painted, even now bare stone is is beautiful. Even the ceiling was wonderful.
Upstairs, I loved this monumental 14th century embroidered altar cloth. The legend says that the artist completed it in one night, assisted by angels.
I consulted my Google map to find a likely place for lunch. We found Trattoria al Pieve in Corona. Another excellent meal, sharing lightly smoked goose breast, sliced like prosciutto; then gnocchi with rabbit ragu; and cinghiale with sour cherries. We were going to pass on dessert until we saw what other tables were ordering–a fun take on tiramisu, where the waitress poured a shot of espresso over as it was served. Good!
It was raining hard after lunch, so we made an appointment to taste wine at Borgo San Danielle in Cormons, a winery recommended by Shannon. The helpful woman there had no English, but we managed. The Pignolo, an old red Friulan grape was particularly good, as were their whites. Some wine is going home with us. Their grounds are beautiful, and I believe they also rent rooms.
We drove home in what was now a downpour, happily the gravel road up to the house wasn’t washed away. We spent the rest of the day reading and relaxing at the house. I made yesterday’s market peas for dinner, mixed with sauteed mushrooms. Nice light dinner with some bread and wine.