An interesting day trip takes you along the base of the foothills that form this region's western border. Starting on route SS13 at the point where Fruili meets the Veneto, travel north on the provincial road toward Caneva, a small medieval town clustered around a spacious piazza. On the hill above are the ruins of a very ancient castle, inside of which is the charmingly frescoed 11th-century church of S. Lucia.
Your next stop is at Polcenigo (left), on the banks of the Livenza. Venetian architecture is everywhere, and there's a well-preserved 18th-century castle on the hill. Also visit the nearby Franciscan monastery to see its lovely cloister.
Farther north, near the NATO military base, you'll encounter the massive ruins of Castel d'Aviano, a 10th-century castle that was partly rebuilt by the Venetians in 1432. Visit the church of S. Giuliana (right) to see the Venetian-Byzantine frescos, then head out of town to the church of San Gregorio, containing one of the most beautiful fresco cycles by the 15th-century Friulan artist G.F. da Tolmezzo. This itinerary can easily be completed in a day, and along with the artistic treasures mentioned, it will offer you beautiful views of thickly-forested hills, flowering fields and abundant vineyards. In fall, be sure to sample the local mushrooms and game, and in winter you can use the numerous skiing facilities.