The Friuli-Venezia Giulia region occupies the north-east corner of Italy, just to the east of Venice-Veneto and bordering Slovenia and Austria with the Adriatic Sea along the southern coast.
Historically the region has been part of Austria, then later part of Yugoslavia, being created as an autonomus Itailian region in 1963 - each of these historic powers has of course influenced the region that we see today.
The important city of Trieste is the capital of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, which covers four Italian provinces: Pordenone (west), Udine (central) and Gorizia and Trieste (south-east).
From north to south there is a big difference in the appearance of the region - heading north from the coast we cross large lagoons that are popular with nature lovers and an extensive area of flat agricultural terrain before reaching the hills and long-established vineyards of the central area of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and the Carso plateau along the border with Slovenia.
As you continue towards the north and east of Friuli-Venezia Giulia you reach the high mountain scenery of the eastern Alps (here called the pre-alps) and Dolomites that often dominate the horizon in Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
Because of this mixed geography the region has both popular coastal destinations in the summer and mountain ski resorts in the winter, as well as year round opportunities to enjoy impressive scenery.
Although slightly away from the more popular destinations in Italy, there is a great deal to discover in the region - and ideal for those wishing to avoid the tourist hordes and explore somewhere new.
Among the highlights in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, visit the architecturally interesting town at Udine and nearby Spilimbergo and San Daniele, the colourful town at Gorizia and the impressively located Lombardy style town at Cividale del Friuli.
Other suggested destinations worthy of exploration include Grado and Pordenone while the Carso valley and plateau is quite isolated and contains a numebr of attractive hill towns and villages.
Also in the region are some impressive Roman ruins at Aquileia, reminding is of the towns important role as a centre of Roman Italy and now a UNESCO protected heritage site.
Near Trieste be sure to visit the Grotte Gigante - the largest (visitable) cave system in the world.
It is the western part of the Adriatic coast with its sandy beaches and popular resorts such as Lignano Sabbiadoro and Grado that are most visited by tourists.
The section of coast to the east of Monfalcone has more dramatic scenery and cliffs as we head towards Slovenia, passing the castle at Miramare, Trieste and the harbour at Muggia along the Gulf of Trieste.
The most popular ski areas are towards the north and west of the region and include Forni di Sopra, Piancavallo, Ravascletto and Tarvisio.
The following Italian towns and villages in Friuli-Venezia-Giulia are listed among the 'most beautiful villages in Italy': Clauiano, Cordovado, Fagagna, Gradisca d'Isonzo, Poffabro, Valvasone