The origin of the name Venzone comes out for the first time in 923 as Clausas de Abiciones, then turns into Albiciones, Aventinone, Avenzon, Avenzone and finally Venzone. The place name comes from “av-au”- “flusslauf” (river) so from the name of the river Venzonassa.
Venzone has been a mandatory transit point since the Celtic times (500 A.D.) because of its favourable geographic position. The Romans, who came after the Celts, made Venzone one of their statio along the via Julia Augusta road. This led to the North-Eastern European markets in Norico (the centre of Austria nowadays) from Aquileia and the Adriatic Sea. A number of different archaeological discoveries came to the light due to the evacuations carried out during the restoration of the cathedral – Duomo -; these have proved also the existence of a Roman building in this area. We suppose it to be the castrum, placed side by side.
Throughout the following centuries, the area was successfully invaded by : the Guards, the Marcomanni, the Visigoths, the Huns, the Ostrogoths, the Byzantines, the Lombards and the Carolingians. The first urban township dates back to the latter period (776 – 952 A.D.) when Venzone was first mentioned in the “Clause de Abintione” in 923.
THE PATRIARCHY OF AQUILEIA
In 1077, Venzone became part of the Patriarchy of Aquileia, with so an important role controlling the passage of commercial traffic that the Patriarch of Aquileia gave the fiefdom of Venzone to the Mels family in 1200, which increased its prestige and allowed it to be recognised as a legal municipality in 1247. This also gave rise to a wealthy market in 1252. Six years later, Glizoio Di Mels had the town fortified with a double wall and a deep moat. The defensive system in Venzone, in ancient times, was including at least five castles, all strategically located to dominate the valley for the better. Two of them were built on the west bank, on the slopes of Mount S. Simeone: the first, Monfort, was rising North to the small village Pioverno, while the second, Plovergno, was standing South not so far from the stream Riûl dai Fraris. Both of them were probably built during the Ottonian period (X and XI centuries) and had a short life as they were demolished by the Patriarchs during the XIV century and probably damaged by the tremendous earthquake in 1348, January 25th.
Both these castles were built on a rock, realistically used from time immemorial as guard and sighting stations and later, also by Celts, Romans, Byzantines, Lombards and Carolingians.
THE POWER OF VENICE
The history of Venzone reports about constant conflicts with Patriarchs first and with the close and rival village Gemona, then.
The control of the walled village passed round from a Lord to the other until Venice arrival, at the end of the XIV century. Venice found in Venzone an ally in the fight against the Carraresi. Thanks to the subjection to Venice (1420) under a unique dominance, the Region Friuli knew a pacific period but also showed the beginning of an economy in decline because new routes for commercial traffic were opened; while this was the most important income source. During the war of the Cambrai League (1508-1511), Venzone was hardly defended by Antonio Bidernuccio, a captain of Venzone. The memory of his gesture is celebrated in a popular and lively rhythm.
Napoleon Bonaparte occupied Venzone in 1797 with the French troupes; later, after the Campoformio treaty, Venzone knew a short period under Austrian domination and came into the Kingdom of Italy in 1866.
Venzone was declared National Monument in 1965 as unique fortified village of the XIV century in the region; later, described as an extraordinary example of architectural and artistic restore.
In 1976, seismic events brought Venzone to its knees: the wonderful medieval village was damaged very seriously; but the worth and the tenacity of inhabitants of the Friuli overcame the strength of the nature. Rubbles have been shortly removed and a reconstruction project started, with courage, unity, understanding and hope, wanted to cancel the sings left from that terrible earthquake.
Only 8 years later, thanks to the strong will of the inhabitants, Venzone was born again together with its cathedral, the Duomo, the symbol of the earthquake and the new blooming.
The reconstruction of the other buildings and the historical treasures of the village, was a challenge, under all points of view, and marked the history. Venzone was born again “where it was and how it was” and confirms today to be an example of preservation and protection of the cultural heritage and the social and economic network in the Region.
|Elevation||230 m a.s.l.|
|Hamlets||Carnia, Pioverno, Portis|
|Patron Saint||Sant’Andrea, Novembre 30th|
|Sister Cities||Piobesi Torinese (TO)
National Monument – 1965
“Ideal village to live” – 1991
Walled village of the world – 2005
Pietrantonio Bellina (Venzone 1941 – Basagliapenta di Basiliano 2007) journalist, priest, writer, and translator from Friulan to Italian.
Adriano Degano (Povoletto 1920 – Roma 2014) Honorary citizen of Venzone in 1976.
Paolo Antonio Marpillero (XVIII sec.) Patrician of Venzone, known because of his mummified body in the Duomo of Venzone
Leonardo Marzona (Venzone 1773 – San Daniele del Friuli 1852) musician and composer.
Francesco Mantica (Venzone 1534 – Roma 1614) Italian lawyer and Cardinal.
Luigi Pozzi (Venzone, 1613 – Udine, 1656) Musician and maestro of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Alberton Del Colle (XIII century) noble landowner, he left a heritage to build a retirement and nursing home; the Pio Instituto Elemosiniere – one of the oldest charitable organisations in Friuli – is named after him.