The Slovenian city of Nova Gorica and Italy’s Gorizia, just across the border from each other, will be the 2025 European Capital of Culture. — ANSA, News in English
You may have heard of Gorizia if you’ve seen our map and travel guide to Friuli Venezia Giulia. Back in the Romanesque period the town was a very big deal; it was its very own country then.
But history and a world war changed all that. It passed to Austria in 1500 and became a highly regarded cultural center under Austrian rule. World War I put Gorizia in Italy. Then, a re-jiggering of borders after WWII sliced into the city to put its northern outskirts into what was then Yugoslavia. Thus the twinning of the cities in the naming of the 2025 Capital of Culture.
Transalpina Square divides Gorizia and the town of Nova Gorica in Slovenia. You can walk across it without going through a passport control.
So Gorizia will be spiffed up and given money to bolster its fine arts infrastructure, ensuring that if you visit you’ll be seeing the city at its best. The ravages of Covid should be over by then, we hope.
What to see in Gorizia
Gorizia Castle was built in the 9th century and rebuilt by the Fascists in the 1920s. It’s a great place from which to see the sunsets and panoramic views over the old town. The castle is surrounded by museums and art galleries, notably the Museum of the Great War of Gorizia and the Archaeological museum. You can buy a very reasonably priced combined ticket for Provincial Museums of Gorizia Borgo Castello (First World War Museum, Museum of Fashion and Clothing, Archeological Collection) and Palazzo Attems Petzenstein.
St Ignazio Church in the Piazza della Vittoria is the main religious building in Gorzia, built by the Jesuits between 1654 and 1747. and contains some ancient frescos as well as treasures of the patriarchate of
Church of Santo Spirito in the Borgo Castello of Gorizia, built in 1398 by Michele and Giovanni Rabasta
Food and Wine
Gorizia lies in a plain overlooked by the Collio hills, which are renowned for the production of outstanding wines. Try the Ribolla Gialla.
Wine isn’t the only thing fermented in Gorizia. Brovada is a “kraut” traditionally made with shredded turnips fermented with the left-overs from wine making. A peasant dish that goes with many of the regional specialty dishes.
The region produces a white asparagus called Asparagi di S. Andrea.
The local amaro or bitter for before or after a meal is called Pelinkovec.
Other Resources for Gorizia
You’ll find a good walking tour of the city’s attractions at Let’s Go Gorizia
Gorizia: How to Get There
Where to Stay in Gorizia
What to See Near Gorizia
Aquileia, a town which you should make every effort to visit during your time in the region.
Grado is an island on the lagoon between Venice and Trieste.
Trieste is a fabulous port city on Italy’s northeastern coast. Like many big towns of the region, it projects a quiet elegance.