The Lovers’
Walk

Romeo and Juliet’s
Lovers’ Walk

Udine, Capital of Love

G&R: “The debut”, “The spark” and “Their hidden love”

Udine: the symbolic place where the love of Romeo and Juliet was born.
It was in the Savorgnan palace, on February 26, 1511, that during a masquerade ball, the spark of love ignited between Lucina Savorgnan and Luigi Da Porto, the two noble lovers at the origin of the legend of Romeo and Juliet.
Thanks to this universal love story, the city of Udine has declared itself the “Capital of Love”. On the anniversary of February 26 in 2021, the project “Udine Capital of Love, Romeo and Juliet in Friuli” was launched in the Salone del Popolo in Palazzo d’Aronco. An important initiative that makes use of thirty years of research, which can finally be realised through a design of common intent.
In Udine, the tale of Romeo and Juliet is tinged with romantic moments
The “graceful” Lucina was at the Palace: “…where she danced playing with the melody of a harpsichord, and singing worthily was Madonna Lucina […], pilgrim damsel …
It was in Udine that she met Luigi and the spark was ignited between them.
A love that was born in an encounter hidden by masks during a ball.
Their love story remained in the folds of time, among the Novella’s words and its dedication to Lucina, to be reinterpreted and adapted to a theatrical tragedy a few decades later by Willam Sheakspeare, thus becoming the universal symbol of love.
Udine is the origin of this symbol but is also a city full of historical places, art, and a uniqueness of products and services.
A welcoming city that loves its guests!

Infopoint

Would you like to know more about the Municipality? Come and visit us and we will advise you in the best way our points of interest, events or activities that Udine has to offer.

Contacts
Piazza 1 Maggio, 7
33100 Udine
Tel. +39 0432 295972
info.udine@promoturismo.fvg.it

Uniqueness of the territory

Discover the hospitality that Udine and its territory reserve for you.

Map

On the map the location of the G&R places of Romeo and Juliet, the places of the period between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and the points of interest, historical and naturalistic, that will make your experience unique in the area.

Place of heart

The places of Udine and its territory, of the period between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, which are the background to the love story of Romeo and Juliet.

Infopoint

Would you like to know more about the Municipality? Come and visit us and we will advise you in the best way our points of interest, events or activities that Udine has to offer.

Contacts
Piazza 1 Maggio, 7
33100 Udine
Tel. +39 0432 295972
info.udine@promoturismo.fvg.it

Uniqueness of the territory

Discover the hospitality that Udine and its territory reserve for you.

Map

On the map the location of the G&R places of Romeo and Juliet, the places of the period between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and the points of interest, historical and naturalistic, that will make your experience unique in the area.

Place of heart

The places of Udine and its territory, of the period between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, which are the background to the love story of Romeo and Juliet.

G&R History
of Udine

Udine is a symbolic place where
the love of Romeo and Juliet.

G&R History
of Udine

Udine is a symbolic place where
the love of Romeo and Juliet.

THE BEGINNING OF A LOVE STORY

In Udine, the story of the two noble lovers began, birthing the tale of Romeo and Juliet.

It was the night of February 26, 1511...

It was the night of February 26, 1511. Lucina’s mother, Maria Griffoni Savorgnan, had organized a masquerade ball in the Palazzo Savorgnan in Udine (today Piazza Venerio) as there was to be a carnival. Naturally, her daughter Lucina, who was about 17 years old, attended.
All the nobility came to the party, including Luigi da Porto, a cavalry captain stationed in Cividale del Friuli. He arrived masked in a nymph costume, as he would describe in the novella, and was enchanted by the beautiful Lucina.
It is on that night that the spark ignited between the two and their love affair began.

THE MASQUERADE BALL

The young woman was remembered by the chronicler of the time Gregorio Amaseo (1464 – 1541) as “exotic”.
The party at Palazzo Savorgnan probably followed a typical Renaissance ritual, as evidenced by studies and recent archaeological discoveries.

Video on the findings at Palazzo Savorgnan
Canteens and banquets in Renaissance Udine

[...] «... the evening medema...

“… the evening medema, siando redutti at home de madonna Maria Savorgnana, where he danced, sonando dil continuo d’un clavizimbano, et et in consonantia cantado degnamente madonna Lucina sua figliola, pilgrim damsel, et visto lì alquanti balli fin a tardi…”

THEIR HIDDEN LOVE

In the Novella and in the Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, they were in love and married in secret.

In this myth, interspersed with history...

In this tale, with elements of history, autobiography and fantasy, place descriptions make references to the urban features of the city of Udine and its political divisions at the time, for example: the Church of San Francesco. At that point in time this church had annexed the convent of the Franciscans (today Udine’s Magistrate’s Court), which bordered the Savorgnan Palace, and was where the conflict that set off the Fat Thursday revolt between the pro-Venetian supporters, the “Zamberlani”, and those pro-imperial, the “Strumieri”, occurred.

Udine

Udine was inhabited as early as the Bronze Age and then in Roman and Lombard times. This is thanks to its central position with respect to the Friuli plains, and to the presence of a hill which the first inhabitants were able to fortify and take refuge on. In the city of Udine there are traces or indications of five walls encircling the city and protecting it over the centuries.
The first evidence of Udine’s existence dates back to the year 983. Udine began expanding from the year 1200 onwards thanks to the decisions taken by the Patriarchs of Aquileia who moved their headquarters to the city as it offered a more central and more defensible location than the other previous branches of Aquileia, Cormons and Cividale. Amaseo’s diaries recalls the plague of 1511, which struck the city of Udine, and resulted in over ten thousand deaths. From that moment, Udine grew more and more important, becoming the institutional capital of Friuli over time.
In 1418 the Republic of Venice declared war on Udine and on the homeland of Friuli.
On 7 June 1420, following the war between Venice and the Patriarchate of Aquileia, the city was conquered by the Venetian troops, marking the end of the Patriarchs’ temporal power. The Savorgnans were a noble Friulian family who became a point of reference representing the Serenissima in the city, and whose family coat of arms, in fact, became that of the city of Udine.
In 1511 the city of Udine was the subject of the bloodiest day in its history: the revolt of Fat Thursday, the popular revolution and peasant insurrection that set the whole of Friuli on fire.
It is March 26, 1511, exactly one month after the meeting between Lucina and Luigi, the day of the most intense earthquake in the history in Friuli (M 6.9) which resulted in over six thousand victims, destroyed the Castle and razed most of the of the city and of Friuli.
Amaseo’s diaries recalls the plague of 1511, which struck the city of Udine, and resulted in over ten thousand deaths.
With the presence of the Serenissima in Friuli, in 1420, Udine began a real cultural and artistic renewal or “Rebirth”. The period of the Venetian conquest of Friuli and Udine actually coincides with the flourishing of the Renaissance period. Many artists, sculptors and architects who worked in Venice, of Venetian, Lombard and Capodistrian origins, came to Friuli and Udine to work. A curiosity: in Udine, until the end of the eighteenth century, the “Bull races” took place, which attracted many people and was popular among the locals. However, the races were banned in 1787 because it was deemed too dangerous.
Discover the city and its fascinating history!

Places between 1400 and 1500

The Fifth Wall Circle

1463, Udine

The Fifth Wall Circle heart-shaped and the Savorgnan Gate

Among the mainly military and defensive interventions since the presence of the Serenissima (1420), there was the fifth circle, whose shape resembles a big “heart”, was completed in 1463 after several interruptions, measuring 7119 metres. The tower of Porta Aquileia, built in 1441, has on its façade not only the city’s coat of arms, but also that of a Savorgnan, who was appointed by the community as supervisor of the tower’s construction. It was because of this role that he was allowed to place his coat of arms. The tower is the seat of the Consortium for the Protection of Friuli-Venezia Giulia’s Historic Castles.

The Loggia del Lioniello.

1448-1557, Udine

Glory and honour for the city's new image

On 24 January 1441, the idea for a political representative building was conceived by the nobleman Nicolò Savorgnano, who stated that the city of Udine lacked ‘the glory and honour of a public palace’ and therefore it was necessary to build one immediately.
The works began in 1448 and ended in 1557, and the staircase was completed in 1559.
The project adopted was that of the architect Nicola Lionello, son of a goldsmith. The work was directed by Bartolomeo Costa Sbardilini, the chief architect and sculptor from Capodistria, known as Bartolomeo delle Cisterne. The architectural aspects that stand out are: the volume above the colonnade, the decoration of the façade with polychrome bands, the three-lobed pointed arch windows of late Venetian Gothic style. All these are explicit architectural references to the forms of the Doge’s Palace in Venice.

Piazza Libertà

XV-XVIII secolo, Udine

Based on a thought of architect Michele Sanmichieli

Piazza Libertà, built in 1530, is the central square of the city of Udine, recognised as the most beautiful Venetian-style square on the mainland. Interesting The works took place for almost a hundred years. The first work was carried out in 1530 by lieutenant Marco Antonio Contarini (Piazza Contarena). In 1532 the general of the Venetian Republic, Francesco Maria della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, arrived in Udine with Michele Sanmicheli (1484-1559), a renowned and highly educated architect and engineer, who insisted to the Council that the square be further enlarged, raised and connected with special staircases. He also suggested building a church to replace the church of San Giovanni, which had been destroyed in the earthquake, and a loggia linking the two sides of the square and facing the Town Hall. This idea led to the creation of Piazza Libertà, which became a harmonic ensemble of Renaissance architectural elements of refined workmanship and composition. The beautiful square is rounded off by the Statue of Peace (1797), the Statue of Justice (1614), which commemorates the site of executions, and the two giants Hercules and Cacus (attributed by some studies to Jacopo Sansovino).

Clock Tower

1527, Udine

A history of an urban and moral symbol from wood to stone

It stands behind the Porticato di San Giovanni.
As early as 1332 there was a civic tower in Piazza Libertà with a loggia underneath and a wooden clock by Giovanni della Collegiata di Cividale. However, a moral issue arose: the clock was naked and was “dressed”. The clock worked fairly regularly until 1470 when the tower was burned down. It was immediately rebuilt, but the 1511 earthquake caused the tower, clock and loggia to collapse.
With the new tower in 1527, a new twenty-four-hour “Italic” clock was installed, designed by Giovanni da Udine, as opposed to the “German” twelve-hour clock, which lasted until the advent of Napoleon. In 1852 it was changed with that of Vittorio and Lorenzo Solari of Pesariis and the moors were changed as well.

Fontana del Carrara

1542, Udine

A combination of engineering, artistic and architectural skills

The fountain seems to have been designed by Giovanni da Udine, in collaboration with the engineer Giovanni Carrara from Bergamo. The sculptures were made by Mastro Cipriano. Placed on a three-step plinth, it is integrated into the elevation of the square and defines its corner. It has a circular basin with rectangular mirrors, bordered by a light wrought-iron balustrade, which rises in the centre into a sort of chalice with two overlapping basins, reminiscent of bronze or glass decorations. Water gushes from the apex of the structure and flows down from the various bowls to the main basin, from which it comes out through three drip pans with human features.

Colonna Celebrativa

1539, Udine

An architectural form of Venetian power

An architectural element found in the square is the commemorative column, erected in 1539, as a symbol of Venetian power.
The column is surmounted at the top by the Lion of St Mark, and is similar to the Marciana column in Venice. It has on its top the herald of the city of Udine. It is arranged on three steps, with a pedestal base.
It is arranged on three steps, with a pedestal base. During the Napoleonic occupation it was destroyed, as was the case with most Venetian lions, and was then reinstated with the current one.

Loggia and Tempietto di San Giovanni

1533, Udine

A Renaissance architectural jewel of Brunelleschian reference.

Both were built by the Lombard architect Bernardino da Morcote. Their construction entailed numerous problems, both urban and practical: the existing church was demolished without permission and had to be rebuilt. It consists of a Loggia whose colonnade of seven arches, surmounted in the centre by two classical tympanums typical of the Renaissance, is based on the architectural type of Brunnelleschi’s Loggiato degli Innocenti in Florence. The central part was originally the entrance to the castle, and the focal point of the square’s composition. The arch is set on double angular columns. The dome is a pure volume, a hemispherical one, resting on the central cubic volume.

Bollani Arch

1556, Udine

The debut of the architect Palladio in Friuli

The arch became an opportunity to create a new access to the larger castle next to the square, marking the debut of the famous architect Andrea Palladio’s work in Friuli Venezia Giulia. The single-arched arch was built in the classical Doric style with ashlar stonework. It was erected in four months in 1556 as a thanksgiving for overcoming the plague, by the Venetian lieutenant Domenico Bollani (1514-1579), later a bishop.

Pedestrian Loggia

1487, Udine

A late Gothic pedestrian loggia with staggered elements

The pedestrian loggia with staggered elements, which accompanies the slope of the ascent to the Castle. It was commissioned to the architect Lippomano in 1487. A loggia with late Gothic openings, in Venetian style.

Udine Castle

1517, Udine

The work of a student of Raphael: Giovanni da Udine

It is the city’s most popular monument, situated on a hilltop 138 metres above sea level. It turns out to be a natural accumulation that has developed over the centuries. Legend has it being built by Attila. The first news of a fortress dates back to 983. It was the seat of the Patria del Friuli, one of the first examples of parliament in the world, and continued even after the entry of the Serenissima into Friuli. Today’s construction began in 1517, designed by architect Giovanni da Udine, a pupil of Raphael, and, after his death, by Francesco Floreani.
The façade has a symmetrical composition with a tripartite loggia in the centre, an integrated system of elements in the Renaissance architectural style of refined proportion. The building known as the ‘Casa della Contadinanza’ (House of the Peasantry) on the castle forecourt is a copy, reassembled here in 1931, of a 16th-century building that stood between Via Vittorio Veneto and Via Rauscedo.

Grimani Arch

1522, Udine

A Renaissance arch transposed on the Castle entrance

Another 16th-century architectural element is the Arco Grimani, through whose opening one reaches the castle forecourt, erected in 1522 in honour of the doge of the same name, originally located in Via Portanuova and then reassembled here in 1902.

Church of Santa Maria del Castello

1511, Udine

A post-earthquake Renaissance reconstruction

After the disastrous earthquake of 26 March 1511, the Church of Santa maria del Castello, the oldest sacred building in the city of Udine, was partially rebuilt. The façade was redone by Gaspare Negro, a Venetian architect and painter established in Friuli since 1503.

Castle Bell Tower

1539, Udine

A Renaissance architectural symbol of the city

The bell tower of the church belonging to the core of the Castle, begun by the architect Gaspare Negro, was completed by Giovanni da Udine in 1539 with the addition of the belfry, tambour and dome. The bell tower has a revolving angel Gabriel, about five metres high, with his index finger pointing in the direction of the winds, and at 43 metres high, from the top of the castle hill it dominates the vast Friulian plain. It has become one of the most representative symbols of the city of Udine.

Church of San Francesco

1266, Udine

A hypothetical reference in the story of Romeo and Juliet

One of Udine’s most ancient religious buildings, it was consecrated in 1266, now deconsecrated and used for temporary exhibitions. With the adjoining convent, now occupied by the Court, the church was the main residence of the Friars Minor in the city and throughout Friuli. The architectonic lines refer to models of Umbrian architecture of the late 13th century and Gothic influences in the tall pointed windows. The building connects directly to Piazza Venerio where Palazzo Savorgnan originally stood. It is hypothesised that the church is a direct and real reference to the city of Udine in the description of Romeo and Juliet

Via Mercatovecchio

1220, Udine

The bloody fight between the Strumieri and the Zamberlani on 27 February 1511

This is Udine’s historic street, created between the first and second city walls. It was created as a market from 1220 onwards at the behest of the Patriarch, Bertoldo di Andeschs. It was the seat of the Patriarchal Chancellery and Mint.
The bloody brawl between Strumieri and Zamberlani took place in this street, which gave rise to the tragic Zobia Grassa on 27 February 1511.

Sacchia Palace

1512, Udine

A Renaissance palace illuminated in 1866

This Renaissance palace is located between Via Rialto and Via Mercatovecchio. It has four large arches of the portico on the ground floor, on quadrangular columns, two elegant majestic three-mullioned windows, a reference to the elements of the façade of the castle above All architectural elements of a clear Renaissance matrix.
The palace was inhabited in 1512, the oldest document of which attributes it to the Sbroiavacca family and from 1517 to the Sacchia family of Maniago.
In 1886, Arturo Malignai equipped this palace with one of the first lighting systems.

Sabbadini House

1550, Udine

A frescoed palace, a knights' destination

The façade of the palace shows faded traces of frescoes by the Udine painter Giovan Battista Grassi. The stone pilasters and stringcourses create a frame, which punctuates the five floors of the building and frames the openings and paintings. On the corner of this house, you can still see the ring where, in the 16th century, the pole with the red flag indicating the finish line of the Palio race, was inserted. A race of horsemen and horses, representing the seven ancient villages of Udine, along the city streets from Via Aquileia, Via Vittorio Veneto to Via Mercatovecchio.

Tinghi Palace

1532-1533, Udine

A Renaissance “architectural canvas” frescoed by Pordenone

This is an unusual palace in Via Vittorio Veneto.
It was an ancient palace, and between 1532 and 1533 it was externally renovated in Renaissance style. Giovanni Antonio de’ Sacchis, known as Pordenone at the height of his fame, was called upon to fresco the entire façade of the residence, with scenes inspired by mythology, alluding to the political and military events linked to Charles V of Habsburg, the enemy of the Serenissima. A valuable artistic work that resonated with critics. The historian Giorgio Vasari dedicated a detailed description to it in his Vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori e architettori (Lives of the most excellent painters, sculptors and architects.

Piazza San Giacomo

12th-16th century, Udine

A harmonious ensemble of ancient palaces and Renaissance architectural gems

The square is one of Udine’s jewels. It was built around the 13th century to house Udine’s new market. On three sides of the square are ancient palaces, some of which still have traces of Renaissance frescoes; in the centre of the square, raised above the road, is the column dating back to 1487 with the statue of the Virgin at the top, and the 16th-century fountain, designed by Giovanni da Udine, which echoes the one built in Piazza Libertà. To the left of the church, in the adjacent square, there is a polygonal well with an aedicule supported by small columns, dating back to 1486.

Church of San Giacomo

1525, Udine

A Renaissance work that regulated market time

It is the central point of the square. It was built in 1378,while the current façade dates back to 1525 by Bernardino da Morcote, with all the elements of the Renaissance style. The side part was added after 1650. It has a large central clock (useful for the market, which took place opposite) as in Venice in the church of San Giacomo in Rialto. The clock is placed above the portal with an underlying balcony and a belfry opened by a mullioned window.

Udine Cathedral

1236, Udine

A Gothic guardian of Renaissance jewels

This is the most important and imposing church in the city, with precious jewels from every era. It was built in 1236 by Patriarch Bertoldo of Andechs-Merania. Inside the cathedral, the altarpiece entitled St Mark and Saints John the Baptist, Stephen, Jerome, Ermacora, Anthony the Abbot and Blessed Bertrando is one of the main works of the Udine Renaissance painter Giovanni Martini. The altarpiece from the first chapel was painted in 1501 and is signed by the author. The painting was certainly already completed and positioned on 12 July 1501 when, in a letter from the dean of the Udine cathedral chapter, Giacomo Gordino, to the Patriarch of Aquileia Domenico Grimani, Giovanni Martini’s work was highly criticised for the martial aspect given to St Mark, where the portrait of Lieutenant Loredan himself is probably to be recognised.

Cathedral Bell Tower

1441-1469, Udine

An "unfinished" architectural work

The Bell Tower of the Duomo is 48 metres high, a curious architectural “unfinished”. Work began in March 1441 on a project by Cristoforo da Milano. In 1450, the project and the direction of the work were entrusted to Bartolomeo delle Cisterne who, just ten years later, raised some static doubts, warning the population that going upwards would lead to a collapse This warning put an end, in 1469, to the raising of the Baptistery, which did not prove solid for the grandiose project for which it was intended The Baptistery was rebuilt after the 1348 earthquake at the behest of Blessed Bertrando. It represents a singular example of Gothic architecture, built in bands of polychrome marble, which are completely detached from the upper overlay of red bricks. The cathedral’s bell tower was supposed to reach the height of the castle bell tower, and a Madonna was to be placed at the top, dialoguing with the angel at the top of the castle bell tower, recalling the Christian theme of the Annunciation. However, due to the boldness of the project and above all due to the lack of building materials, the project was stopped and the bell tower took on its current squat form.

Piazza Venerio

Udine

The spark of love, the destruction and the memory of the Palace

It was known in ancient times, from the demolition of the Savorgnan palace, as ‘Place de Ruine’ – translated as ‘Piazza delle Rovine’ – trad. “Piazza delle Rovine”.
In fact, this was the site of the Savorgnan palace, where on 26th February 1511, the masked party that sparked the love affair between Lucina Savorgnan and Luigi Da Porto, Romeo and Juliet, took place. In 1549, as a result of the fights triggeredby the Zobia Grassa, Tristano Savorgnan owner of the palace, had his property confiscated and his palace destroyed pro omnibus by the Venetians.
The square was later named after Girolamo Venerio (1777 – 1843) one of the leading figures in meteorology and agricultural innovations, who had his home and scientific observatory here. The observatory was used for almost forty years for daily meteorological measurements. Supplemented by observations on the vegetation of plants in relation to their seasonal development.
The 1991 redevelopment by architect Gino Valle left the square deliberately empty, as a memory of that destruction, highlighting in dark stone the foundations of the ancient palace, as it appeared at the beginning of the 16th century.

The Well of San Giovanni

1511, Udine

The end of Antonio Savorgnan's deception witnesses

The Pozzo di San Giovanni (St John’s Well) is located on the corner of Via Savorgnana and Via Stringher. It is one of the wells in the city of Udine, where in 1511 Antonio Savorgnan had two men thrown in to prevent them from testifying to his subterfuge used to trigger the revolt. Their bodies plus that of another witness were thrown into the well.

The lime tree by Antonio Savorgnan

Udine

The revolutionary leader for the independence of the homeland of Friuli

Antonio Savorgnan, loved by the people, became the “popular leader of Friuli”, he fought for the independence and emancipation of Friuli. His popularity in the Patria del Friuli remained steadfast, also witnessed by the request for pardon made by the community of Udine in October 1511 before the Council of Ten. He was killed at the hands of his fellow aristocrats, armed from Venice to Villaco in 1512. 500 years after his killing, a lime tree has been dedicated to him in memory in Via Crispi.

Luigi da Porto described him in these terms:He […] is of such authority in those parts that no lord of Italy is greater in his state, nor does he have his subjects as obedient as he has had up to now from the Forlani people and peasants“. (Letter to Antonio Caccialupo, 28 February 1512).

Capital of Love

26 febbraio 2021, Udine

The love story of Romeo and Juliet has a capital city

In the square (now Piazza Venerio) where Palazzo Savorgnan stood, on February 26, 1511, the love between Lucina Savorgnan and Luigi Da Porto was kindled during a masquerade party. The city of Udine, thanks also to this beautiful tale, has proclaimed itself the “Capital of Love”. On its anniversary February 26 in 2021, the project, “Udine Capital of Love, Romeo and Juliet in Friuli”, was launched in the Salone del Popolo of Palazzo d’Aronco in Udine. An important initiative that makes use of thirty years of research that can finally be realised through a design of common intent.