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Looking for itinerary – E. Italy, Slovenia, Austria

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I'm trying to put together a 12-night itinerary mostly centered in eastern Italy but also perhaps including bits of adjacent Slovenia and Austria. Or perhaps not, if there is enough in this corner of Italy to keep us occupied.

By eastern Italy, I mean Friuli Venezia Giulia, roughly the part north of Trieste up to the Austrian border, and west a bit, but not including Trentino (Trento and vicinity) and Sudtirol (as we have already spent time there). Thus, for instance, we would exclude Cortina and points west. We also would exclude Venice.

Our interests: pretty villages, medieval towns, elegant architecture of any kind, Roman monuments, food and wine, churches and art (both in museums and in churches) and outdoor markets. We have a copy of Fodor's "Italy" book and have ordered "Venice and the best of Northern Italy" but have not received it yet.

We probably would fly into-out of Venice or Trieste, or in one and out the other. We will have a car and are comfortable with driving in Italy. Normally we like to spend two to three nights in each town/village in order to explore the town itself and to make day trips. That means three to five towns as centers, with trips to nearby sights.

I would welcome suggestions of places to visit as well as towns to sleep in. As examples, here are some of the places I think we may/will want to visit:

Udine, Cividale, Aquileia, Grado, Cormons, Fagagna, Gemona, Sauris and Sappada. We also may visit Trieste, but it is not my favorite Italian city and we probably don't want to overnight there. And finally, if Friuli Venezia Giulia doesn't have enough to keep us busy for 12 days, we would consider crossing the border into Austria or Slovenia.

So, thoughts, Fodorites? Thank you in advance.

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