Friuli Venezia Giulia in Italy will pay you to visit

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Friuli Venezia Giulia, in the far northeast of the country, will reimburse visitors for travel if they travel by train from anywhere in Italy. If that’s not enough to get you on board, the region will also give you a card that gives you free access to museums, free public transportation, and discounts elsewhere.

Grado is known as the 'mother of Venice'.

Grado is known as the ‘mother of Venice’.

DeAgostini/Getty Images

The only catch? You must stay at least two nights. But that’s not much of a sacrifice in this region, where you’ll find ancient cities of art, mountains, miles and miles of vineyards, and some of the best beaches in Italy.

From today until May 31, 2023, PromoTurismoFVG, the local tourist office, will refund the national train fares of travelers arriving in the cities of Trieste and Udine, and the seaside resorts of Grado and Lignano Sabbiadore , in an attempt to promote sustainable travel.

Lignano Sabbiadoro is one of the main seaside resorts on the Adriatic.

Lignano Sabbiadoro is one of the main seaside resorts on the Adriatic.

Martin Dworschak/Adobe Stock

Visitors can travel on the Trenitalia state trains, from regular regional lines to Intercity and high-speed Frecce lines. You must book a package that includes accommodation in a hotel that participates in the initiative; When booking a two-night package, the price of the return train ticket will be deducted from the total as a discount. Guests will also receive a free FVGcard, which offers free and discounted admission to museums and guided tours.

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So where to go? Trieste is one of the great cities of Northern Italy, although it doesn’t always feel like Italy. Annexed by the Austro-Hungarian empire, which made it its main port, it was only returned to Italy after the First World War. That means there is a Viennese-style café culture, with entire swaths of the city built by the Austrians, as well as older areas, and even Roman remains.

Udine has a protected Slovenian minority.

Udine has a protected Slovenian minority.

MassanPH/Moment RF/Getty Images

Multicultural Udine, also part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, has a protected Slovene minority, so you’ll find signs written in both languages. It is a stately city with works by Caravaggio and Tiepolo in its castle converted into a museum, and a cathedral dating from the 13th century.

Of the two beach destinations, Grado is known as the “mother of Venice,” built on islands in a lagoon about 75 miles northeast of La Serenissima. Lignano Sabbiadoro is one of the best beach resorts on the Adriatic, complete with the Terrazza a Mare, designed in 1969, a bubble-shaped pier jutting out into the sea.

For those traveling to Trieste or Udine, they will get a 48-hour FVGcard for stays of two nights, or a one-week FVGcard for stays of three or more days. This allows free access to the main museums and guided tours established by the Tourist Board. It also includes discounts for services from swimming pools to theaters, and free or reduced admission to special exhibitions, such as the Banksy show in Trieste, which takes place from November to April.

Those who choose to visit the seaside resorts of Grado or Lignano Sabbiadoro will also get a card, though there are fewer beachside museums to mark.

Just one thing to note: return tickets must be to and from one of five stations: Latisana-Lignano-Bibione, Cervignano-Aquileia-Grado, Trieste Airport, Trieste Centrale, or Udine. You also have to stay in one of the hotels participating in the initiative and book more than three or five days before the trip, depending on the destination. Italian holidays are excluded from the offer.

Cover image: Grado, one of the participating destinations in the initiative. Credit: xbrchx/Adobe Stock

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