9 March 2024

Ovaro, Val Pesarina and Raveo: the hidden treasures of Friulian Carnia

Excursions, food and wine and a night in a barn

Hiking, food and wine, and a night in a barn

Every promise is a debt, so here I am again with the second part of my tale about Carnia, accompanied by Visit Zoncolan (What!? You missed the first part? Let's put a remedy that right now, here it is).

This time we set off in the direction of Ovaro, and I want to dedicate the following paragraphs to you. Yes, you, the very one who read the word “Ovaro” thought "ah, that little passing village where I never stopped because I thought it wasn’t interesting!" Well, welcome to the club, my friend: I thought so too, but I had to change my mind. First of all, here they have a beautiful multi-building hotel, Albergo Diffuso Zoncolan, that consists of twenty-two houses distributed among the municipalities of Ovaro, Raveo, and Prato Carnico: each lodging can accommodate from two to fourteen people and they all differ in type and size, depending on the guests' needs.

After I checked in, I headed to Clavais, a small hamlet five kilometers from Ovaro that, today, hosts three beautiful apartments in what once was a barn. One of the apartments is managed precisely by the multi-building hotel. Here, you’ll find two double bedrooms and a sofa bed that together can accommodate up to six people, a giant bathroom and a large open space with joint kitchen and living room, embellished by an immense window looking out over the valley and the Carnic Alps. It’ll feel like you’re at the theater, but without the need to pay for a ticket.

As in all other multi-building hotels in the area, breakfast is made of excellent local products, ranging from sweet to savory, and is to be enjoyed snuggled up by the warmth of the fireplace.

From the same big window as before, you can catch a glimpse of the House of a Hundred Windows in Palazzo Micoli Toscano in Mione, a hamlet in the municipality of Ovaro. Actually, there are one hundred and seven windows, but that doesn’t really matter, since you’ll be enraptured by so much more once you’ll enter! Just think that this mansion, built in 1836, is still inhabited by the heirs of brothers Giovanni Angiolo and Giovanni Francesco Micoli Toscano: it was the latter who built it! Today the house is occasionally open, and Mrs. Anna will be your guide: she will be the one to open the doors of the mansion (which, alas, are not a hundred and seven) and accompany you among wonderful 19th-century frescoes, libraries, Venetian-style floors, and a vintage kitchen with a fogolar that will leave you speechless. It’s as suggestive as very few other destinations.

Also, if hunger strikes, in Ovaro you'll find some traditional dishes at the Matoga Café, which is ideal for a quick and tasty lunch break.

On the other hand, if you want to sooth your appetite with something refined and delicious, a stop at Osteria Inn Pik in Pesariis is a must: this place is a real gem that has been run by Alessia for four years. What will you find? It’s a simple cuisine that looks to modernity.

With a full belly, you can’t say no to a little detour to the Museo dell’Orologeria (Watchmaking Museum)! The story of the Solari brothers will leave you speechless, and I am sure that on your next trips you will pay much more attention to details, because their watches can be found in many stations and airports.

A stone's throw away you can also admire the legacy of a notary, her dwelling that now serves the community... visiting a typical Carnic house is not an every-day deal, and so head at a brisk pace to the Little Carnic House Museum. Since the 17th century, the Bruseschi House has been the residence of the Bruseschi family, one of the oldest and wealthiest in the village. In 1963, thanks to the bequest of the last owner, Dorina Bruseschi, the space became the property of the Parish of SS. Filippo and Giacomo in Pesariis. Casa Bruseschi thus opened its doors to visitors to witness and tell the story of life in Carnia between 1700 and 1800.

I mean, do we want to discover the natural beauty of this area or not? Click here on the Visit Zoncolan website and let's take a look together at the unmissable experiences to be had.

We’re in the Pesarina Valley, also known as the Valley of Time: for generations this was the only place in Italy to have been home to a very long tradition of watchmakers. Here, in the hamlet of Truia, more precisely in the small village of Orias, I discovered the twelve stavoli built in the 1800s thanks to Omar, a guide who collaborates with Visit Zoncolan. Said stavoli are grouped in one spot and not scattered here and there as it was customary. For those of you who were (rightly) wondering, stavoli are small rural buildings typical of this area that once served as a foothold for shepherds and their livestock. I must admit that I found this place fascinating, and I think the photos are worth a thousand words.

However, this is just one of many experiences to be had here for a fee of 15 euros; for example, you can replicate my walk in the Raveo area below Conca di Pani at the same price. I left a little piece of my heart there, among beech forests, waterfalls, and panoramic views of Raveo and the Tolmezzo plain <3 Oh, and I was accompanied by my good man Omar in this beautiful hike, too.

Now I’d like us to promise each other something. I’ll stop here, for today, and I’ll write down a few more articles on my experience with Visit Zoncolan (so that this tale can better compete with soap operas). Hence, I now take my leave… but you have to promise to wait (and then read) my next tales.

Pinky swear…

Ph Michele Grimaz

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