Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Italy is for Families!

Not a day goes by that I do not miss living in Italy. What's not to miss?! Great people, great food, fantastic coffee and wine! Beautiful countryside, cities, art and architecture. Italy is also a great place to live or visit with kids! Italians are family oriented, and this is reflected in everyday life. My morning ramblings will reflect this life often. Lucky you! Gorgazzo is one of my favorite places in Italy. It is a beautiful little town and has one of my favorite restaurants in all of Italy. The following is an article that I originally wrote for Italian Visits, with some changes as I ramble this morning.

Gorgazzo is a must see stop in the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region of Italy.  This charming hamlet makes for a quiet and peaceful sojourn along one’s travels of Northern Italy. Not difficult to find, it is located just off the pedemontana, or “mountain highway” as the Americans living in the area refer to it.  This hamlet is famous for its springs, one of the sources of the Livenza River that flows through Friuli and Veneto eventually emptying into the Adriatic Sea. 

The springs of Gorgazzo are a site to behold.  They have been called, “delizia e tormento di moti pittori,” as they are both a delight and a torment to paint because of their ever-changing colors from the rays of the sun. Italian geographer, Giovanni Marinelli (1846-1900), must have been awe inspired by the beauty of the springs as he penned these poetic words while studying the Gorgazzo. 

“Take the emerald color, the turquoise and the beryl ones, put them into a sea of lapis-lazuli, so that everything mixes and at the same time each of them keeps its own originality and you have that one piece of liquid sky that is called Gorgazzo.”
Geologically speaking, water erosion and tectonic discontinuity created the hollow (el buso) of the springs.  The surface pond was created from the collapse of a vault under the thrust of water.  Although there are many hypotheses, the exact source of the Gorgazzo still remains a mystery. 

Not far beneath the surface is the opening to a cave.  Divers have traveled as far as 131 meters along this very narrow and curvy tunnel, and they still have yet to reach the end.  Unfortunately, some of these underwater explorations have proved fatal, and so this cave has been closed to diving since 1999.  Today, approximately seventeen meters under the surface at the opening of the cave is a guardian, a statue of the Christ.  At Christmas, the Christ is alighted, and there is a beautiful mass with divers. 

There are stairs leading down to the springs at various points along the stream.  Visitors will surely enjoy removing their shoes as they descend the steps to dip their feet in the cool water on a hot day.  For those couples wishing to experience the romance that is Italy, it is a pleasant feeling to have your feet washed by the one you love in the springs of the Gorgazzo. 

For visitors traveling around Italy with kids, this is a place for families.  Children will enjoy feeding the fish and the ducks that swim in the “cielo liquido.” 

The restaurants here offer delicious, yet affordable meals, and they have a play area for young children as well.  This added benefit allows time for mom and dad to reconnect over a delicious meal that can be leisurely enjoyed while their children are happily playing.  In the evenings, travelers will enjoy sipping their glasses of wine while listening to the music of a live band.

Couples and families alike will enjoy taking a stroll through the hamlet that is Gorgazzo.

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