Tarcento is a town and municipality in the province of Udine, in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of north-eastern Italy. Tarcento occupies a strategic location at a bridging point on the River Torre. A catastrophic earthquake in 1976 caused a great deal of damage in the town and its surroundings, all of which has subsequently been repaired.
- Palazzo dei Frangipane (18th century), with an octagonal loggia.
- The Parish church of St. Peter (12th century), with a rich Baroque high altar.
- Villa De Rubeis, built in the 17th century over a pre-existing 12th century structure. It has noteworthy paintings, doors with painted mirrors and a notable central hall.
- Arboreto Pascul, an arboretum.
- Cjscjelat, the ruined castle tower on Coia where, each 6 January, the “pignarul grant” takes place, an ancient bonfire ceremony believed to have Celtic origins.
- Villa Moretti (19th century) a house formerly owned by the Moretti brewing family, and now an arts centre, situated on the hill of Coia.
Poised on the slopes of Monte Chiampeon, Monte Stella and Monte Bernadia, Tarcento (or Tarcěnt in the local Friulian dialect) is naturally and has historically been identified by the splendid variety of its landscape and by its role as a link between the upper Torre valley, the Julian Alpine foothills, the plain and their peoples and cultures.
Tarcento is a pearl set midway between the sky blue line of the Musi mountains and the clear ribbon of the Torre, between hills thick with vineyards and woods, dotted with small hamlets where the people still have great community spirit, conserving recognisable and authentic customs and values, language and traditions. These settlements include Collalto, Stella, Collerumiz, Sedilis, Segnacco, Coia, Ciseriis, Sammardenchia, Bulfons, Zomeais, Molinis, and Loneriacco.
The gentle, peaceful and harmonious environment is associated with a monumental and historic heritage that is in no way ostentatious, but still manages to be captivating, just as the area’s genuine hospitality is associated with cultural vitality. The main attractions Tarcento has to offer are represented by its varied landscapes of mountains and plains, walks along the River Torre, its art nouveau style villas and the ruins of ancient castles. Visiting Tarcento, the Pearl of Friuli, means getting to know one of the most dynamic centres of culture in the heart of Friuli, home to ancient traditions and rituals that continue to be celebrated to this day during unique events.
Geographically speaking, the town is located in an area of varied and contrasting landscapes: to the north are the Julian Alpine foothills, imposing limestone bastions along the horizon, defending the town from cold northern winds; to the south is the Friulian high plain, formed by the alluvial deposits of the great watercourses, including the River Torre; to the east are the Colli Orientali (or Eastern Hills), gently rolling Eocene reliefs; to the west is the morainic amphitheatre of the River Tagliamento, with its surrounding hills formed after the last Ice Age. Such varied surroundings make this an irresistible place to discover and rediscover by means of walks and excursions, visits to historic sites and outings in the countryside. These are possible all year round in Tarcento thanks to its particularly mild climate.
Tarcento has earned itself the nickname “Perla del Friuli” (literally “Pearl of Friuli”) because of its spectacular geographic location, as well as its more recent title of “Cittŕ dell’acqua, cittŕ del fuoco” (“Town of water, town of fire”) to commemorate the town’s two key features: the first is a natural feature, linked to the River Torre, the most important watercourse, and its numerous tributaries; the other is a traditional feature, linked to epiphanic fire and the “Festival dei Cuori” (“Festival of Hearts”), two important events for the town which respectively raise its status to the capital of the Friulian Epiphany celebrations and of international folklore.
A popular destination in the past due to its pleasant surroundings, beloved by many illustrious figures who stayed or lived here, Tarcento has succeeded in preserving the beauty of its natural and historic treasures.