The picturesque, small village of Aviano, northwest of Venice in the foothills of the Italian Alps, is perhaps best known as the home of one of Europe's largest NATO air force bases, but it is also a great base for enjoying outdoor adventures. Perched between mountains and sea, visitors and residents enjoy a wide variety of activities year round.
Aviano, where the top flight golf course boasts a medieval castle, has ancient Roman origins. The nearest town of any size is Pardenone, nine miles south. Venice is 70 miles to the southwest, while Trieste, another famed Italian seaport, is 80 miles to the east. The beaches along the Adriatic offer a variety of activities, including fishing, diving and sailing.
Italians are passionate cycling enthusiasts and the roads around Aviano offer multiple opportunities for bike riding. Mountain biking in the foothills of the Dolomites, the Italian Alps, is also a popular pastime.
Parco Naturale Dolomite Friulane
This large wilderness park encompassing both foothills and mountains is 50 miles northwest of Aviano. The park attracts hikers and trekkers in the summer months and cross country skiers in winter. There also are nature trails and birdwatching areas, plus recently discovered dinosaur tracks. There are campsites in and near the park, plus guesthouses.
Paragliding and pony trekking tours attract visitors in the summer to the hills around Aviano. In the winter months, there are several ski resorts within a two hour drive from the area. Rock climbing and "Tarzaning"--a new outdoor craze that involves climbing trees and negotiating rope bridges--also are popular. Mountain chalet rentals are available year round.
Refreshment on the Trail
The Friuli-Veneto region of Italy where Aviano is situated is one of the most abundant agricultural regions of the country, noted for its wines and fresh vegetables. Polenta, coarse-ground cornmeal cooked into a rich mush and topped with a sauce, is a local favorite. Small country cafes and picnic spots abound.
Article Written By Robin Thornley
Robin Thornley has been a successful writer for more than 25 years, penning articles for national magazines, newspapers and websites. She specializes in a variety of topics, including business, politics, lifestyle trends, travel and cuisine. She also is the author of two guidebooks.