Euroculture Report

Euroculture in Udine, Bella Italia

Emilie Lambiel | emlambiel@hotmail.com

Udine is a small city situated in the northeast part of Italy, in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. It is close to Venice (2 hours by train) and very close to the Austrian and Slovenian borders. The region has two official languages: Italian and Friulian, a Rhaeto-Romanic language.

The city of Udine has several interesting historical monuments: on the Piazza Libertà, the most famous square of the city, stands the Loggia di San Giovanni (1533) and the Torre dell’Orologio (Clock Tower) in the Venetian-Gothic style (1527), resembling that of the Clock Tower of Piazza San Marco in Venice. On the other side of the Piazza Libertà stands the Loggia del Lionello (1448) in white and pink stone, another example of the Venetian-Gothic style. The city also has a castle, accessible from the square. The Duomo is another curiosity of the city, whose oldest part dates back to 1335. (Picture: Loggia di San Giovanni and Torre dell’Orologio)

The second semester in the University of Udine usually starts in February, which is the right time for Carnival. Udine and many cities around organise different events to celebrate Carnival. I spent the first weekend in Venice and I really enjoyed watching the beautiful Venetian carnival masks and processions on Piazza San Marco.

At the beginning of the semester there are many administrative procedures that need to be done: registration at the international office (only by appointment), at the city hall, at the library, etc. It can be a bit heavy, especially with the Italian working hours (many offices and shops are closed in the afternoon) and for the ones who don’t speak at least a little bit of Italian. But once this is done, you can totally enjoy the Mediterranean way of life in a ‘northern’ city; living and studying in Udine is really pleasant. I met several people, who have been living in Udine for several years and most of them told me the same: “Udine is a small city, but it has everything you need!”

In Udine you can walk everywhere, the city centre is not really big. The university buildings are spread all around the city so you won’t have all your classes in the same classroom. But don’t worry, the maximum you will have to walk is 25 minutes from one university building to another.

The Euroculture classes offered in Udine are mostly based on European history (Modern and Contemporary European history) and Human Rights. Since we were only six Euroculture students in Udine, we were often given the opportunity to work in groups during the class and work together on different projects.

It is not easy to find a place to live in Udine when you intend to stay only for a few months. During the semester I was living in one of the university residences with four other Euroculture students. The residence building is brand new, quite central and a good compromise for a short stay in Udine. Unfortunately it is also a bit expensive.

Udine can be considered a small city, with about 99,000 inhabitants, but it is close to several well-known big cities such as Trieste, Verona, Venice, Padova and Bologna. In the region you can also find many attractive places that are worth a visit such as Palmanova, a city built in the shape of a star; Alquileia with an interesting archaeological site; Grado and Lignano near the sea; L’Isola della Cona, a protected area close to Grado; Gemona del Friuli; Cividale; and many others. The big cities are easy to reach by train (you can travel to Venice in 2 hours for €10, although some trains are more expensive than others) but travelling by car is more convenient and sometimes less expensive if you are willing to visit the villages around or travel to Austria or Slovenia.

An advantage of living in a small city such as Udine is that it is easy to get to know people, especially Erasmus students. There is a great Erasmus association (Udine Babel) in the city, which organises many events such as international dinners or language exchange nights every week. There are many bars, restaurants and typical Italian trattorie that serve great food and wine. One of the most famous drinks in Udine is the Spritz aperol, which you will discover quite soon once you start living there!

One last thing that you should know is that many people in the region don’t speak English (or, if they do, just a little) and it is therefore useful to have some knowledge of Italian before you go to Udine or to take a language class while you are there (offered for free during the semester). Trust me: it makes your life easier if you are able to communicate with the local people in your everyday life. People are so much nicer when they see you trying to speak in Italian!

Emilie Lambiel, Udine Correspondent

Emilie is from Switzerland and holds a bachelor degree in communication sciences from the University of Lugano. She studied Euroculture in the University of Göttingen and the University of Udine, and she is currently doing an internship at the European Film Academy in Berlin. She is interested in cinema, literature, sustainable energies, media and communication. She also enjoys travelling even though she almost never arrives at the same destination as her suitcase. In her future profession, she hopes to find and fulfill a combination of communication, culture and European Studies.

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