Friularo Wine: History, Information, Interesting Facts

Friularo wine: history, information, interesting facts


There is a place where emotions from a time past, art, culture and taste, seem to blend. A beautiful, ancient villa in the Italian countryside becomes the source of feelings that inevitably ignite inspiration. So, it’s probably not a coincidence that Carlo Goldoni, one of the most famous Italian playwrights, created in this place some of his greatest works. It’s also not a coincidence that the Friularo wine was born in the local vineyards, the fruit of a sensibility slowly acquired over the centuries: let’s try it, enjoying the charm of this fascinating location.

Friularo wine: A rough wine, with a great temper (crt-01)


Friularo: a rough wine with a great temper.

Friularo wine has always been famous for its strong personality: something to keep in mind when drinking it. There are no certainties about the origins of its name: it probably comes from ‘frigolearo’, a dialect word combining ‘frigo’, referring to the late harvest of the grapes, and ‘aro’, referring to the hard work of plowing the fields.
These elements give life to a harsh and fiery red, celebrated by the Italian poet ‘Ruzante’: for him, this wine was ‘sgarboso’ (rude), not easy to befriend.


The land of Friularo wine.

Friularo wine.

The Friularo vineyards grow in the North East of Italy, in a zone not distant from the city of Padua. Here, the soil is influenced by the volcanic nature of the Euganean Hills and by the sediments left during the centuries by the rivers Adige, Brenta and Bacchiglione. These factors increase the minerality, the acidity and the sapidity of the wine.
The local climate is very important too: it’s never too hot or too cold. A gentle breeze coming from the heights reduces the risks due to humidity. A good thermal excursion during the period of maturation increases the presence of phenolic substances, giving to the Friularo grapes their typical deep red color.

Friularo wine: Dominio di Bagnoli, cantina.

WebFoodCulture: the most typical specialties, the most traditional restaurants and producers.

The most typical specialties, the most traditional restaurants and producers.


Vintage 954: one thousand years of Friularo wine.

Friularo wine: 'A Bagnoli v'aspeto.' (crt-01)

The ‘Dominio di Bagnoli’ is the land surrounding the beautiful Villa Widmann, in the Northeast of Italy. It’s one of the best places to grow the Friularo grapes: this should not surprise since it’s right in the middle of a territory with a millenary tradition in the production of wine.

The beginning.

Although it’s very likely that the Ancient Romans grew vines in this zone, the first document proving the existence of this type of cultivation in the area, dates back to 954 A.D., when Almerico, Duke of Lombardy, donated the Dominio to the Church. In the XIII Century, a group of Benedictine monks built a monastery including a wine cellar.

Friularo wine served at the Ducal Palace.

Friularo wine: Venice, Ducal Palace.

At the beginning of the XVII Century, the ‘Friularo di Bagnoli’ acquired so much prestige to be adopted as the official wine of the Venetian Republic: it was served at the Ducal Palace and in every embassy of the ‘Serenissima’.
So, it’s probably not a coincidence that in this period the Dominio belonged to one of the most important Venetian families of the time: the Widmann-Rezzonico.


The advent of Napoleon put an end to the ‘golden age’ of the Friularo: the Venetian aristocracy started to drink French wines.

The Borlettis acquire the Dominio.

Friularo wine: Dominio di Bagnoli, the Villa.

When at the end of the XIX Century the Borletti family bought the Dominio, the Friularo was at its lowest level of popularity. Lorenzo Borletti began to manage the vineyards in 1990: he immediately tried to bring the wine back to its former glory. To reach the highest level of quality possible, he decreased the quantity produced from three million liters to three hundred thousand (*1). His choice was right: in a few years, the Friularo received many awards and the DOCG label .

*1: Resulting in almost 180.000 bottles.


The Villa in Bagnoli.

In 1656 Count Widmann bought the Dominio di Bagnoli from Pope Alexander VII. A few years later he ordered the construction of a villa, entrusting the project to the famous architect Baldassarre Longhena (*1). The task assigned to Longhena was not just to design the main building (*2), but also renovate the structures (warehouses, barns and cellars) once belonged to the Benedictine monks. Thanks to his work, the Dominio became one of the most modern farms of the time.
Nowadays Villa Widmann is classified as National Monument and considered one of the most significant architectural and historical attractions of the Veneto region.

In 1788, the poet Ludovico Pastò used these words to describe the Villa:

Bagnoli xe un logheto cussì belo,
Cussì ben fato, e pien de simetria,
Che poeta no gh’è, no gh’è penelo,
Che ve possa mostrar cossa lu sia.

Nol par minga una vila, ma un castelo;
Una contea, o qualche signoria.
Chi no crede sta roba vegna quà,
Che, come ogn’altro, el resterà incantà.

There is a villa in Bagnoli so nice,
So perfect, so symmetric,
That no poet or painter,
Could recreate its beauty.

It looks more like a castle;
The land is so noble.
Those who don’t believe me, should come here,
And, as everyone else, prepare to be enchanted.

*1: The architect Baldassarre Longhena is famous for the design of Cà Rezzonico, the ‘Basilica della Salute’, and the Widmann Palace, all located in Venice.
*2: Longhena designed also a small theatre inside the main building (later used by Carlo Goldoni), and a little church adjacent to the structure.

Friularo wine: Cà Rezzonico, Venice.


The garden, the ‘brolo’ and the Friularo vineyards.

The Villa in Bagnoli is undoubtedly a small gem, embellishing the area where the Friularo wine is produced. What strikes the visitor is not just the beauty of the main building, but also that of its garden, adorned by a great number of statues created in the late Seventeenth Century by the Venetian sculptor Antonio Bonazza.

The great part of these statues represents some of the most famous characters of the theatrical genre known as ‘Commedia dell’Arte’.

Near the garden, there is a medieval ‘brolo’: a parcel dedicated to high-value crops. Although its presence was quite common in many Venetian villas of the past, very few examples have survived, even less so well preserved. In the brolo, vines are still cultivated using ancient techniques in large part abandoned, such as the ‘Cassone Padovano’ and the ‘Festonato’. This beautiful place is surrounded by many acres where the Friularo grapes are grown.

Friularo wine: Friularo vineyards.


The Friularo and the plays by Carlo Goldoni.

Friularo wine: Venetian nobleman.

It’s not possible to fully appreciate the Friularo without knowing the place where it comes from. This place is Veneto, a Region located in the Northeast of Italy, famous worldwide for its most precious gem: the city of Venice.
A specific historical period is also very important to understand this wine: the XVIII Century, widely considered its ‘golden age’.
If visiting Veneto should be relatively simple, the same cannot be said about traveling to the past: it would be the right job for a time machine, but since it has not been invented yet, it’s necessary to find another way.
The best could be to read the plays written by a frequent visitor of the Dominio di Bagnoli: Carlo Goldoni. Many of the works of this great Italian playwright can bring the reader to the right place at the right moment: the Venetian Republic of the 700’s.
Goldoni describes so carefully the world of the Friularo wine to make it live again.


Carlo Goldoni and the ‘Commedia dell’Arte’.

Friularo wine: Venice, statue of Carlo Goldoni.

Carlo Goldoni is without doubts one of the most famous and appreciated Italian playwrights of all times. In his youth, he studied law and began his career practicing it.

The first play

Even if this job earned him enough to live, his true passion was writing plays. The first was the ‘Momolo Cortesan’, staged in 1738. Many others followed, some created during his stays at the Villa in Bagnoli.

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Goldoni and the ‘Commedia dell’Arte’

Friularo wine: Theatrical mask (img-01)

Goldoni reformed the Italian theater, until then deeply influenced by the ‘Commedia dell’Arte’. This was characterized by the lack of a defined plot: the typical storyline (‘canovaccio’) was usually vague, leaving huge freedom of interpretation to actors. Thanks to him, what was generically known as ‘Italian Commedy’, turned into something much more structured. His scripts were very detailed and strict in defining roles and situations: they were meant to be represented on the stage with great precision.

The plays

‘The antiquarian family’ (‘La famiglia dell’antiquario’), ‘The Coffee Shop’ (‘La bottega del caffè’), ‘The Liar’ (‘Il bugiardo’), the ‘Holyday Trilogy’ (‘La Trilogia della villeggiatura’) and ‘The Mistress of the Inn’ (‘La Locandiera’) are some of the most famous plays by Goldoni. In these works, the author shows the daily life of aristocrats and common people: his story plots are devised to both entertain and educate the audience.

The death in Paris

In 1762 the great playwright moved to Paris. In this city, not without difficulty, he carried on his plan to reform the theater.
He died in poverty in 1793, during the turbulent period following the French Revolution.

Friularo wine: Venice, Gran Canal.



This article is the fruit of the collaboration between WebFoodCulture and Dominio di Bagnoli, the most traditional producer of Friularo wine. The information provided illustrate the actual characteristics of the specialty.


Bagnoli, home of Friularo red wine.

Friularo wine is produced in the lands surrounding the Municipality of Bagnoli, located in the Italian region of Veneto, not far from the city of Padua.


Baroque music for the friularo wine.

Baroque music by Vivaldi to accompany the reading of this article:

Note: join Spotify and listen to the full song.


Friularo wine and literature.

In 1521, the Venetian writer and playwright Angelo Beolco, also known as ‘Il Ruzante’, wrote in his ‘Prima Orazione’:

“Mo quel vino sgarboso an? Vin che dise ‘bevime … bevime’ che el te salta dal bocal, vin proprio da resusitar i morti malai, e anca chi gavesse sento ferìe, nol ghe farae mal, vin che fa pair le piere!
Dove nasselo sto vin? Nel Pavan!”.

Click here for translation.
“What about this wine? It’s so rude, but it also seems to jump outside the cup saying ‘drink me! .. drink me!’. This wine can heal the sick and resurrect the dead. This wine could not harm anyone, even very ill. This wine helps to digest the stones!
Where does it come from?
it comes from Padova!”.

The ‘rude’ (‘sgarboso’) wine produced in the surroundings of Padova is almost certainly the Friularo.

During the second half of the XVIII Century, the Venetian artist Ludovico Pastò wrote many dialectal poems about wine, food and beautiful women. The most famous is probably ‘El Vin Friularo de Bagnoli’ (1787), in which the author, great lover of the Friularo wine, celebrates its virtues:

“Ma fra i Vini el più stimabile,
El più bon, el più perfeto
Xe sto Vin amabile,
Sto Friularo benedeto.
Lu ga i gusti più stupendi,
Tuti i odori più sontuosi
No ga Vini el Benintendi
Del Friularo più preziosi.”

Click here for translation.
“The most worthy among the wines,
The most pleasant, the most perfect
Is the delicious,
Holy Friularo.
It has the best taste,
It has the best smell,
Benintendi (*1) has no better wine,
Than the precious Friularo.”

*1: Benintendi, Venetian merchant of foreign wines.

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La salute: the basilica by Longhena.

Baldassarre Longhena, the same architect who designed Villa Widmann in Bagnoli, designed also the beautiful Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute, overlooking the Grand Canal of Venice. It was commissioned by the people to thank the Virgin Mary for the end of the plague that struck the city between the years 1630 and 1631.

Friularo wine: Goldoni, love and wine (img-03)

(Carlo Goldoni)

Friularo wine: best pairings.


Friularo wine: best pairings.

Friularo wine is warm, tannic, fresh and tasty. It’s perfect to accompany, for example, medium-long aged cheeses and recipes like the ‘brasato’ (braised meat).

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The alcohol and the tannicity balance the succulence (induced) of the meat and the greasiness of its sauce.
The acidity balances its sweet tendency.

The Friularo is produced also as a straw wine (‘passito’), in this case it’s sweet, fresh, warm and tannic. It’s perfect with some of the most typical Venetian biscuits, like the ‘zaetti’:
The sweetness, eased by the acidity, balances that of the biscuits.
The alcohol and the tannicity balance their succulence (induced).


Dominio: information.

Even if this article has probably given a pretty good idea about the beauty and charm of the ‘Dominio’, it would certainly be much better to visit it in person.

To book a stay or a tour, please use these contacts:


Property of Borletti Family Marconi 63 – Bagnoli di Sopra
35023, Padova



Tel.: +39 049 5380008


Click here.

The images bearing the logo ‘webfoodculture’ are copyrighted.

The following images are public domain:

img-01 (*) – Pantalone, 1860, Paris, Michel Levy Freres (Wikipedia Link) {PD-US}
img-02 (*) – Portrait of Carlo Goldoni, 1750, Milano, Museo della Scala (Wikipedia Link) {PD-US}
img-03 (*) – Carlo Goldoni by A.Longhi, 1750 (Wikipedia Link) {PD-US}

The following images are published courtesy of:

crt-01 – Images published courtesy of Dominio di Bagnoli.

(*) The copyright of this image has expired.
(**) Image released in public domain by its author.