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Carnia (Cjargne in standard Friulian, Cjargna/Cjargno in local variants of Friulian, Ciargna in Veneto, Karnien in German) is a historical-geographic region of Friulimarker, whose municipalities all belong to the province of Udine, which is part of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region.
It covers the western and central part of the Carnic Alpsmarker mountain range in the Province of Udine, therefore it borders Veneto and Austriamarker (Carinthiamarker), but not Sloveniamarker. The main town is Tolmezzomarker.

Italian is the official language. Nevertheless Friulian, a Rhaeto-Romance language, is widely spoken. The German Austro-Bavarian dialect is spoken in the linguistic enclaves of Saurismarker, Paluzzamarker-Timau and Sappadamarker.

Flag of Carnia


It is located in the Carnic Alpsmarker; it is bounded to the north by Austriamarker, to the south the province of Pordenonemarker, to the west Veneto, and to the east Canal del Ferro-Valcanale (Ferro-Valcanale outfall), which also are part of the province of Udine.

The valleys

Carnia is formed of seven valleys, each of them is run through by a stream from which the valleys take their name (except for Valcalda). Each of these valleys is usually referred to as a canale (in Italian) / cjanâl (in Friulian), i.e. an outfall, to emphasize its long and narrow shape:

  • Bût valley, Val Bût or Canale di San Pietro (in Friulian: Cjanâl di Sant Pieri)
  • Degano valley, Val Degano or Canale di Gorto (in Friulian: Cjanâl di Guart)
  • Lumiei valley, Val Lumiei (Valade dal Lumiei)
  • Tagliamento valley, Val Tagliamento (in Friulian: Cjanâl di Soclêf or Petecarie)
  • Pesarina valley, Val Pesarina (in Friulian: Cjanâl Pedarç)
  • Chiarsò valley, Val Chiarsò or Canale di Incaroio (in Friulian: Cjanâl di Incjaroi)
  • Valcalda valley, Valcalda (in Friulian: Valcjalde or Cjanâl di Monai)

Each of these valleys and their homonymous streams meet in a common valley floor where the main centre of Carnia is located: Tolmezzomarker

The municipalities

The following are the 28 municipalities of Carnia (next to the Italian name, the Friulian one is quoted):

Comune Inhabitants (2006) Area (km²) Administrative Subdivisions
Amaro (Damâr) 811 33.26 -
Ampezzomarker (Dimpeç) 1,089 73.61 Oltris, Voltois
Arta Termemarker (Darte) 2,287 52.24 Avosacco, Cabiamarker, Cedarchis, Lovea, Piano d'Arta, Piedim, Rivalpo, Valle
Cavazzo Carnicomarker (Cjavaç) 1,108 38.69 Cesclans, Mena, Somplago
Cerciventomarker (Çurçuvint) 748 15.36 Cercivento di Sotto, Cercivento di Sopra
Comegliansmarker (Comelians, loc. Comalians) 603 19.52 Calgaretto, Maranzanis, Mieli, Noiaretto, Povolaro, Runchia, Tualis
Enemonzomarker (Denemonç) 1,389 23.70 Colza, Esemon di Sotto, Fresis, Maiaso, Quinis, Tartinis
Forni Avoltrimarker (For di Avoltri, loc. Fôr Davuatri) 681 80.71 Collina, Collinetta, Frassenetto, Sigilletto
Forni di Sopramarker (Fôr Disore) 1,087 81.16 Andrazza, Cella, Vico
Forni di Sottomarker (Fôr Disot) 701 93.54 Tredolo, Baselia, Vico
Laucomarker (Lauc) 819 34.58 Allegnidis, Avaglio, Buttea, Chiassis, Trava, Vinaio
Ligosullomarker (Liussûl) 195 16.75 Murzalis
Ovaromarker (Davâr) 2,126 57.88 Agrons, Cella, Chialina, Clavais, Cludinico, Entrampo, Lenzone, Liariis, Luincis, Luint, Mione, Muina, Ovasta
Paluzzamarker (Paluce) 2,494 69.96 Casteons, Cleulis, Rivo, Timau
Paularomarker (Paulâr) 2,855 84.23 Casaso, Chiaulis, Dierico, Misincinis, Ravinis, Rio, Salino, Trelli, Villafuori, Villamezzo
Prato Carnicomarker (Prât) 1,007 81.48 Avausa, Croce, Osais, Pesariis, Pieria, Pradumbli, Prico, Sostasio, Truia
Preonemarker (Preon) 297 22.51 -
Ravasclettomarker (Ravasclêt, locally Monai) 596 26.32 Salars, Zovello
Raveomarker (Raviei) 480 12.63 Esemon di Sopra
Rigolatomarker (Rigulât) 579 30.47 Givigliana, Gracco, Ludaria, Magnanins, Stalis, Tors, Valpicetto, Vuezzis
Saurismarker (Zahre, in the local germanic dialect) 427 41.52 La Màina, Latéis, Sàuris di Sotto, Sàuris di Sopra, Velt
Socchievemarker (Soclêf) 950 65.95 Caprizzi, Dilignìdis, Feltrone, Lungis, Mediis, Nonta, Priuso, Viaso
Sutriomarker (Sudri) 1,393 21.06 Nojaris, Priola
Treppo Carnicomarker (Trep) 653 18.71 Gleris, Siaio, Tausia, Zenodis
Verzegnismarker (loc. Verzegnas) 924 38.80 Chiaicis, Chiaulis, Intissans, Villa
Villa Santinamarker (Vile) 2,234 13.00 Invillino
Zugliomarker (Zui) 633 8.31 Fielis, Formeaso, Sezza
Tolmezzomarker (Tumieç) 10,539 65.69 Cadunea, Caneva, Casanova, Cazzaso, Fusea, Illegio, Imponzo, Terzo
Totale 39,705 1,221.64 124

It is actually dutiful to add to the ones above the municipality of Sappadamarker (Sapade, Plodn in the local German dialect), which is now part of the province of Bellunomarker, and the village Alesso (Dalès) part of the municipality of Trasaghismarker.

The mountains

The mountains are composed by different geologic belts. They are made of three different types of rock: limestone, dolostone and fint-stone.

Carnia is spanned by the Carnic Alpsmarker, which extend from Passo di Monte Croce di Comelico to sella di Camporosso, where Alpi Giuliemarker begin and rise (on the Italian side) between Fella and the upper Isonzo rivers.

The north side of the carnic ridge sets up the boundary with Austriamarker; on the south it is delimited by the stream Pontebbana, and, on the upper side of Pontebbamarker, by the flow of the Fella.

Mount Cogliansmarker (m. 2780) is the highest peak of Carnic Alps. Together with the cluster of Creta delle Cjanevate if forms an impressive horst at the Austrian boundary. Other main peaks of Carnia are:

The rivers

The most important river is named Tagliamentomarker, which springs nearby Mauria Pass (in the municipality of Calalzo) at an altitude of 1,195 meters. Along its long way throughout Carnia, the Tagliamento river riceives water from 6 tributaries, all coming from left with respect to it: the Bût, the Degano, the Lumiei, the Pesarina, the Chiarsò, and the Monai, which name the valleys they lie in.


Forests are large and mostly composed of firs, beeches, and larches. Pastures are located mainly at high altitudes, in sunny slopes, which are not suited for agriculture though.

Carnia can boast many natural beauties thanks to the absence of big industrial centres and to the effective protection by ecologist public agencies and organizations.

In Carnia grow 2,000 vegetable species, about a thousand types of mushroms, and some fifty types of orchids.

Vegetation changes as the height of the environment raises. Up to the height of 400 - 500 meters stand durmast and chestnut woods and some submontane cultivation zones but very soon they are replaced by the mountain flora, typical of the forests: beechwood, fir-wood, and pine-wood. Above 1,500 metres the arboreous vegetations becomes rather poor, trees become more and more sparse, small and bare up to the altimetrical limit of tree growth, which in Carnia stands at 1,700 metres - the lowest in the alpine region. Further on only bushes and emerald-green pastures can be found.

In late springs on the pastures a colour explosion of wild azaleas andgentians can be admired.

The climate

The climate is severe, very hard in winter and cool in summer. It is characterized by violent winds and showers of rain. With respect to the other zones of the Alps, in Carnia lower altimetrical limits of about 400-500 metres can be observed. For example while in the Western Alps the vegetation stops from growing above 2,300 metres, in Carnia it stops already at 1,900 metres. This lowering of the arboreal altimetrical limit is due to the thermal inversion, caused by the constant flow of cold winds coming from the north-east ("burano" wind), which reaches the region from the siberian and danubian districts.

Protected Areas

In Carnia the following areas have been declared as protected:

  • Natural Park of Dolomiti (Parco naturale delle Dolomiti Friulane), located in Forni di Sopramarker

  • Intermunicipal Park of Carnic Hills (Parco intercomunale delle Colline Carniche), located in Villa Santinamarker


This region was initially populated by Carnics, a Celtic people, from whom its name comes.

The Carnics lived for centuries in the fertile plains between the Rhine and the Danube where other Celtic peoles lived.

Starting from 400 B.C., the demographic growth and the pressure of the Germanic people, originated a migratory flood towards the south.The Carnics crossed the Alps through the Mount Croce Carnico pass and settled in the region which is nowadays named Carnia and in the piedmont zone of Friuli. They practiced hunting and sheep-farming. During the hard winters the shepherds used to move with their cattle down to the piedmont plains. Also they were skillful iron and wood manufacturers.

The Carnics were headed by a king and a sacerdotal caste (made of druids).

The first historical date related to the arrival of the Carnics is 186 B.C., when some 50,000 Carnics, composed of armed men, women and children descended towards the plains (in which they previously used to winter) and on a hill they founded a stable defensive settlement, Akileja.

The Romans, concerned by the expansion of this peole, in 183 B.C. forced back the Carnics to the mountains, they destroyed their settlement and they founded a defensive settlement at the north-east boundaries.The new settlement was named Aquileiamarker, after the former Celtic name Akileja.The triumvirs that founded that settlement were Publius Scipio Nasica, Caius Flaminius and Lucius Manlius Acidinus.

In order to stem the Roman expansion and to acquire the fertile and more hospitable plains, the Carnics tried to form alliances with the Istrian, the Gaepidae, and the Taurisci Celts.

As Rome, in turn, was more and more becoming awere of the impending danger coming from the Carnics and as it wanted to accelerate its own expansion, it sended to the north-east the legions of consul Marcus Emilius Scaurus, who finally defeated the Carnics in the battle of 15th November 115 B.C..

Later on, the Carnics, characterized by a docile temper and who had been defeated in battle, submitted to Rome, accepting its commands and its concessions.

In the course of the following centuries, the Carnic and Roman customs and blood would get mixed and this union of two deeply different cultures would slowly give rise to a new people, the Aquileiese or Friulan People.The mixing of the two languages would give rise to the Friulian language.

In the mean time Aquileia enlarged its importance. It became a Municipium Romanum in 90 B.C.; it was an important commercial and hand-craft production centre. Also it was the main port on the Adriaticmarker sea and a garrison settlemnent.

Photographic Gallery

Image:Lago volaia.jpg|Volaia LakeImage:Forni_Avoltri_1x500.jpg|Forni Avoltrimarker ViewImage:Monte Coglians visto dal monte Zoncolan.jpg|Mount CogliansmarkerImage:Peralba.JPG|Mount PeralbaImage:CLAVAIS.jpg|The little village of ClavaisImage:Bivare.jpg|Mount Bìvera nearby Saurismarker

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