In Colli Orientali del Friuli, the fascinating "doorless" museum is a tribute to the patriarch of Italian winemaking Livio Felluga based on an idea by the architect Yona Friedman, that overlooks one of the most beautiful panoramic routes of the area, that from its oldest vineyards, leads up to the Abbey of Rosazzo.
The Vigne Museum, one of its kind in Italy, is a project conceived by the great architect Yona Friedman, with the collaboration of artist Jean-Baptiste Decavele, at the invitation of the Livio Felluga family and thanks to the collaboration of RAM radioartemobile and Giovanna Felluga, co-founder of AtemporaryStudio and current artistic director of the project.
On these hills, in the 1950s, Livio Felluga, one of the founding “fathers” of the Colli Orientali area and symbol of Rosazzo’s wine production with the winery that bears his name, bought the first vineyards, driven by the dream, which has now become reality, to devote himself to the care of those of the nearby Abbey.
It is a museum without doors, which can be visited both from the outside and from the inside. Starting from there, you can have an infinite number of points of view on everything you want to look at.
It, therefore, seemed natural, on the occasion of Livio Felluga’s 100th birthday in 2014, to celebrate this milestone starting right from the small hill where the entrepreneur used to sit to observe “his” lands and think about new wines and projects. With the idea of ”creating for eternity”, the project was entrusted, leaving him complete creative freedom, to Yona Friedman, who passed away in 2020, an architect and one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. His intersectoral research based on the freedom of the individual and on the responsible use of the environment in relation to the rules of life of local communities earned him, during his long career, a Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale and important works exhibited at the MoMA in New York, at the Center Pompidou in Paris and at the Getty Institute in Los Angeles.
For the Felluga family project, Friedman conceived an original Architecture Without Building, designed through the technique of improvisation (easily guessed from the sketch visible in the photo gallery). One hundred vine plants have been planted on the giant metal circles, on average 2 meters in diameter, that compose it, which, as they grow, will cover the structure, becoming a work of natural art in continuous evolution.
In order to promote the spirit of the project – also through an interdisciplinary program involving events in which art and culture meet with the scientific world, on issues related to the landscape and the relationship between man and nature – the Vigne Museum Cultural Association was founded, today chaired by Elda Felluga, daughter of Livio and ambassador of the culture and beauty of Colli Orientali. (for the current program see the social pages of the Vigne Museum).
After admiring the view from this privileged corner of Friuli Venezia Giulia (you can park along the road before going up the hill), proceed by foot (a walk of about 15 minutes) or by car towards the Abbey of Rosazzo, visible on the horizon from the Museum. Here is born Abbazia di Rosazzo, one of the most loved wines of Livio Felluga based on Friulano, Sauvignon, Pinot Bianco, Malvasia Istriana and Ribolla Gialla and obtained from the historic vineyards of the monastic complex.
The Cantina Livio Felluga, located not far away, has the concession, in addition to the vineyards, to the historic cellar of the Abbey, the oldest in Friuli Venezia Giulia. Although its origins are still controversial, probably dating back to the nineteenth century when the hermit Alemanno moved to these solitary places, it is certain that already at the end of 1200 the Benedictine monks from Carinthia brought here the cultivation of vines and olive trees, starting the renowned wine history of these areas.
Always open on visiting hours, at the Abbey you can freely visit the cloister from which you access a wonderful terrace with a unique view that sweeps east from Slovenia to the Gulf of Trieste and from Aquileia up to the Adriatic sea.
From here, going down to the Belvedere, you can walk the beautiful Sentiero delle Rose, which winds along the perimeter of the Abbey, and admire the numerous specimens of ancient roses to which the annual Rosazzo da Rosa event is dedicated. The historic aging cellar, used by Benedictine monks for the refinement of wines and for the conservation of oil, can be visited by appointment.
And if you want to continue your journey with a culinary stop, you can stop at the renowned Locanda Orologio in Brazzano where you can taste all the wines of the area, first of all, of course, Abbazia di Rosazzo.
Some of the greatest Friulian grapes were born in Rosazzo such as Ribolla Gialla, Picolit and Pignolo. In 1500 the Ribolla Gialla di Rosazzo was, in fact, one of the favorite wines of the Doge of Venice, so much so that the production of this wine was reserved for him.