<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Itinerario 4


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  Itinerary 4: votive churches route (by mountain bike)  

This is a panoramically beautiful itinerary in the Erbezzo/Arbeč valley with a visit to a few of the most spectacular votive churches of the Natisone/ Nediža Valleys.

Description of the route
From the sports field of Merso di Sopra/Gorenja Miersa up to Castelmonte/Stara Gora via the dirt road. From here along the provincial road to Tribil Superiore/ Gorenj Tarbij. Then along the ridge on the right-hand side bank of the Erbezzo/Arbeč up to Cravero/Kravar, to then return to Merso di Sopra/Gorenja Miersa.

The total length of the route is approximately 36km. Here are the kilometres for each section:
Merso di Sopra/Gorenja Miersa-Castelmonte/Stara Gora 8km;
Castelmonte/StaraGora-Tribil Superiore/Gorenj Tarbij 14km;
Tribil Superiore/Gorenj Tarbij-Cravero/
Kravar approximately 7km; Cravero/Kravar-Merso di
Sopra/Gorenja Miersa 6.5km.

Approximately 550 metres. Altimetry: Merso di Sopra/Gorenja Miersa, 168m; Castelmonte/Stara Gora 618m;
Mount S. Giovanni/Sv. Ivan 702m;
Tribil Superiore/Gorenj Tarbij, 642m; Cravero/ Kravar 480m.

Level of dificulty:

Park cars near the sports field of Merso di Sopra/ Gorenja Miersa and take the dirt road that lies near the course of the Cosizza/Kozca stream towards the valley. Leaving the bridge to the right, which takes you to Cemur/Čemur, on the left there are two dirt roads that climb up towards Castelmonte/ Stara Gora. The first road leads to the abandoned village of Picon/Pikon, the second leads (after approximately 600 metres) to the church of San Silvestro/Sv. Silvester (Saint Sylvester) and from here up to the tarmac road Cividale/Čedad– Castelmonte/Stara Gora (approximately 5.5km).



ART Founded in 1498 by the inhabitants of Merso di Sotto/Dolenja Miersa, the church of S. Silvestro/ Sv. Silvester is very isolated, surrounded

by a thick wood and it is considered as one of the most attractive places of the base of the Cosizza/Kozca stream valley.



Turn left onto the tarmac road. Having almost arrived at Castelmonte/Stara Gora, on the left a dirt road leads (which is Sentiero Italia, here marked with the red and white Cai trail sign n°748), in less than 1km, to the church of the Tre Re/Sv. Trije Kraji (Three Kings). Intersection with itinerary n° 3 (see page 33).

ART On the main altar of the Tre Re/Sv. Three Kings church, there is an 18th century painting of the Adoration of the Magi, by Osvaldo Gortanutti
from Carnia.

Shortly afterwards there is the Marian sanctuary of Castelmonte (see description on page 24) with a splendid view of the Friulian plain.
Intersection with itineraries n° 2 (see page 24) and n°3 (page 33). Continue along the tourist road Castelmonte- Drenchia. With short deviations on the right, it is possible to reach the posts of the First World War on Mount Špik (see page 25) and the church of S. Nicolò/Sv. Miklav¡ (Saint Nicholas) (see page 26).
After approximately 1.5km from the church of S. Nicolò/Sv, Miklav¡, Sentiero Italia (with the red and white Cai trail sign n°747 and a little after also a dirt road which is not marked) turns right and goes into the woods to the beautiful Church of San Giovanni Battista/Sv. Ivan (Saint John the Baptist), positioned on top of Tribil Inferiore/Dolenj Tarbij.
  Probably built in the 16th century and embellished with the addition of a short squared bell tower in stone block built around the 18th ART

century, the church of S. Giovanni Battista (Saint John the Baptist) is on top of the hill, from which there is a beautiful 360° panorama overlooking all of the Natisone valleys and the Slovenian Collio.Battista è posta proprio

Going back on your tracks, or continuing along Sentiero Italia, you return to the tarmac road and continue to Tribil Superiore/Gorenj Tarbij.
Intersection with itinerary n° 2 (page 28), itinerary n° 3 (page 37) and itinerary n° 5 (page 48).

.Along the road near Varch/Varh (see page 28) and on top of Tribil Superiore/Gorenj Tarbij (see page 28) it is possible to visit the remains

of the trenches of the First World War.

Having Reached the cemetery turn left towards Oblizza/Oblica (3km), Raune/Ravne (a further 1.5km). After approximately 750m turn right towards Cravero/Kravar (again approximately 1.5km) where there are the beautiful churches of S. Lucia (Saint Lucy) and S. Andrea (Saint Andrew).

The church of S. Lucia (Saint Lucy) was built in 1454, but it was restored after the disastrous earthquake at the beginning of the 1500s.
The ceiling of the apse was completely frescoed by the painter Jernej from Škofja Loka. Also Worth noting is the 18th century golden altar by the master Luka Šarf which is rich with decorations; he is also author of the golden altar of the nearby church of S. Andrea/Sv. Štandrež (Saint Andrew).

Descend along the ridge of Mount S. Andrea/Sv. Štandrež and get to Merso Superiore /Gorenja Miersa where you can visit the church of S. Antonio Abate (Saint Anthony Abbot).

Founded in 1444 the church of S. Antonio Abate (Saint Anthony Abbot) has a great historical importance because, under the lime trees that
surround it, the Bank of Merso would meet, organ of administrative and judicial self-government (a sort of parliamentary assembly elected by the heads of families) of the Natisone valleys from the end of the 14th century until the fall of the Republic of Venice at the end of the 18th century. The main Natisone River valley instead referred to the similar Bank of Antro. These two Banks would periodically reunite in Slavia’s big meeting place. The last Sunday of June there is a historical reenactment of this at S. Pietro al Natisone/Špietar. The façade of S. Antonio Abate (Saint Anthony Abbot) still has the original twin lancet window on the bell tower made out of carved stone. Inside there is a marble altar and three statues probably created by an artist from the school of Gemona towards the end of the 18th Century.

Return to the sports field of Merso di Sopra/ Gorenja Miersa.