Just north of Pordenone, at the feet of the Carnic Prealps, is Vivaro, the ancient Vivarium, a Roman stronghold and place of hunting and fishing for legionnaires in their well-deserved rest after the wars. The ancient village has the peculiarity of being in the Magredi, a toponyms of clear Celtic origin which indicates a vast alluvial plain (magus) located at the feet of the mountains and furrowed by the rivers (ritus) Cellina, Meduna and Colvera. The Magredi (Magus ritus: the land between the rivers) is a Natural Park of about 300 square kilometers.
If we wanted to draw the profile of the Magredi with a brush, made of grass, sand and stones, we could think of a large white "V" that stands out in the green territory of Friuli Venezia Giulia.
Wherever you come from, to get to Vivaro you have to cross the fords generated by one of the above mentioned rivers (or better, streams), that for most of the year are without running water. The easy crossing of these fords made of Vivaro and the Magredi an obligatory destination for all the populations that visited/invaded Friuli.
Along the Pinzana road from Austria several cultures and people came along:
- the Celts, worshipers of the god Belene, great hunters and beer drinkers
- the Romans, conquerors of the world who let themselves be conquered by the charm of the Magredi so as to build a splendid rustic villa
- the Barbarians, fascinated by Italy, left the seeds of the Crambe Tataria (a cruciferous that grows spontaneously only in the Magredi and in the Hungarian Puzta) in perennial memory of their raids. In Vivaro there is still a place called Paganis and there is the custom of calling an overly exuberant young man with the name of Attila
- the Knights Templar, who chose San Quirino to build the most important mansion in the North East of Italy
- the soldiers of the Patriarchs of Aquileia, who destroyed the villas of Basaldella and Tesis
- the Turks, who in 1499 burned all the villages of the Magredi
- the armies of Napoleon Bonaparte, who watered his horse at the source of the old mill
- the Austro Hungarians, who trained cavalry along the banks of rivers and left us with a nostalgic memory of good governance
- the Germans, in the terrible two World Wars, whose memory still make your hair stand on end
- and finally the Italians, who nowadays have fun running around with off-road vehicles and tanks in the green prairies of the Magredi, spoling this extraordinary gift of nature
Unfortunately, little is known of the times before the year 1000 and it is necessary to go to the 10th century to find Vivaro mentioned, when in 976 the emperor Ottone II donated to the Patriarch of Aquileia the "parish of Maniago" on which Vivaro depended.
In 872 the Vivaresi had built a church inside the ancient "curtain". The curtain was a kind of fortress surrounded by a ditch with water and inside this fortress we find houses, warehouses, weapons and a drawbridge that allowed isolation during the passage of frequent invasions.
The origins of the hamlets of Basaldella (small church) and Tesis (tense for the fowling) are not different. These are communities born and developed along the same route as the fords.
The current parish church of Santa Maria Assunta of Vivaro, an elegant and imposing neoclassical building, dates back to 1810. The church of Basaldella, with apse and presbytery dating back to 1495 and the nave to 1772, shows two beautiful altarpieces by Gaspare Nervesa, a painter from 1600. In Tesis (or Thesis, as in ancient documents) the church was built between the late 1700s and early 1800s and shows a valuable baptismal font and a beautiful holy water stoup from 1529.
Interesting from the historical point of view, is the "Mulin de la Miuta", the mill on the Roggia (irrigation ditch) of Vivaro , once belonging to the counts of Attimis Maniago that, dating back to 1341, boasts therefore 700 years of history. Perfectly restored, it is a true paradise for children where they can play with preserved machinery and have fun grinding wheat.
Moreover in Vivaro we find the "Lataria" (dairy), a typical example of exposed stone construction squared by the stonemasons, and the Antiquarium, which is currently the richest collection of Roman material in the province. The findings showed that agriculture, livestock, crafts and commerce were practiced much more intensely than what the current isolation of these countries would suggest, closed between the vast rocks of Cellina and Meduna ("grave") .
In this delicate ecosystem, comparable only to the Russian steppe, there are many activities that are offered to children all year round to bring them closer to nature and make them grow aware of their surroundings. The heart of this uninterrupted training process is the "Osservatorio dei Magredi" (observatory), a child-friendly facility inaugurated in 2009 in which children can admire the area and participate in workshops and special events.
The stones of our streams were the characterizing element of the local houses. The old buildings were built in natural or squared stone according to the economic availability of the moment. The stone buildings show a great coherence with the surrounding area. Nowadays, new generations understand the cultural value of the stone and try to bring it back to light on ancient walls.
Vivaro is also known as territory of the "agane". The legend tells that, a long time ago, a poor woman with many children to grow up met a salamander on the bank of a stream and helped her give birth. The salamander, in reality, was an "agana", a mythical creature that lives around the streams of water and in the caves. As a sign of gratitude, she gave the woman a ball of wool whose thread never ended. With that, the woman made clothes for her children and then donated it to other women in order to help their loved ones. The ball passed from hand to hand and it is said that still today it continues to be donated and to bring joy and sense of sharing.
Every year at San Giovanni day (24th June), in the Magredi fields, the ritual of the agane takes place with Celtic songs and dances.
The Angelo Cesaratto Musical Band of Vivaro was founded in 1904. The Band is flanked by the music school and, in recent years, by the youth musical group formed by the students and directed by the teacher Andrea Comoretto.
The Band actively participates in the social life of the municipality of Vivaro, accompanying the various civil and religious events during the year. There are also traditional concerts: the Christmas Concert and the San Giovanni Concert which takes place in June. The Youth Musical Group also performs at these concerts.
If that's not enough for you, check-out our suggested visits!