In During Middle Ages, in Friuli Venezia Giulia there were many castles, more than in any other parts of pre-Alpine area. Thanks to the geographic position, during Roman Age these territories had an important strategic role; this is why many castles and fortresses were built. Romans built a strong system of fortresses, later used by Longobards to defend the Dukedom of Cividale.

Other castles were built by Saxon emperors to defend the territory against the invasions by Hungarian people (899-952 a.C). These new castles were built and protected by families of Germanic origin that later will be the core of feudalism in Friuli. Other fortresses were built during the period of Patriarchs of Aquileia (1077-1420). At the same time, populations built their fortifications, too (Venzone, Gemona, Udine, Cividale, Monfalcone, Trieste, Muggia). During the domination by Venice (1420-1797) only one fortress was built, Palmanova.

Many of these buildings are still in good conditions; there are also remains of many others and some were included in new building.

These fortresses have different positions: some castles are on the top of hills; others on rocks over the sea; some of them are in the centre of the town, surrounded by waters or in parks. They also have different styles, but they are all worth a visit.

Many castles are still private, while others are of Italian state, regional or of the municipality. Some of them are still inhabited, or were transformed in restaurants, hotels, museums, agritourisms; others are abandoned.

To protect and to maintain these monuments, in 1968 a new body was founded, "Consorzio per la Salvaguardia dei Castelli Storici del FVG". Almost all the owners of the castles entered this body that also organizes guided tours.

The new castle of Duino is famous because the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote his famous poems Duino Elegies. This castle was first mentioned in 1363. A more ancient castle in the area was mentioned by Plinius the Old. This castle is still inhabited by heirs of princes of Torre e Tasso.

In Colloredo di Monte Albano the castle was built in XIV century and it is a typical residential castle. It was decorated with frescoes by Giovanni da Udine; Ippolito Nievo lived here and wrote in this castle his famous novel Confessions of an Italian. It was deeply damaged by an earthquake in 1976 and was only partly rebuilt.

In Ragogna recently a castle with small church of XI century was rebuilt. In Rive d’Arcano, the Middle Ages castle still preserves the towers. In Villalta (Fagagna) there is a fortress that still preserves the original structure with towers and walls.

In Cassacco there is a castle already mentioned in 1202. It was owned by Lords of Montegnacco and Savorgnan. The ancient structure is almost still unaltered. It is one of the most beautiful examples of the region. In Spilimbergo (famous for its school of mosaics) there are several interesting buildings, for example the palace painted by Andrea Bellunello between 1469 and 1475.

In Val d’Arzino there is a beautiful villa built by Count Giacomo Ceconi, surrounded by a forest of 1200 hectares. It was built at the end of 1800 in "Ghibelline" style and has interesting frescoes on the outside walls. It was recently restructured.