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Cividale: la storia

Origin of the name
Known in Roman times as Forum Iulii, tradition indicates it as founded by Julius Caesar: «Forum Iulii ita dictum, quod Iulius Caesar negotiationis forum ibi statuerat».
In the Lombard period, between the sixth and eighth centuries, it was called Civitas Fori Iulii. In the 10th century, being located in the eastern part of Lothair's reign, it began to be called Civitas Austriae. Shortening the official name, the population called it Civitate (m), from which the local names of Cividât, Zividât, Sividât and later, around the fifteenth century that of Cividal of Austria and finally, only from the war between Venice and the League Cambrai began to use the current name of Cividale del Friuli.

From the first inhabitants to the Celts
The human presence in the area where Cividale stands today dates back to quite ancient times, as evidenced by the prehistoric stations of the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods found just outside the city; to these are added abundant evidence of the Iron Age and of the Venetian and Celtic presence dating back to the 4th century BC.

Roman times
The strategic position of this primitive settlement led the Romans to settle there, perhaps founding already in the second century BC. a castrum, of obvious military nature, which was later elevated by Julius Caesar to forum (market) and for this reason the locality took the name of "Forum Iulii" which later became the identifier of the whole region. Subsequently the locality was elevated to municipium, being ascribed to the Roman tribe Scaptia and finally rose to the rank of capital of the Regio X Venetia et Histria when Attila razed Aquileia to the ground in the fifth century.

Lombard period
In 568 the Lombards, of Scandinavian origin, arrived from Pannonia, whose king Alboin immediately elected the Roman Forum Iulii as the capital of the first Lombard duchy in Italy and placing his nephew Gisulfo as duke. Renamed its capital Civitas Fori Iulii, the Lombards erected imposing and prestigious buildings there; in 610 Cividale was sacked and burned by the Avars, called by the Lombard king Agilulfo (then based in Milan) to punish the rebelliousness of the "Friulian" Duke Gisulfo II. In 737, during the reign of Liutprando and to escape the Byzantine incursions, the patriarch of Aquileia Callisto decided to transfer his seat here, as did the bishop of Zuglio who was expelled by Callisto himself. The city thus increased its role also thanks to this important ecclesiastical presence; a few decades later, in 796, the council was held here which reconfirmed the indissolubility of marriage.

The Holy Roman Empire and the Patriarchate of Aquileia
In 775 the Duchy of Friuli was invaded by the Carolingians and the Lombards, with their Duke Rotgaudo in the lead, took up arms for the last time facing the arrival of the Franks. Having defeated the ancient rulers, the Carolingians established the eastern brand of Friuli, keeping Civitas Austriæ as their capital. The latter became the seat of an important court, especially during the marquisate of Eberardo which attracted men of culture from all over Europe. In 825 the emperor Lothair I promulgated the capitular of Corteolona which constituted the imperial schools, in addition to Pavia capital of the Kingdom of Italy, Cividale also had a public school of law, rhetoric and liberal arts; all the students of the Marca del Friuli depended on the Cividale campus.

Important politicians were born from the families that ruled the brand, including the emperor Berengar, son of Eberardo himself. In the 10th century, i.e. in the Ottonian era, the Friulian brand was downgraded to a county (or contado) and inserted first in the Marca of Verona and then in that of Carinthia (the latter first forming part of the Duchy of Bavaria and then rising itself to Ducato). The recomposition of central European and northern Italian powers left an important space to the patriarchs, who increased their possessions and power from the beginning of the 10th century and in 1077 became free feudal lords of the Holy Roman Empire over a vast territory. Thus arose the patriarchal state which lasted until 1419.

However, Cividale remained the greatest political and commercial center of the whole Friuli, rivaling from the thirteenth century with Udine, which was in strong growth thanks to a more congenial geographical position, so much so that the patriarch Bertoldo of Andechs-Merania in 1238 transferred his own site. The city saw the rise of monasteries and convents, palaces and towers, the most important parliamentary houses of Friuli settled here and equally dignified ones flourished. In that same period, Cividale was the protagonist of the Friulian infighting, during which the city was often an ally of the counts of Gorizia and the noble castellans against Udine: one of the most striking moments took place in 1350 when in Cividale it was ordered together with some castellans the assassination of the patriarch Bertrand of San Genesio. After that

the latter's successor, Nicolò of Luxembourg, carried out a bloody repression, in 1353 the emperor Charles IV granted Cividale the opening of the University. In that same century, Cividale was also the scene of various disputes between city and castle families.

The Friulian infighting gradually found a more intense intensity until it ended convulsively in 1419, when Venice decided to invade the region. Cividale was the first to give itself to the Serenissima, stipulating a solemn peace and a contextual alliance. In the following decades, some nobles planned to open the doors to the ousted patriarch Ludwig of Teck, who had returned in 1431 at the head of 4,000 Hungarians, but the project failed.

From the Venetian domination to the Kingdom of Italy
Equestrian monument of Marcantonio di Manzano, a Cividale leader, belonging to the noble family of the di Manzano, who died heroically in 1617 during the siege of Gradisca.
After almost thirty years averted the danger of the Turks, who also carried out raids and violence in these areas until 1499, in the early sixteenth century war broke out between Venice and the League of Cambrai and the Empire tried to occupy the city by besieging it with armies. of Duke Henry VII of Brunswick in 1509, but after an epic struggle the Cividaleis managed to make the Alemannic army desist. The latter, however, still managed to occupy Cividale two years later, but only for a few weeks, having to leave the city also due to an earthquake and a plague. Around 1530 the city lost the gastaldia of Tolmino and the annexed mercury mines of Idria: this decreed an inexorable economic decline as well as a geographical marginalization and later roads from which it never had the opportunity to recover. More than once an attempt was made to bring the seat of the patriarchate of Aquileia back to Cividale but in vain, with the exception of Nicolò Donà in 1497.

In 1553 Cividale had established its own ordinary administrator from Venice, chosen by the Senate from among the Venetian patriciate, and in 1559 its autonomy and its territory was finally sanctioned by the homeland of Friuli, thus freeing itself from the invisa Udine. A dramatic plague epidemic developed between 1598 and 1599. Between the end of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth century, Cividale was the scene of a long feud that involved almost all the local noble families, creating many headaches for the Venetian rectors. In the same period, some Cividale people distinguished themselves with arms not only during the war of Gradisca (1615-1617), obviously also fought in this territory, but also in various armies of Europe. Despite the drastic political and economic downsizing, many men of culture were born here, sometimes of international importance, as well as important men of arms and of the church and never ceased to embellish the palaces and churches using famous names such as Palladio , Palma il Giovane and so on.

In 1797 with the treaty of Campoformido between Napoleon and Austria Cividale passed to the Habsburg Empire; after the brief period in which it was part of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy (1805-1813), it was reassigned to Austria by the Congress of Vienna (1815). Between 1848 and 1866 there was the presence of a lively Risorgimento movement; in 1866, after the third war of independence, it was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy with Veneto and Friuli and in the period known as the Belle Époque it was the scene of an effervescent political activity.

The two world wars
During the First World War, Cividale hosted the command of the II Army and was damaged by aerial bombardments; occupied by the Austro-Germans following the defeat of Caporetto, the city was reconquered by the Italians at the end of October 1918 after the victory on the Piave. In the following years it was the harbinger of illustrious personalities given to Fascism. During the Second World War (1943) the city was annexed with all of Friuli to the III Reich and Cossack and Kalmyk troops allied with the Germans were also deployed here.

On its territory not only the civil war took place but also a dramatic episode of struggle between Osovan and Garibaldi partisans (communists and socialists, under the orders of the IX Korpus Yugoslav): in the Bosco Romagno the communist Gappists killed several Osovani fighters (including his brother by PierPaolo Pasolini) previously captured at the huts of Porzûs. There were several episodes of clash between Osovani and pro-Titini Garibaldini. An ambiguous situation, since the Yugoslavs never hid their desire to annex the Italian territories up to the Tagliamento, by virtue of an unfounded belief that Friuli was once inhabited by Slovenes. This caused a clear contrast between Osovani and Garibaldini.

After World War II
Cividale was the headquarters of the command and of some departments of the mechanized "Isonzo" Brigade, placed to defend the eastern border in case of invasion

by the Warsaw Pact, where some members of the Arrest Infantry kept various defensive works, including the Purgessimo Gallery. The particular position in this historical and geopolitical context led to the presence in the area of the Gladio Organization, - the national articulation of NATO's Stay Behind - which mainly joined Alpini and former Alpini trained to organize an armed resistance on the territory in case of Soviet invasion.

The earthquake of 1976
The city and the area suffered some damage in the 1976 earthquake, but the wounds were soon healed.

UNESCO heritage
In 2011 the ducal city became a Unesco heritage as part of the candidacy "The Lombards in Italy: places of power (568-774)",

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