The border bike route, this is how I titled this page for a number of reasons: today this bike route is entirely within the European Union, but along the border between Italy and Slovenia; next, it is a route that explores the old boundary of the Serenissima [the Venetian Republic] including the fortified city of Palmanova, crossing into territories that for centuries were under Hapsburg rule; and finally, the last segment of the bike route follows the alignment of the former Iron Curtain, which after World War II separated Italy from Yugoslavia, and similarly, for many years divided the city of Gorizia in half, much like a tiny Berlin.
Place of departure is the train station at San Giorgio di Nogaro on the Venezia-Trieste line; exit the station to the right [east], use the underpass below the railroad tracks, and you will come to the street for Cornia [Via Marittima], which you need to cross to go through the village of Villanova; then continue to Torviscosa, an unusual example of a residential village constructed as an adjunct to an industrial complex.
Once you have gone past Torviscosa turn left, cross over the railroad tracks, cross the statale [state highway], and continue for a long straight segment as far as Bagnaria Arsa; once outside this village the fork to the left takes you to Palmanova, after crossing the autostrada [expressway]. To visit Palmanova approach the town by way of the south gate.
At Palmanova you could also take the unpaved road that follows around the city walls, or head towards the center to the large hexagonal piazza that marks the center of town.
After Palmanova the bike route can coincide with the one that starts from Codroipo. Alternatively, we will describe here a route that, with some unpaved sections, goes to Gorizia by way of Slovenia, following the border bike route.
Leave Palmanova by the Porta Cividale [Northeast gate]; go directly to the village of Ialmicco; from the center of the village turn right towards Piazza Vittoria and from here take the street on the left, towards San Vito al Torre, which almost immediately becomes unpaved. But the base, with a bit of gravel, is good enough; after traveling through farm fields you will find yourself at the village of San Vito al Torre where we return to a paved road.
At San Vito turn right to reach Statale 252 towards Gorizia [east]; the highway, at least on Sundays, is relatively peaceful; this road will take you to the village of Romans d’Isonzo; from here take Statale 352 which after crossing over yet another autostrada assumes the name Via Roma; immediately after on the right you will find Via Papalina which takes you directly to Piazza Unità which marks the center of Gradisca d’Isonzo, a lovely town on the river, which was an arena of battle during the First World War.
From the piazza take Via del San Michele which takes you over the Isonzo by way of a lightly-used metal bridge; after crossing the river turn left onto Via IV Novembre following the signs for Gorizia. This road, which is relatively light with traffic, keeps the Isonzo on the left and the hills of Monte San Michele on the right. After the hills various roads take you to the border. A first opportunity is to turn towards Rubbia and Peci, join up with the heavily trafficked Statale 55, which connects Trieste with Gorizia, follow this road for a few hundred meters/yards and then turn right towards Miren. Here you will go past the former Italy/Slovenia border post and find to the left a road towards Gorizia/Nova Gorica.
After a few meters/yards an arrow on the left indicates the start of the bike path along the border. The road is unpaved and runs through fields up to a small clearing around a guard tower of the former Iron Curtain. A placard in four languages relates the history of the border from 1947 when the new Italian-Yugoslavian border was put into force up to 2004 when Slovenia entered the European Union.
After the unpaved road you get back on to a regular road but acceptably quiet and you will arrive at Sempeter pri Gorici (San Pietro di Gorizia), where at a large piazzale, a ramp leads to the bike path which runs between the railroad tracks and the border with Italy. The bike path ends just before the Transalpina train station. The piazzale is divided in two by the border and for decades symbolized the division of Gorizia, sort of like a small Brandenburg Gate. Today, where the barbed wire fence used to be, there is a round plaza with a commemorative inscription in the center, allowing free passage of pedestrians and cyclists.
The Gorizia Transalpina train station is operated by Slovenian Railways and is not connected to the Italian railway network. To return to Italy it is necessary to go to the Italian train station of Gorizia, about 3 km/2 miles to the south.
Last visit: 2011-07-02