Sunset hike on Monte Joanaz (UD, Friuli Venezia Giulia)
When talking about hikes, people usually refer to the ideal time of the year. But what if a hike is not perfect for a season but for a specific part of the day?
That’s the case with this hike on Monte Joanaz, Faedis (UD), Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy. The best time to visit Monte Joanaz is not in spring or autumn but every day around sunset.
What you will read in this post:
Why should you hike on Monte Joanaz
Monte Joanaz is a hill in the eastern part of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy. Located near the village of Faedis, you can reach the starting point of this hike by car by following the signs for the hamlet of Canebola.
Monte Joanaz is the neighbor of Mount Matajur but is less crowded. In addition, if you drive 3km more, until Madonnina del Domm, the elevation gain lowers to 250 meters. It is an easy and pleasant hike if you are staying in Cividale and want to admire Friuli from above.
The starting point of our hike is Bocchetta Sant’Antonio. Once parked, we’re greeted by a little church that recalls a tragic event that happened in the course of WW1 during the Caporetto’s retreat. In this place, an Italian soldier defended the position to the bitter end to slow down the advance of the Austro-Hungarian troops.
From the church, the view is breathtaking already. From there you can admire the entire plain of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. You can even spot the lagoon of Grado shimmering in the distance.
We have almost 400 meters of elevation gain in front of us. The CAI trail sign nr. 765 says it will take us one hour and twenty minutes to reach the top.
The trail is well visible on the fields behind the church, which gently follow the hills’ shape. We walk over a metal covering which is the roof of an old war bunker. We’ll meet many war relics and as we steadily head towards the woods, we can already spot the fields on top of Mount Joanaz.
The slope of the ground is steady and trees’ roots have intertwined so much that it feels like climbing steps rather than a mountain trail. The path is wide and has no criticality.
Truth to be said, I find it a bit boring. Maybe it’s the late winter environment and the arid grass but oftentimes I had to remind myself that I was there for the view and not the trail. Fortunately, that was easy to remember by turning around and admiring the landscape.
We eventually dive into the thick of the woods only to exit a few meters later into a small clearing where we spot other remainings of the war. By then, we’re almost on top. The trail ends in a carriageway that leads to the open fields we admired from the starting point.
The Alps and the hidden peak
That’s where the show begins. As we proceed on the carriageway our sight embraces Friuli-Venezia Giulia and part of Slovenia. We spot Mount Kanin, Mount Matajur, Mount Nero (Krn) on one side, Cividale, and the seaside on the other.
It’s hard to decide where to pause and take pictures. With a sight like that though, we’re aware that the best is yet to come.
Stefano already visited Mount Joanaz and he conducts me towards the top. Unlike most peaks, where the top is usually out in the clear, Mount Joanaz’s is in the thick of the wood. We walk onwards until we reach a snow-covered clearing where a minacious sign tells us that we’re on military grounds. We attempt to climb the last few meters, but the trail’s trace is lost in the bushes, so we head back and aim for the perfect sunset.
A place to watch the sun rise or set
By the time we’re back to the fields the air is already peach-colored. We stare at the plain for a while then turn towards mountains. Stefano doesn’t know where to turn with his camera. Each minute the sky and the air paint a different shade of orange and pink.
We tighten our jackets and breathe in the humid air. When the sun is inches away from the horizon we quickly head back to the car. The soft ground of the trail is perfect to slightly run down the slope and in 20 minutes we’re back to the little church which marked our starting point.
An easy hike near Cividale del Friuli
This hike on Monte Joanaz is perfect if you’re staying in Cividale, the famous medieval hamlet of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. It offers a good alternative to the most famous Monte Matajur and is the perfect location to enjoy a magical sunset with your family. Children included.
When it’s best to hike on Monte Joanaz
Monte Joanaz is optimal also for a spring picnic. I would highly recommend you not to do this hike in the summer during the day as it may get very hot. In case of snowfall, winter is also recommended but without snow, you may find the trail a bit sad.
Where is your favorite sunset hike?
- Starting point: Bocchetta Sant’Antonio
- Difficulty: Easy
- Distance: 7 km
- Elevantion Gain: 400 meters
- Time: 2 hours
How to reach Monte Joanaz:
- From Udine follow directions towards Cividale del Friuli, Faedis and Canebola.
Where to eat