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The Italian region that will pay you to visit

An Italian region is hoping to be saying ‘ciao’ to a lot more tourists after launching a scheme to pay people to visit, and it comes with a sustainable twist.

Situated in the northeast of the country with borders to Austria and Slovenia, Friuli Venezia Giulia is one of the least visited regions in Italy, even though it’s close to the tourist magnet of Venice.

To encourage more visitors, officials will now pay the train fares for tourists from anywhere in Italy. The reason for the rail offer is to help promote more sustainable travel.

As an added bonus, tourists will also receive a special card allowing free public transport, free entry to museums and discounts to local attractions.

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As opposed to those numerous schemes of homes in remote Italian regions being offered for dirt cheap prices, there isn’t much of a catch here. The only things that people have to do is to stay a minimum of two nights in a hotel which is part of the scheme and have return tickets from one of five designated train stations.

Trieste has strong Austro-Hungarian links.

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Trieste has strong Austro-Hungarian links.

So what is in the region?

Well Trieste is the main center and probably the most well known city in Friuli Venezia Giulia. This picturesque coastal center is awash with Austro-Hungarian and Slovenian influences. Having belonged to the Habsburg monarchy from 1382 until 1918, it only became fully part of Italy after WWI.

If beaches are your thing then Lignano Sabbiadoro on the Adriatic is one of the more popular spots in the region, while Grado is known as the ‘mother of Venice’ due to its construction on a series of lagoons. Skiers are also well catered for with resorts such as Forni di Sopra in the Dolomite Alps mountain range. This being Italy, food and wine are a highlight too. Those who like a drop of white will be heading to Friuli, while foodies and cheese lovers are well catered for by the ubiquitous local Montasio.

The scheme is available until the end of May next year. More details at turismofvg.it/trenitalia.

Lignano Sabbiadoro is a popular resort on the Adriatic.

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Lignano Sabbiadoro is a popular resort on the Adriatic.

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