A wild herb hike in Northern Italy in May

Wild herb hike in Friuli

Result of a wild herb hike in Friuli Venezia Giulia Photo FVG A. Castiglioni

In search of wild herbs in the mountainous region between Trieste and the Dolomites

With spring, wild herb hikes in nature begin in the mountains from Trieste to the Dolomites. Then you look for sclopìt (pigeon sweet tooth), radicchio (mountain radicchio), bruscandoli (hop sprouts), dandelion and wild asparagus. They grow from the mountains to the lagoon, in the karst, on the permanent meadows, on the plains and along the rivers. So you can get to know the region well.



The spring days ensure that nature blossoms. The locals use them for wild herb hikes. Then you can discover the riches of northern Italy as well as corners off the beaten track on a walk. Sclopìt (bird's-catchion), radicchio (mountain radicchio), bruscandoli (hop sprouts), dandelion and wild asparagus are just a few of the specialties that thrive this time of year. They are also the main ingredients of the dishes that the region's cuisine offers in May.

From the karst hills to the Friulian Dolomites, across the lagoon and the landscape of the plain, wild herbs cannot be missing in the recipes of the region. Chefs use them in the specialties of the region. Not only cooks, but also gourmets use the spring days to go in search of Silenen (cranberry catchfly), bruscandoli (hop sprouts), dandelion, rue, nettle, mint, fennel and radicchio (mountain radicchio).


Collected wild herbs on a hike
Wild herbs collected on a hike Photo: FVG, A. Castiglioni

On a wild herb hike between the Karst and the Dolomites

Wild herb hikes are possible from the karst around Triest and Gorizia via the valleys of Carnia, the region around Tarvisio to the Friuli Dolomites. You can do it on the roads of the Valli del Natisone, in nature and in the meadows of the Pordenone region and in the Friuli lowlands. It is best to start a wild herb hike on a farm. In general, the region offers wild herbs en masse. It is enough to walk in a meadow in Central Friuli or along the banks of the floodplains to discover the wild plants. Sorrel, wood sorrel, lemon balm, mallow, yarrow, plantain, borage, meadowfoam, rosole (wild poppy) and even chives, garlic chives and garlic mustard grow here, in addition to wild garlic.



On the way on a wild herb hike in Friuli
On a wild herb hike in Friuli Photo: FVG, A. Castiglioni

Wild herb hikes have a long tradition

In the Carnia valleys, dairy farmers and farmers have been picking the Radic di mont (mountain radicchio) on wild herb hikes for centuries. This sprout after the snow has melted, usually in May, on the alpine pastures. This is a radicchio that is used in salads or omelettes. This makes it a Slow Food product, known locally as Radic dal glaz (Ice Radicchio), precisely because it appears after the snow has melted. The radicchio is picked at the beginning of May for about 15 days. It is then stored in glass jars like a vegetable preserve. So you can enjoy it all year round. Lovage, also called mountain celery, can also be found on the meadows of Carnia.

On the other hand, those who prefer wild herb hikes in the city can collect 19 species in the province of Gorizia alone. These include hop sprouts (Urtissoni or Bruscandoli), wild asparagus (Aspargina) and elderberries. Many of the herb-gathering trails run along the Isonzo River. You follow the shore towards the border Slovenia. These are hiking areas that the Habsburgs loved at the time as a “travel destination because of the climate and the peace and quiet”. Empress Elisabeth was a frequent guest in the region.


What you need for a wild herb hike

  • What do you need for your wild herb hike in Friuli Venezia Giulia? In our packing list for hikers you can check what you need for your tour.
  • Good hiking boots are a must with every hike. Only then can you enjoy your hike.
  • You can put the collected herbs in a backpack pack. You can also use one in it snack, Yours lunch box and accommodate everything you need for your day trip.


Collect wild herbs in the nature of Friuli
Collecting wild herbs in the nature of Friuli Photo: FVG, Santonego, Davide Monti

A wild herb hike is fun for the whole family

Wild herb hikes are also fun for the youngsters. They love Silene (Silene vulgaris / Pigeon Catchfly) or Sclopìt. This term derives from the custom of crushing its flowers on the back of your hand. That creates a bang. The herb can be found on fallow land and permanent meadows. In the region it is called Grisòl, Sclopìt, S'ciopeti or Carleti. And finally the dandelion. Its flowers can be used to make "fake honey" or "poor man's honey". This is used e.g. B. for glazing omelettes. It's a version of maple syrup. how to do it in Central Europe.

If you have the patience to wait until the end of May with your herb hike, you can also find Salicornia (Saphire), the sea asparagus. This is a plant that the sea salt gives its flavor to. It is collected in the Grado and Marano lagoons or on the islands. Samphire is suitable as an accompaniment to fish, blanched or fried and seasoned as desired.

A wild herb hike is a way of getting to know the areas of Friuli Venezia Giulia and discovering new insights.


A wild herb hike can be easily combined with a mobile home holiday


Travel Arrangements

Parking at the airport

Here you can reserve your parking space at the airport.


Book yours here Arrival by plane, bus or train*. you can go to Triest or Venice by train.

Arriving by car

Car Rentals:

Rent a car - book quickly and easily!

Rent Motorhomes:

Book Motorhomes in Europe here! *  With our Motorhome packing list You'll never forget anything again.

Accommodations in the region:

Accommodation for online booking is also available in Friuli Venezia Giulia* via Booking.com.


collect herbs
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Source: On-site research and FVG

Text: © Copyright FVG and Monika Fuchs
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and FVG (see caption)

A wild herb hike in Northern Italy in May

Monika Fuchs

Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the authors and publishers of the Food and Slow Travel blog  TravelWorldOnline. They have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline has been online since 2001. Their topics are trips to Savor, wine tourism worldwide and slow travel. During her studies Monika Fuchs spent some time in North America, where she - partly together with Petar Fuchs - traveled to the USA and Canada and spent a research year in British Columbia. This intensified her thirst for knowledge, which she satisfied for 6 years as an adventure guide for Rotel Tours and then for 11 years as a tour guide for Studiosus Reisen around the world. She was constantly expanding her travel regions, but curiosity still gnawed at her: "What's beyond the horizon? What else is there to discover in this city? Which people are interesting here? What do they eat in this region?" As a freelance travel journalist (her articles have appeared in DIE ZEIT, 360° Canada, 360° USA, etc.), she is now looking for answers to these questions as a travel writer and travel blogger in many countries around the world. Petar Fuchs produces the videos on this blog as well as on YouTube. Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline is among Germany's top 50 bloggers in 2021. Find more Information about Monika and Petar Fuchs here.