Rojale and its history

Itinerari nel Rojale

The municipality of Reana del Rojale is located in the heart of Friuli and includes nine hamlets: Ribis, Rizzolo, Reana, Remugnano, Valle, Cortale, Vergnacco, Qualso and Zompitta.

The naturalistic interest of the area, connected with the charm and beauty of the places, is also combined with the historical-cultural-artistic interest of the villages, where there are churches and votive churches rich in works of art, as well as farmhouses and historical buildings of great interest.

The Rojale territory was inhabited by prehistoric peoples since the Bronze Age, which was followed by settlements of Celtic peoples.
Then the Romans settled there, whose presence is evidenced by the traces of centuriation in the territory and by the findings of artifacts, such as the numerous coins found.

From here passed the important Via Julia, which from Aquileia, passing through Tricesimo and Carnia, reached Noricum, present-day Austria.In the early Middle Ages the territory was devastated by terrible barbarian invasions, which were followed by the domination of the Lombard Duchy.
In 1077 the Patriarchate of Aquileia took over, subjecting Rojale to the captaincy of Tricesimo.
From 1420 it was dominated by the Republic of Venice, under whose rule Rojale enjoyed various privileges, including exemption from taxes in exchange for the obligation to maintain the irrigation ditch that supplied water to Udine.

With the advent of the Napoleonic period, following the Treaty of Campoformido in 1797, it became a municipality of the Passariano District and then, after the collapse of the Napoleonic Empire, under the Austrian Restoration, it became part of Lombardo-Veneto.
In 1866 the municipality was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy, and the following year, in 1867, by Royal Decree, it assumed the name Reana del Rojale.

The importance of water

The connection of the Rojale area with water is evident right from the toponym, in fact rojale derives precisely from the Friulian word roje or roe, meaning "watercourse."
Even the term Reana seems to derive from Reianam, or Royana, found in ancient texts from the thirteenth-century period, precisely to reiterate the importance of the irrigation ditch in the history of these places.

The watercourses, derived from the Torre stream at the height of the dam at Zompitta, have ancient origins and are documented in numerous historical sources: the oldest known document is from Patriarch Volrico II of Treffen and dates back to 1171. In fact, it is likely that the derivations of the irrigation ditches were even older, perhaps as far back as Roman times, since the Bariglaria road, heir to the Via Julia Augusta to Noricum, passed along the Torre.

It is worth noting that the powerful Savorgnan family settled near the water intake at Zompitta, on the Motta hill, in a strategic location for water control, as early as the 12th century.

The intake works to divert water from the Torre stream, on the right bank, as we see them today in Zompitta, were designed by engineer Cudugnello in 1929.The stream thus feeds the Udine, Palma and Cividina ditches, according to agreements made between the managing consortia after long diatribes.

Significant architectural elements along the course of the irrigation ditches are, in addition to the canals themselves with their natural and artificial banks, hydraulic mechanisms and systems of locks, canals and water jumps for the use of motive power, artifacts for crossing with some old iron and stone parapets, and concrete or stone wash houses of public and private use.

The craft of scus 

The cultural value of the area is also matched by the craftsmanship of Rojale, which in the last century was known primarily for cartoccio, or corn bracts, in Friulian scus, and then for wicker and ironwork.
In particular, in the mid-twentieth century, the production of cartoccio artifacts became the centerpiece of the family economy and developed to such an extent that trade was organized.

In 1964, at the behest of parish priest Don Mario Fabrizio, the Cooperativa Artigiana Cartocciai Friulani was founded in Cortale, which expanded the production of the artifacts to include dolls, decorative objects and clothing accessories, found in the best Italian stores and even in the United States.

Due to socio-economic and fiscal factors, the Cartocciai Cooperative was closed in 1987, but a fair number of papermakers continued to carry on this tradition.In order not to lose this heritage, the Permanent Cartoccio and Wicker Exhibit was established at the former elementary school in Reana and the Rojale Showcase, in Remugnano, managed by the ProLoco del Rojale, which was created precisely with the intention of promoting the area and its peculiarities.

Stone: territory and contemporary art

Stone in Friuli has always been synonymous with home. The pebbles of the nearby Torrente Torre stream, ancient churches, mills, peasant houses and wash houses are often made of stone boulders.

Today in Rojale stone also means contemporary art, and this is especially true since 1998, when the local Cultural Circle Il Faro organized the annual International Symposium of Stone Sculpture of Friuli Venezia Giulia.

The works created for this major contemporary art event are a great example of an outdoor park-museum.
This is a project supported by the municipal administration and was created following the example of other Sculpture Symposia in Italy and abroad. A group of artists from various parts of the world are invited to create their works in a public, outdoor space.

The sharing and collaboration found in this context motivated the Cultural Circle Il Faro to organize a similar event in Friuli as well, with the stones present in the region. Thus, the annual appointment with the Vergnacco Symposium, in Reana del Rojale, began in 1998, hosting artists of national and international level, engaged in working for two weeks on the large stone blocks made available to them.

Of the more than two hundred and fifty sculptures created to date and placed in public venues and parks throughout the region, there are more than sixty works in the municipality of Reana del Rojale. This is a true Sculpture Park now spread historically throughout the territory.