In his description of Patria del Friuli published in 1753, Francesco Beretta also mentioned Valvasone, judging it a centre «worthy of some notice» and stressing that it was a «pass-through place to Germany».
And it was its particular location, on the ford of the river Tagliamento, along what has been for centuries a fundamental axis of the road network of this part of Europe, that largely determined its history and development.
A series of events that gave rise to one of the most charming places of the Friulian plain, a popular destination where the visitor can enjoy an unspoilt environment and find medieval and renaissance atmospheres.
The appeal of the single buildings and the harmony of an unchanged urban structure are undoubtedly extremely interesting both culturally and touristically but we must not forget important events and festivals that can further enhance the value of a village that is rightly considered as one of the most beautiful villages of Italy.
In its century-old history Valvasone went through difficult times due to war events (like the Turkish invasion of 1499, the Tagliamento battle in 1797 and the two World Wars), rebellions (like the one in 1511) and natural catastrophes, which the community faced by engaging in important art-related activities (the frescos of the church of Saints Peter and Paul and of the castle, the organ of the cathedral) and cultural-related (the works by Erasmo from Valvason) placing itself at the centre of international events, like the passage of pope Pious VI in the spring of 1782 (on his way to Vienna for a historical visit) and that of Napoleon in 1797.
Surely, the most significant period of Valvasone coincides with the XV and the XVI centuries, when the castle and the hospital church, dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, were embellished; also the cathedral, which houses the precious relic of an Eucharistic miracle, was built in that period.
A flourishing centre thus developed around the castle, within fortified curtain walls that slowly extended, including two towers, of which only one (leading to piazza Castello) survived, whilst the other one (located opposite the cathedral) was demolished at the end of the XIX century.
The building trade enjoyed a particularly fruitful period in 1355 when Valvasone became a parish and freed itself from the parish church of Cosa (i.e. of San Giorgio della Richinvelda); at that time, the town centre was enlarged by the Earls’ will (the Valvason were playing a very important political role in the patriarchal context at the time), by creating new town walls that extended well beyond the castle walls, where houses and trading places were built.
In the mean time, the church of St. Mary of the Graces and St. John(the Baptist or the Evangelist) was erected beyond such walls, then it was restored between 1330 and 1350 and became the first parish church of Valvasone(to which a convent was later annexed and became the present presbytery); a hospital for wayfarers and the annexed chapel were built nearby.
Later on a new church was erected and dedicated to St. James the Apostle (in the so-called “House of the parish church” now the former Post office, on the northern side of the cathedral), of which some parts still remain, frescoed with figures of saints that turned out to be valuable, rare and precious evidence of 14th century Friulian painting.
The last major change to the urban structure of the town was made between 1440 and 1500 when a third and last circle of town walls was built including the external part of the village, the hospital and the parish church of Saint Mary of Graces andSaint John that, however, was soon replaced by a new building: the cathedral.
The new parish church was built within the second circle of walls, in the innermost part of the town, featuring porched buildings that act as a picturesque frame for the sacred place, along an axis connecting the castle to the road that descends from the Meduna, the main street, which had originally give birth to the first settlement of Valvasone.