Thanks to a history of ping-ponging rulers, Friuli-Venezia Giulia is a cultural melting pot of Italian, Austrian and Slavic origin. Tranquil lakes, craggy peaks and the Adriatic Sea add to its multi-faceted appeal, lending inspiration to everyone from Hemingway to Freud. Trieste is a hotbed of architecture, cuisine and artwork, where Neoclassical palaces, galleries and hilltop piazzas all share space between the cliffs and the sea. Poke around Roman ruins, sunbathe amid bronzed locals at an island beach resort, whatever you do, don’t forget to soak in the picture-perfect views. The true draw here is the mingling of cultures, no better evidenced than in the ski-resort town of Tarvisio. Stop by centro’s bustling, daily market where you can find killer deals on leather goods and vintage clothes. For the proverbial icing on the cake, take a hike around the Fuisine Lakes. Encircled by glacier-covered mountains and immaculate forest, the lakes reflect all that is stunning on clear days.