Walking the dog in the old Variano woods

There are places known only to locals that evoke old tales and magic. The ancient woods of Variano are that kind of natural location; it appears on maps but is unknown to most people. And in fact, there are no signs to inform the tourist or passer-by of its presence, but locals keep it “warm” in their memory and heart. Today, only a very small portion remains of what was a real forest at Variano, in the municipality of Basiliano. You can find yourself at its heart without knowing what it was and what led to it being so reduced.

Accessible from the end of Via del Bosco, from Via Argillars and from Via del Castello, the ancient woods take the form of a wild hillside at the top of which there are benches, gnomes and a wooden hut belonging to local associations. This portion of land has become private property and as the village has grown over the past few decades, the woods have been replaced by constructions. However, strolling through its short paths is still a great opportunity for peace and wonder.

Every season of the year manifests itself in the rich vegetation and prolific country fauna: we find hares with burrows at the edge of fields and vineyards facing the woods. Residents also include pheasants, squirrels, hedgehogs, woodpeckers, magpies and many other smaller animal species such as rodents and insects. From February onwards, the soft soil of the undergrowth and paths become cushions of crocus, wild strawberries, nettles of various shapes and colours (from lilac to purple), and some sporadic rapeseed plants brought by the wind.

The woods offer a short walk, but dogs particularly appreciate them because they are shaded. Let us say that the Variano woods can be considered a stopover while walking the dog through the fields. I do not advise you to leave your four-footed friend off his leash, however, because all around there are houses with dogs, and busy roads close by in all directions: if a hare should decide to show himself and your good friend sets off in pursuit, the risk of crossing and an accident is real in some areas. Be responsible for both your dog and the local wildlife.

From the Variano woods, you can walk for endless kilometres in the countryside, enjoying nature and relaxing in peace. Needless to say, all the fields reachable from the woods start from the village, so it is reasonable to expect encounters with other dogs running free. If this is a problem, just take the car a few kilometres further and you will find places that are less “risky” or stressful, where you can enjoy the real Friulian countryside along with your dog.

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