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the emerald pools


The Italian natural heritage is immense, but not always in our country, is there the dedicated attention and care that is deserved. On the opposite, the British have a good ability to enhance their cultural heritageand especially the natural one; I do not exaggerate if I say that we Italians have a lot to learn about their sensitivity in this way. It is also a fact that, in recent years, British interest in the “Belpaese”has gradually shifted from cities of art and coastal locations to the most hidden sites of the peninsula, in search of a more genuine and adventurous experience. It’s what happened to the “Emerald Pools” of Val Tramontina in Friuli Venezia Giulia. The well-known tabloid “The Guardian” in 2014, thanks to an article written by the Italian photographer Michele Tameni, assigned the emerald pools fourth place in the overall ranking of the most beautiful natural pools in Italy.


After that, the English publishing house Wild Things Publishing (which has always cared about the publication of guides that inspire people to discover places well outside the mass tourism circuits), asked the writer and photographer Michele Tameni to write a guide that contained the best Italian places to practice wild swimming, or swim in a natural site almost wild, in which to have an intimate experience with nature. The final result was Wild Swimming Italy, released in 2015, also in this case stands out the pearl of Friuli Venezia Giulia, until a few years ago, unknown to the international public and also to most of the Italian: the Pozze Smeraldine.


Located in Tramonti di Sopra, about 50 km from Pordenone, in the Friulian Dolomites Nature Park, is a landscape still wild and authentic. The emerald pools are made up of several natural poolsof varying size, shape and depth, but united by the dazzling emerald color and formed by the river Meduna, set by huge blocks of white rock. They are covered by a luxuriant vegetation, unique and uncontaminated.
the tramontina valley

panorama of Val Tramontina

waterfall of val tramontina

waterfall along the way

the emerald pools

along the river Meduna


The natural pools are located in a wild area and to conquer them, you just have to take a walk. From the village of Tramonti di Soprayou have to leave your car in the parking lot of via Monte Rest 2. From here you have to continue on foot along an asphalt road and follow the precise signs to Pozze Smeraldine, until you reach the church of Madonna della Salute. Continue on the left, passing by the donkey fence in the direction of Pradiel where, once you arrive, you will be in front of a bar, usually raised, and continue along a path of gravel and stones. A walk of about twenty minutes along the banks of the river Meduna separates you from the pools. Along this path there is the spring Sgurlina, the perfect place to fill the bottle of pure and fresh water, then you get to the view of huge blocks of rock that enclose the course of the stream
directions to emerald pools


the spring of sgurlina

the spring Sgurlina


After a few years of absence, this summer I went back to the emerald pools and I must say that the atmosphere you breathe has changed a lot: before they became an ultra-popular holiday destination, these wonderful natural pools were known only by the locals and even in high season, you always had the opportunity to enjoy them in absolute peace and silence. It’s a place that you can visit all year round but if you ​ decide to go there in the summer, I suggest you arrive early in the morning to avoid the risk of finding too many people. If you are looking for relaxation and total tranquility, then the perfect seasons are autumn and spring.

Having said that, the activities you can carry out are the following:
  • You can just get to the natural pools after the twenty minute walk and enjoy the wild landscape, relax, sunbathe on the beaches of gravel and rocks, take a dive on one of the various rocky springboards created by nature but beware of the water temperature: even in summer it can be really cold.


  • If you love trekking, I suggest you to continue the walk on trail 386 to Lake Ciul. Starting from the emerald pools, you walk inside the forest until you reach the uninhabited village of Frassaneit di Sotto. After passing the remains of Frassaneit, at a large boulder leave path 386 on the right and take path 393. Through which you reach before Frassaneit di Sopra and after lowering towards the bed of Meduna river, you resume altitude and, after bypassing the whole southern slope of Cima Zuviel, you reach the summit of the great dam ofLake Ciul. For the return you follow the same route, in reverse.


In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the inhabitants of the village and the valley have maintained commercial relations with the Serenissima which needed timber for the construction of the Venetian galleys but also two important local products: “the grey cloth tramontino”, made from spun wool and sheep cheese, a long-life food that was consumed regularly by sailors traveling to the East. From the village, large loads of wood over 60 kg were transported on a sort of sled until reaching a berth on the river, while lighter wood was carried on the shoulders by men. In the villages of Val Tramontina, Sunday was an important day, in fact all the inhabitants went down on foot to the valley to participate in the mass and do the shopping bartering with butter and cheese in a large common market. Frassaneit di Sotto was inhabited until the First World War and now, what remains of its past life, emerges from the vegetation in the form of ruins, walls and shelves. And it is precisely in one of these ruins that the “pitina” was born, a delicious smoked meatball.

the emerald pools of val tramontina

the clear water of the Emerald Pools

the emerald pools

the emerald pools

the emerald pools

relax at emerald pools

the path to reach the emerald pools

the path to reach the Pozze Smeraldine


START/FINISH: Tramonti di Sopra

  • From the A28 motorway, exit Cimpello, take the entire Regional Road 177 to Sequals. From here follow the signs for Tramonti di Sopra. Entering the village, continue leaving the small church dedicated to Our Lady of Health on your left. After about 200 meters you have to leave your car at the parking lot and continue on foot.
  • Take the regional road 251 connecting Pordenone to Maniago, then continue on the regional 552 to Meduno and then turn left continuing to Tramonti di Sotto and then Sopra.
  • Bring food and water as there are no refreshment points along the way.
  • Bring a tick repellent, they’re very common around here When you get home, make sure you don’t have them on you

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