“Oh my, the Turks are coming!” This was the piercing cry that united many Friulian villages that went up in flames in 1477, and undoubtedly resonated in Clauiano too, razed to the ground by the Saracen hordes. Then came the arduous but rewarding reconstruction. The new urban order eliminated all of the weak points and risky areas following the Ottoman raid and the various barbarian invasions which beset the area throughout the Middle Ages up to the 15th century. A charming village of piéris and clàps [stones
and cobbles] slowly materialised.
The buildings were made of masonry and had tiled roofs, and they were built close together as if to form defensive walls, erected around two churches: St George’s to the south and St Martin’s to the north. The village grew bigger and resumed the industrious way of life that had made it a point of reference. It is no coincidence that, as far back as the Middle Ages, the church of St George was hosting meetings making
decisions on internal affairs, as well as issues concerning the neighbouring villages.
Casa Gardellini was one of the first masonry buildings to be erected; it features an L-shaped structure that leans against other 16th century structures that were part of Casa Beltramini, with its typical, well-protected
internal courtyard. Casa Tonutti Campagnolo was another, which preserved a 15th century fresco depicting the Virgin and Child between two Saints.
In the 17th century, Clauiano entered an important development phase, during which the two centres located to the north and south of the village merged. As a result, in the following century, the village took on its current form. This period saw the construction of many parts of the enclosed court of Casa Colussi, Casa Dri and Casa Minin, as well as of Casa Palladini, with its typical “fogolâr”, or hearth, featuring a large hood that extended to the two upper storeys and ended in an elegant Venetian-style chimney. The three-storey building belonging to the aristocratic Della Porta family with an annexed gardener’s house, stable, prison and “foledôr” (a wine cellar usually built near the main residential building) was also constructed.
Dating back to the 18th century, we find Villa Ariis, with its round-arched portal bearing a double lancet window with a stone balustrade above it and the adjoining, quite remarkable “foledôr”; Villa Manin with its pilaster strips and upper tympanum; and Casa Zof Piano, which features a segmental-archstone portal which the village elders say was originally a convent.
Casa Barnaba Manin, Casa Calligaris Foffani and Casa Bosco date back to the same period but have more ancient origins. The current church of St George the Martyr, located on the village high street, dates back to the first half of the 18th century and features a sober Baroque style, both for the interiors and
exteriors. The ancient building, perhaps dating as far back as the Lombard period, houses a 16th century baptismal font ascribed to Carlo da Corona, a painting by Osvaldo Gortanutti dating back to 1690 and portraying the Adoration of the Magi, and an 18th-century banner used for religious processions.
Incidentally, the other focal point in Clauiano’s history, the church of St Martin, which also dates back to the Lombard period, was demolished, in 1954.
In the mid 19th century Clauiano reached the pinnacle of prosperity, and important families such as the Manins, De Checos, Bassis, Bearzis and De Vits built houses there with large outhouses.
They were responsible for boosting the village economy by building a spinning mill, given the numerous white mulberry trees in the area which provided a good source of food for the silkworms.
Nowadays, the inhabitants of Clauiano are respectful of its history, paving their roads using Piasentina stone or cobbles from the nearby Torre stream, replanting the mulberry trees which once abounded in the area and were an excellent staple food source until a few decades ago, regenerating the area in front of the church of St George, and uncovering the raw stone walls of the houses, the ancient frescos and paintings, the sundials, the open galleries, and the numerous archways above the village houses. Another example is
the unearthing of the plan of the old pond in the square. The pond collected rainwater which was then used to provide water for animals and wash clothes. Today, the blue water has been replaced by green grass, maintaining the village’s authentic rural feel.
The toponym “Clauiano”, unlike many others, is easy to trace. It dates to the Roman period and refers to the name of the owner of a plot of land in the area currently occupied by the village, called “Claudius” or “Clavilius”, from “Clavius”.