The origins of La Faula

Orogenic, Archaeological and Etymological Notes on La Faula

La Faula is the name of Casa Faula, today Casali Faula. The Friulian name Prat de Faule - the field of the Faula - was first recorded in 1550 and the people who owned it, were referred to as Chei de Faule - those of La Faula. Originally it was claimed that the word Faula derived from fagula, the beech grove. Other etymologist of the Friulian idiom assert that Faula derives instead from the Latin word fabula which became faule in the Friulian idiom. Whilst in Latin fabula means, tale - i.e. something recounted, told -, the Friulian faule, is made to derive from the Friulian verb fevela' - to speak, to talk -, it means therefore, something spoken. It could refer to the fact that the property at some stage was assigned to someone through a verbal contract.

Late 1500's Map Venetian map of Ravosa and surrounding villages dating back to the late 1500's

La Faula is located on the North Eastern shore of the Malina torrent opposite the village of Ravosa. Although the village of Ravosa was first recorded in documents dating back to April 1252, 'usque ad collum Spia et paludem Ravosa' - all the way to the hill and the marsh Ravosa looks at' - archeological findings trace its origins to the Roman Age.
The small vineyard neighbouring the one at La Faula was terraced with picks and shovels between 1927 and 1930. During its shaping a Roman dwelling was unearthed. Although the vinyard belonged to Agostino Calligaris, a small farmer from the Ravosa-neighbouring-village of Magredis, it was the then local General Practioner Doctor Emilio Sartorelli - who owned himself a vineyard neighbouring the one being created, who in 1931 donated the various pieces of Roman pottery and building materials to the Museum of Udine. Studies of the arrangement of the agricultural fields with regard to the incline of the land, the water drainage and canalization systems, prove that the countryside still reflects the rigid rules set out by the Roman centuriation system of agricultural land.

La Faula Aerial View 1969 Aerial View of La Faula in 1969-70 showing Roman Dwelling Site
Roman Pottery Fragment at La Faula Pottery Fragment Unearthed Therewith
Inscriptions on Roman Pottery La Faula Transcript of What Featured on the Fragment

We may, therefore, infer from what it is said above, that very early settlements might have existed where the house of La Faula sits today. All of the area is raised with respect to the Malina river-bed. The river banks were only built during the late 1960s. Until then, during periods of heavy rain, the river flooded all the land along its course.

Ravosa after Malina River Flooding 1958
Ravosa Main Street after Malina River Flooding 1958
Ravosa Church Square after Malina River Flooding 1958
Magredis after Malina River Flooding 1958
Magredis Main Street after Malina River Flooding 1958
Vineyard nr Attimis after Flooding 1958
Agricultural Fields nr Attimis after Flooding 1958

Effects of the Malina Torrent flooding of 1958 on Ravosa, Magredis and agricultural land nr Attimis

During a soil test carried out in the 1990s by some Regional agricultural technicians, it was found that in an area behind the barn, a brick furnace, now covered by over a meter of soil, occupied an area of at least 20 m2. Like others, this type of furnace was generally placed on a raised area near a spring or a stream of water. More than one are to be found at the foot of the hills along the road that went from Ravosa to Attimis and indeed scattered along many of the Friulian hills at the foot of the Alps. Geologically these hills were sea-beds raised by orogenetic movements and the top soil is heavy clay ideal for brick making. The hills also provided an unlimited supply of wood to heat up the kilns. In Roman times, the bricks, together with tree trunks, were transported to the South of the Region to help the building of the port city of Aquileia.

La Faula sits at the foot of the first range of hills that rise up between the Friulian plain and the mountains. From 1550-88, the hill was recorded on maps and the land register as Gion, a name deriving from the Lombard 'gahagi', 'banned land' because it formed part of a feudal property. It is very likely that the area would have belonged to one of the various Germanic lords, like Uldrich of Treffen, 1160-82, that lived in the Castle of Partistagn - from the German 'behrt stein' 'brilliant stone' - in Borgo Faris; or the Marquis of Moosburg in the Castle of Attem - from the gaelic 'ati-' and 'tem' place 'above the water' (today's Attimis) - built between 1250-60; or the Lord Uldrich of Hausberg in the Castle of Cucagna overlooking Faedis first recorded in writing in 1186, etc.. All these castles were within a range of 8 kms or less from La Faula.

Castles of Attimis Allegorical Painting Showing the Three Castles of Attimis - Originally Roman Outposts - as if Existing and in Use Contemporaneously
Faula Hill and Partistagno Castle View of La Faula and Partistagno Castel in the Background
The Castle of Partistagn Aerial view of Partistagno Castle

Probably during the Middle Ages the area where La Faula sits was wooded. The Visigoths had already established the rights to grazing their pigs on acorns. However, one thing is certain, whatever the land yielded whether it was wood, hay, cereals, pulses or wine, the majority of that produce went to the Lords, Abbots or Prioresses who owned it. Until well after the end of the 2nd World War with the introduction of the agricultural reforms most of the land in the Friuli Region belonged to a few landowners. The mass of share-croppers - sotans in the Friulian idiom - and farm-tenants, who paid the rent for use of the land in kind, as well as peasants and laborers in general became either independent small farmers or migrated in search of jobs elsewhere.