CIVIDALE DEL FRIULI (anc. Forum Iulii), a town of Venetia, Italy, in the province of Udine, 10 m. E. by N. by rail from the town of Udine; 453 ft. above sea-level. Pop. (1001) town, 4143; commune, 9061. It is situated on the river Natisone, which forms a picturesque ravine here. It contains some interesting relics of the art of the 8th century. The cathedral of the 15th century contains an octagonal marble canopy with sculptures in relief, with a font below it belonging to the 8th century, but altered later. The high altar has a fine silver altar front of 1185. The museum contains various Roman and Lombard antiquities, and valuable MSS. and works of art in gold, silver and ivory formerly belonging to the cathedral chapter. The small church of S. Maria in Valle belongs to the 8th century, and contains fine decorations in stucco which probably belong to the 11th or 12th century. The fine 15th-century Ponte del Diavolo leads to the church of S. Martino, which contains an altar of the 8th century with reliefs executed by order of the Lombard king Ratchis. At Cividale were born Paulus Diaconus, the historian of the Lombards in the time of Charlemagne, and the actress Adelaide Ristori (1822–1906).
The Roman town (a municipium) of Forum Iulii was founded either by Julius Caesar or by Augustus, no doubt at the same time as the construction of the Via Iulia Augusta, which passed through Utina (Udine) on its way north. After the decay of Aquileia and Iulium Carnicum (Zuglio) it became the chief town of the district of Friuli and gave its name to it. The patriarchs of Aquileia resided here from 773 to 1031, when they returned to Aquileia, and finally in 1238 removed to Udine. This last change of residence was the origin of the antagonism between Cividale and Udine, which was only terminated by their surrender to Venice in 1419 and 1420 respectively.