Friuli is a Catholic region and is subject to the principles, laws, and ethos espoused by that church. Recent studies have focused on the historical conflict between church and folk beliefs, as they are reflected in the records of Inquisition trials for heresy and witchcraft during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These studies present evidence of an Indigenous agrarian cult that relied upon rituals intended to promote or defend the fertility of the soil and the success of crops.
In the field of the arts, Friuli was noted for its own vigorous literary style throughout the fourteenth through eighteenth centuries, distinct from the more formal style employed elsewhere in Italy. This productivity suffered when, in the eighteenth century, Friulan lost status as a language and was treated as a form of rustic speech. In the nineteenth century, a renewed European interest in vernaculars brought back the work of Friulan poets and prose writers in a kind of renaissance. While Friulan has never achieved recognition as an official language in Italy, there have been writers, particularly poets, working in the language throughout this century. Other expressions of Friuli folk culture are to be found in local theater and folk dancing.