History, beach and lagoon
The largest island of the lagoon archipelago of Grado hosts the county seat with the same name and since 1936 it has been connected to the mainland by a moveable bridge.
A magnificent old-town centre built on the ruins of the ancient Roman Castrum that dated back to the fifth century AD, a spa that can boast a 126-year history and some three kilometres of fine sandy beaches all facing south make the “sunny island” an exclusive and charming destination.
Pineta beach, Costa Azzura – so called for its particular beauty and known by locals as spiaggia vecchia – and the main beach are the only beaches of the whole Adriatic coast entirely facing south and, for over 30 years, they have been winning the “Blue Flag” award.
In Grado there is also the Thermal seawater Park and in the most easterly corner the Golf Club Grado, magnificently surrounded by the lagoon landscape, two holiday villages and a few campsites.
Every first Sunday of July, since 1237, a long parade of decorated boats leaves Grado to sail the lagoon and reach the little isle of Barbana, where the oldest Marian sanctuary of the region protects a preciuos and miracolous statue of the Madonna which was thrown there by the waves. In that way, for more than 700 years, the inhabitants of Grado thank the Virgin Maria for having saved them from a terrible epidemic: it’s the Perdon of Barbana, one of the most ancient and heart-felt local traditions.
Barbana is one of the hundreds of islands scattered throughout the Lagoon of Grado.
With more than 12 thousand hectares of extension and its 25-kilometres long coastal belt, the Lagoon of Grado – which stretches towards the west into that of Marano – is the most beautiful within the entire Mediterranean basin. A maze of canals and valleys among the mote, as the locals call the small lagoon islets covered with reeds and bushes. A timeless place, realm of water, wind and silence.
You can explore the lagoon by renting a boat or by using the taxi-boat service.
It is open all year round and interesting guided tours are organised on request.
What to see in
Friuli Venezia Giulia
Friuli-Venezia Giulia is a very interesting region in terms of history and landscape. Beaches, beautiful mountain landscapes and cultural cities make Friuli-Venezia Giulia a tourist destination suitable for summer and winter sport, hiking and art cities lovers. One of the most historically and culturally interesting cities is Triest. Here must be visited: Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia, the town’s main square; Faro della Vittoria, in memory of the victims of the First World War; Miramare and Duino Castles; Risiera San Sabba Civic Museum, evidence of one of the most darkest periods of human history and Basovizza, a district in the municipality of Triest, sadly known for its foiba. Other historically important sites are: Ponte del Diavolo in Cividale del Friuli, an important inheritance of the Longobards; Military Memorial of Redipuglia, one of the largest military cemeteries in the world in remembrance of the war victims; Basilica of Aquileia, near Grado; Piazza Libertà and Piazza San Giacomo in Udine and Gorizia Castle.
Friuli-Venezia Giulia is very rich also in terms of nature. Perfect for sea lovers, the renowned seaside resorts of Grado and Lignano Sabbiadoro or, near Triest, Sistiana bay and the Karst Plateau, known for its white cliffs overlooking the sea. The region is an excellent choice also for enthusiasts of winter sport, hiking and trekking. Carnia is one the most exclusive area of the region, with its frequented locations of Ampezzo, Piancavallo, Sauris and Tarvisio.
Not to be missed: the caves Grotta Gigante and Torri di Slivia.