Boating vacations: the magic of the lagoons in the Upper Adriatic Sea


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Venice Grand Canal
Venice’s Grand Canal that the whole world envies us

From the Po Delta to the bay of Muggia, one discovers a very long series of inlets that open up in the long stretch of coastline that encompasses the Adriatic rivieras of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia and that offer boaters an endless number of landings just a few hundred meters from the historic center of such unique cities as Venice, as well as Trieste, Grado, and Chioggia.

From a geographical point of view, as soon as one circumnavigates the Mouth of the Po di Goro and from Emilia Romagna enters Veneto one finds oneself in a corner of Italy completely characterized by the presence of water, whether it be that of the numerous rivers that flow into the sea between the mouths of the Tagliamento, Piave, Adige and Po Delta, or that of the Adriatic itself, which in this arzigogographed territory infiltrates between the islands and islets into which the coastline “breaks.”

The Po Delta

The first of these areas of special mix of fresh water, salt water and land that one encounters then is precisely that of the Po Delta, whose coastal development moreover begins in part abundant already in the last northern stretch of the Romagna coast. Defined as the system of river branches through which the Po flows into the Adriatic Sea, the delta consists first and foremost of the set of these innumerable river branches and, of course, the “strips” of coastal territory between them.

The branches of the delta found in the southernmost part of Veneto, the part surrounding the historic town of Porto Viro, are those of the Po di Maistra, the Po di Venezia, and the Po della Pila. The latter then flows into the Adriatic Sea through three distinct inlets, called Busa di Tramontana, Busa Dritta, and Busa di Scirocco.

Po Delta
The Po Delta Mychela / CC-BY-SA-4.0

Just as is the case in the Romagna part, the Veneto area of the Po Delta is also protected by a large Regional Reserve that was established for the purpose of preserving its unique brackish and wild characteristics. In fact, it should not be forgotten that the Po Delta Park has the largest expanse of protected wetlands in Italy, within which one can admire a flora so varied that it includes about a thousand different species.

And the same goes for the fauna, because more than 400 different species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish find their natural habitat in the Reserve. The presence of birds is also absolutely relevant (more than 300 species nest and winter here), so much so that it makes the Po Delta the most important ornithological area in Italy and one of the best known in Europe for birdwatchers.

Chioggia, Little Venice

Almost standing as the “capital” of this unique territory in the entire Mediterranean basin, built in a special position on a small peninsular area between the Venice Lagoon and the Po Delta, is the historic town of Chioggia.

Nicknamed “Little Venice” for the urban features of its ancient area many similar to those of the Serenissima, the village is a mix of calli, campi and canals. The main one of these, because of the beauty of the palaces and churches overlooking it, is certainly the Vena Canal.

The historic fishing town of Chioggia

Having then passed Venice, its Lagoon and its Lido, the succession of wild stretches of water that intersect thanks to the many harbors (it is here I harbor the name of every mouth between the Adriatic and the lagoon) is not over: next is in fact the truly evocative Marano Lagoon. Sandwiched between the sandy peninsula of Lignano to the west and the equally wild Grado Lagoon to the east, Marano’s is a unique naturalistic reality made up of strips of land and sand, set flush with the water and known as “velme,” and emerged areas, referred to as “barene,” which can, however, also sometimes get flooded by the high tide, which in some cases can reach even one meter in height.

A wide range of marine species live in this paradise, including many kinds of even valuable fish-such as dogfish, rays, hake, cod, groupers, sea bass-as well as shellfish (cuttlefish, squid, octopus, clams) and crustaceans (lobsters, shrimp, prawns, crabs). In the neighboring Grado Lagoon, nature is similarly wild and surrounds the small town that gives it its name and is a historical and architectural jewel.

Marano Lagunare
Marano Lagunare Luigi Mengato / CC-BY-2.0


Don’t miss the other installments of Boating Vacations in the Upper Adriatic.

  • Magic of the lagoons
  • Info… to navigate lagoons and inlets (in programming)
  • The long series of ports from the Po Delta to Slovenia (in programming)
  • The bays, a mix of land and sea (in programming)
  • To visit: the Serenissima, but not only (in planning)



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