WHAT TO SEE IN JESOLO AND ERACLEA? HERE IS OUR GUIDE

what to see in jesolo and eraclea

What to see in Jesolo and Eraclea? The complete guide with our advice for visiting Jesolo, Eraclea and their surroundings.

Jesolo and Eraclea Mare, in addition to being well-known seaside destinations, reserve a hinterland rich in history and natural treasures. This area, in fact, was among the first to host settlements of the ancient Venetians. A long history, of which numerous testimonies still remain today, but not only that.

Here, nature also reigns supreme: a place where the green of the earth and the blues of the water and sky blend together. A territory that holds true naturalistic jewels: lagoons that represent the environment in which fishermen have worked for millennia, vegetable gardens cultivated a few meters from brackish waters, green rivieras along the rivers, reclamation landscapes, the woods on the border with Friuli Venezia Giulia.

For this reason, limiting yourself to a holiday of just sun and sea would be a real shame. This is why in this guide we have reported what to see in Jesolo and Eraclea and the surrounding areas, outside the usual tourist itineraries.

In this article:

WHAT TO SEE IN JESOLO

WHAT TO SEE IN ERACLEA

WHAT TO DO IN JESOLO AND ERACLEA

WHAT TO SEE NEAR JESOLO AND ERACLEA

WHAT TO SEE IN JESOLO?

Despite being known as a popular seaside resort and for its modern skyline, Jesolo’s origins are very ancient. In Roman times, in fact, a settlement called “Equilum” arose in this area, a term linked to the presence of horses (eques) of which the ancient Venetians were skilled breeders. The settlement resisted until the 5th century AD, when the inhabitants, following the continuous barbarian raids, abandoned it to take refuge on the lagoon islands which would see the birth of Venice.

However, with the Byzantine reconquest, “Equilum” became one of the most important centers of the new Doge of Venice but, in the following centuries, there was a new long period of decline which led to the abandonment of the lands and their transformation into a swamp.

The impressive reclamation works that took place between the 1920s and 1930s, under the guidance of Tomaso Nember, returned the name of Jesolo, from Giesolo, a probable dialect version of the ancient Equilo and gave new impetus to the locality.

So why not go and discover the glorious past of this city?

 

ANCIENT JESOLO

Evidence of Jesolo’s illustrious past is the archaeological area of ​​the Ancient Walls which preserves the remains of the early Christian cathedral dating back to the 6th – 7th century and its wonderful mosaic floor. On this site there are traces of another church from the same era, dedicated to San Mauro. Unfortunately, both buildings suffered extensive damage during the Great War, when a military fort was built in the area.

Cosa vedere a jesolo Antiche Mura

Torre del Caligo, however, dates back to the early medieval period, the base of which remains visible today. It stands along the banks of the canal of the same name, whose name evokes the impenetrable fogs of lagoon winters. It was the vital waterway through which the goods landed or produced in Lio Maggiore were transported eastwards. The tower was built by the Venetians to monitor transit and traffic in the area.

Following the traces of ancient Jesolo can be a way to relive the civilization and greatness once achieved by this city.

 

JESOLO AND THE GREAT WAR

Jesolo area was the scene of painful war events. After the defeat of Caporetto, the Austro-Hungarian army, with the aim of conquering Venice, crossed the Piave River on 14th November 1917, occupying Jesolo territory. Between 15th and 24th June 1918 it launched the last assault, the so-called Battle of Solstice, one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War.

In memory of those tragic events, Ponte della Vittoria still stands today, which connects the historic center of Jesolo to the Salsi area, an obelisk monument to the fallen. The four obelisks, built in 1959, replaced those built in 1927, in conjunction with the construction of the bridge-monument to the fallen and sailors commissioned by Emanuele Filiberto Duca D’Aosta.

 

ALONG SILE- PIAVE VECCHIA RIVER

An itinerary that is absolutely not to be missed for its naturalistic but also historical aspects is the one that winds along the Sile-Piave Vecchia river. An extraordinary environment that is home to a rich fauna and flora.

Cosa vedere a Jesolo Sile Piave Vecchia

But why is this waterway called that? Piave Vecchia, as the name suggests, is none other than the ancient riverbed that the Serenissima diverted towards the middle of the seventeenth century with the aim of moving it away from the lagoon and protecting itself from the dangers of its devastating floods.

This stretch was then used to receive the waters of the Sile River through the so-called Taglio del Sile, while the Piave River was made to flow into an area near Grisolera, the current Eraclea. In 1683 an exceptional flood moved the mouth near Cortellazzo, where the Mort Lagoon is today located.

It should be remembered that, after the defeat of Caporetto, the Great War stopped right near the extreme bastion of Piave Vecchia river.

Nowadays, along the waterway, a suggestive cycle/pedestrian path winds along which allows you to enjoy lush nature and endless reclaimed landscapes. The reclamation constitutes an important chapter in the history of these areas.

PIAVE CYCLE PATH

The cycle path that runs along the Piave River ends near its mouth, near the fishing village of Cortellazzo.

A unique opportunity to embark on a journey, on foot or by bicycle, through history, art and nature. An itinerary that can be experienced in stages, following very specific themes: the Great War, museums, villas, land reclamation, castles, towers, abbeys, historic factories, ancient frescoed churches.

Piave River, associated in the collective imagination with the Great War, in the past was also an invaluable resource for the Serenissima, which exploited its course for the transport of wood and goods.

 

LIO MAGGIORE AND THE FISHING VALLEYS OF THE NORTHERN LAGOON

Another place of incredible beauty, a few kilometers from the beaches of Jesolo, is Lio Maggiore.
In this location there are still traces of an ancient Roman port today. Unfortunately, due to the inexorable lowering of the coastline, the remains of the port structures are now 1.5 meters below sea level.
Once upon a time, this location was more important than Lio Piccolo due to its strategic position and for being directly connected to the hinterland via Caligo canal and, apparently, with a paved road.

Cosa vedere a Jesolo Torre Caligo
Cosa vedere a Jesolo valli da pesca Laguna Nord

This area is also of great importance from a naturalistic point of view. The Northern Lagoon of Venice, in fact, is classified as a Site of Community Importance.

The environment, mainly composed of salt marshes, canals and marshes, constitutes the ideal habitat for numerous flora and fauna species, in particular for aquatic birds.

Here the fishing tradition is demonstrated by the presence of numerous areas dedicated to fish farming, i.e. the extensive farming of some fish species such as sea bream, sea bass, mullet and eels.

LEGENDS AND MYSTERIES OF JESOLO

It is known that the placid waters of the lagoon and the thunderous waves of the sea can hide a dark world, made up of spirits, witches and other singular characters. So why not also discover the mysterious side of this territory?

According to legend, an enormous dragon, with large bat-like wings, once hid in a vast fishing valley near Jesolo. It suddenly appeared, burning the crops with its flames, and only the miraculous intervention of Saint John was able to free the area from the monster.

Another legend concerns Cortellazzo, once frequented by a group of witches who enjoyed scaring travellers, organizing evil pranks and untying boats moored in the marinas.

Although all the inhabitants of the area feared them, one day, a fisherman named Francesco decided to help his beloved Piave River.

The river, in fact, had transformed into a large lake of marshy and unhealthy waters. The witches decided to help the fisherman: by pronouncing some magical formulas, they unleashed the largest flood ever remembered, the flood of 1683, with which the river, after various vicissitudes, finally reached its mouth where it currently is.

WHAT TO SEE IN ERACLEA?

A famous seaside resort on the Adriatic coast, Eraclea also has ancient origins, linked to the movements of the Venetian population towards the lagoons during the first barbarian invasions.

The original settlement, in fact, was formed on one of the emerging islands of the vast lagoon that occupied the entire area, Melidissa (from the Greek meliedes, “best place”). The populations that settled on the island, of Roman culture, remained in relationship with the centers of imperial power that had been preserved in the East and in the Ravenna exarchate. This influenced the city’s hierarchical structure, structured according to Roman tradition, at the top of which was the dux, the military leader from whom the figure of the Venetian doge derived.

In the 7th century it changed its name to Heraclia, in honor of the victory of the Byzantine emperor Heraclius over the Sasanian emperor Cosroè. In 697 AD the city becomes the capital of the new Duchy of Veneto. The following centuries were marked by decline, due to barbarian incursions and various vicissitudes, until its definitive disappearance following the great flood of the Piave in 1110 which reduced the city to a desolate swamp.

It also suffered the same fate during the modern age, when, between 1500 and 1600, the Serenissima diverted the course of the Piave river which led to the creation, right in the current area of ​​Eraclea, of an artificial lake called Lago della Piave.

Only in the 1930s was the territory fully recovered thanks to extensive reclamation interventions. Precisely to retrace the history linked to the extraordinary hydraulic engineering works of the last century, an interesting itinerary to follow is that of the reclamation sites.

 

RECLAMATION SITES

As we have seen, the landscape of Eraclea is characterized by the important twentieth-century reclamation works.

Cosa vedere ad Eraclea canale revedoli

Of notable interest is the majestic Torre di Fine water pump, a hamlet born in 1925 when the great work carried out by the Ongaro Inferiore Reclamation Consortium was completed. The construction of this plant is a typical example of the difficulties encountered in the muddy land of reclamation, to give the plants the stability necessary for the machinery.

Near the confluence of Revedoli canal into Piave River, we can admire the suggestive Valle Ossi. The valley takes its name from the Venetian family who owned it, despite the legend that made it derive from the discovery in 1903, during the excavation of the foundations of a water pump, of dozens of aligned skeletons, interpreted as the remains of the fighters of the ancient Heraclia and Equilium which clashed repeatedly in the 7th century.

Also near the confluence of Revedoli canal, also linked to land reclamation, in Piave river you can observe the so-called “Porte di Revedoli”, a hydraulic work that allows navigation along the route of the Venetian coast road.

 

THE WILD BEAUTY OF MORT LAGOON

Cosa vedere ad Eraclea laguna del MortBetween the territories of Jesolo and Eraclea there is a completely exceptional natural environment, the Mort Lagoon. It is a stretch of sea separated from open waters following the diversion of the Piave River which occurred in 1935 due to a flood.

The toponym “del Mort” refers precisely to the stretch of the riverbed at the mouth, which remained excluded from the currents after the rout.

Nowadays it is a significant naturalistic oasis, an ideal habitat for many species of marine and lagoon birds, a Site of Community Importance.

Its wild beauty was recognized by Legambiente which in 2003 classified it among the eleven most beautiful beaches in Italy.

A wonderful place, definitely worth visiting.

 

WHAT TO DO IN JESOLO AND ERACLEA? HERE ARE THE EXPERIENCES NOT TO BE MISSED

We saw what to see in Jesolo and Eraclea following unusual itineraries that are very interesting from a historical, cultural and naturalistic point of view.

Now, however, let’s find out what to do in this area which, in addition to the sea and the beach, has a lot to offer, starting with the food and wine delicacies. This is a land rich in flavours, especially linked to the sea with always very fresh fish. So why not try the many specialties in one of the restaurants or farmhouses in the area? Dishes that you can also enjoy at home, as some facilities organize cooking courses for those who want to try their hand at preparing them.

And we suggest tasting the fish specialties to combine the visit with one of the numerous fishnets found along the Piave and Sile rivers. Fishnets are structures made up of networks that are generally quadrangular in shape. The four corners of the net are secured via cables and pulleys to iron pylons with two arms or four antennas. The net is submerged to the bottom and cast out from time to time. The caught fish is conveyed by the movements of the net towards the center where it is recovered by the fishermen.

Cosa fare a Jesolo ed Eraclea bilancia da pesca

Sea products combined with the excellence of the earth. There are numerous farms that offer guided tours of their estate and tasty tastings, from Noce dei Grandi Fiumi to Carnaroli Rice, from Biancoperla Corn to strictly DOC wines. The authentic flag of viticulture and oenology of this area is certainly Raboso del Piave.

A curiosity concerns an indigenous wine, Grapariol, obtained from grapes of two different white grape varieties, which, according to the winemakers, correspond to Rabosa Bianca. They were found during recovery work on old Venetian vines in Zenson di Piave.

Another wine to taste is Malanotte del Piave, which takes its name from an ancient and characteristic village located in the town of Tezze, Borgo Malanotte. In 1971 the “Malanotte” wine was recognized as the Raboso Piave Malanotte type within the Piave DOC denomination.

 

WHAT TO SEE NEAR JESOLO AND ERACLEA? HERE ARE SOME IDEAS FOR ONE OR MORE DAY EXCURSIONS

Here, however, is some advice for those who want to treat themselves to a different day, visiting the many beauties of the coast and inland: fortified villages, naturalistic oases, architectural and artistic masterpieces, ancient mills, abbeys and small rural churches.

Many interesting realities to build itineraries that allow you to retrace the thousand-year history of these lands, immerse yourself in nature and enjoy a breathtaking landscape.

VENICE AND ITS ISLANDS

In this list we could not fail to include Venice and its islands, to which we have already dedicated an article in which you can find unusual itineraries to discover the various facets of the city and its lagoon.

CAVALLINO TREPORTI

Also worth seeing is nearby Cavallino Treporti. The toponym “Cavallino” already reminds us that this land has been inhabited since ancient times: like the Jesolo area, this coastal strip was also affected by horse breeding by the Ancient Venetians.

Here, in addition to visiting the historic center of Cavallino, you can walk along Casson Canal until you reach the navigation locks built in the seventeenth century. Don’t miss Treporti with the picturesque rural courtyard of Saccagnana, Mesole, known for its convent, and the splendid village of Lio Piccolo, set among sandbanks, bodies of water, canals and fishing valleys.

Another unique itinerary allows you to get to know the most mysterious face of the lagoon by discovering the legends and mysteries that lie within its waters.

CAORLE

Another pearl of the Adriatic coast is the seaside village of Caorle. This city also boasts an ancient history that has its roots in the prehistoric period, as various findings attest.

No less fascinating than the historic center of Caorle, its lagoon, an area of ​​considerable naturalistic importance and a Site of Community Interest. In Vallevecchia, it has maintained important naturalistic-environmental values, especially due to the presence of one of the largest coastal dune systems in the Veneto.

cosa vedere a caorle

Even well-known figures such as the American writer Ernest Hemingway were fascinated by the beauty of these places. Hemingway was hosted in the estate of Baron Raimondo Franchetti, to whom he was linked by a passion for hunting and a deep friendship.

Another very characteristic place is Isola dei Pescatori, where the “casoni” stand, typical houses of lagoon fishermen.

Not to forget the picturesque village of Ca’ Corniani, located a few kilometers from Caorle. Here in the 19th century one of the largest reclamation works in the area began by a private individual, Generali Assicurazioni, which culminated in the creation of an agricultural complex that still fascinates visitors who wander among its houses today.

PIAVE RIVER LANDS

Leaving the coast behind us and heading inland we find Basso Piave area.

Cosa vedere vicino a jesolo eraclea Piave

Fossalta di Piave is worth a visit, whose name remains linked to the Great War and Ernest Hemingway. Right here the writer, present as a volunteer of the American Red Cross assisting the soldiers of the Italian army, was wounded on 8th July 1918. This tragic experience was a source of inspiration for the writer for his famous work “A Farewell to Arms”.

Crossing a characteristic pontoon bridge, we reach Noventa di Piave, a town that boasts a long history. The archaeological excavations carried out in the area where the old Parish Church of San Mauro stood attest that the territory had been inhabited since Roman times.

After a period of abandonment following the raids of the Hungarians, the center was reborn in the 10th century when the Venetians, due to its strategic location at the terminal point of the Piave’s navigability, built a port and market there.

For almost a millennium the port has been the fundamental element on which the country’s economy has gravitated and prospered.

Also in Ceggia, in the Gainiga area, numerous archaeological finds from the Roman era have been found, in particular the Roman bridge stands out, a site once crossed by the Via Annia. Not only history but also nature. Ceggia shares the Olmè forest with Cessalto, an asset of great environmental value, a site of community importance and a special protection area.

QUARTO D’ALTINO

There is also an interesting archaeological area in the Altino area. Here stands the National Archaeological Museum, which preserves remains of the habitation of the territory in prehistoric, Venetian and Roman times.

History has it that the inhabitants of ancient Altinum, by moving to the islands, including Torcello, created the conditions for the birth of Venice.

Furthermore, various itineraries, along the towpaths of the rivers or along the evocative routes of the ancient Roman roads, offer the possibility of excursions on foot, by bicycle, on horseback or by boat.

CONCORDIA SAGGITARIA

Another location that boasts a long history is Concordia Saggitaria. The first traces of habitation refer to the prehistoric and protohistoric period: in the Bagnarola area there is a paleo-Venetian necropolis with tombs dating back to a period between the end of the 9th and the beginning of the 7th century BC. In 42 BC, with the arrival of a Roman colony, probably made up of veterans of Caesar’s army, the name of Iulia Concordia was imposed on the city. The name Saggitaria was added under the empire of Diocletian, when an arrow factory (sagittae in Latin) was installed in the territory.

In the surroundings of Concordia there are numerous itineraries to explore by bicycle or on foot: from the streets along the Lemene river, to the reclamation ones up to the routes that lead to Portogruaro.

PORTOGRUARO

Portogruaro is another jewel of the Venetian hinterland not to be missed. This city has its origins in the Middle Ages, when in 1140 the bishop of Concordia granted land along the Lemene river to some families of fishermen and sailors to build homes and a river port.

Formed into a municipality probably during the 12th century, the city was involved in a series of local wars for the following centuries, which finally pushed it to submit to the protection of Venice in 1420. During Venetian rule it became the most important commercial headquarters of the homeland of Friuli, to which it belonged.

The city is crossed by Lemene river on which several bridges stand, the most significant that of Sant’Andrea. Continuing along the pedestrian path that starts from this bridge you can admire the two historic mills.

Cosa vedere nei dintorni di Jesolo ed Eraclea Portogruaro

For those interested in cycling itineraries, the city offers various alternatives, from the Via del Pane to the Antica Quercia route which connects Portogruaro to Concordia.

A couple of kilometers from the center stands the thousand-year-old Summaga Abbey. The monastic community, founded in the 11th century, quickly grew rich and in 1211 consecrated the three-nave basilica church which constitutes the only visible remnant of the ancient abbey. A truly magical place.

SESTO AL REGHENA

The emblem of Sesto al Reghena is the Abbey of Santa Maria in Sylvis, founded by the Lombards. In May 762 AD, the brothers Erfo, Marco and Anto donated their assets to the Abbeys of Sesto and Salt di Povoletto, which they had founded a few years earlier.

They endowed the Sestense monastery with all the vast properties they owned in Friuli, between Tagliamento and Livenza river, but also in the Veronese area and even in the Marche. Thus was born the largest monastic institution in the history of Friuli.

CORDOVADO

Cordovado is an enchanting Friulian village with a glorious history, which began well before the year 1000 when the bishops of Concordia fortified it and chose it as the most important “castrum” of the plain, seat of civil, military and ecclesiastical powers.

From then on it was in full function until 1420 when, having passed under Venetian rule, its strategic role diminished.

Just outside the historic center is the Venchieredo fountain, a place that was the backdrop to the tormented love between Leopardo Provedoni and Doretta di Vinchiaredo narrated by Ippolito Nievo in “The Confessions of an Italian” and to which Pier Paolo Pasolini also dedicated the poem “Limpid fountain of Venchieredo”.

This and other places, such as the nearby mills of Stalis and the castle of Fratta, are found in Nievian literary works. The legacy of Ippolito Nievo is also contained in the name of a local artisan dessert called Spaccafumo, like the Cordovado baker described in one of his novels.

GRUARO

Another village worth visiting is Gruaro, whose first traces date back to the Early Middle Ages, when its castle, built around the 10th century, was part of the defense system of the Benedictine abbey Santa Maria in Sylvis of Sesto al Reghena against the invasions of Hungarians.

The territory is of considerable interest from an environmental and landscape point of view.

It is rich in expanses of water, green areas and has numerous sites that bear witness to a harmonious symbiosis between man and nature.

Among these we must mention the Stalis area, where the mills of the same name are located but also the blue lake in Giai, La Sega mill, Gruaro mill, Nogarol mill and Bagnara mill.

We organize a excursions to discover these wonderful lands located on the border between two regions, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia and three municipalities, Gruaro, Cordovado and Sesto al Reghena.

TREVISO AND PROSECCO HILLS

Marca Trevigiana also reserves pleasant discoveries, starting from its splendid capital, Treviso.
Other wonders of this “joyful land” are the Prosecco hills, the picturesque Molinetto della Croda and the enchanting villages of Cison di Valmarino and Asolo.

But there are many places to visit in the “Garden of the Serenissima”. For this reason we have dedicated an entire article to Treviso and its surroundings with useful advice and suggestions.

THE WONDERS OF NATURE

Everyone is enchanted by the beauty of true masterpieces of nature such as Gorgazzo and Santissima springs in Polcenigo, the spectacular Brent dell’Art gorges or the enchanting meanders of the Caglieron Caves. So why not visit them?

And you, did you already know these places? Which will you visit first?

They may also be interested in this article: Things to do in Jesolo and Eraclea.

Always remember to bring sustainability in your suitcase, respect the environment and the community that hosts you!

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