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Grado, the daughter of Aquileia and the mother of Venice
WHAT SHOULD YOU CERTAINLY VISIT IN GRADO?

 

GRADO AND GRADUS

 

Grado comes from the Latin word "Gradus" which literally means "step". The island of Grado, was a very important port in Roman times and served as a gateway for the nearby city of Aquileia - once the fourth-largest Italian city of the Roman Empire -  on the mainland. Large seagoing boats first anchored in front of the coast of Grado to transfer their goods onto smaller boats that could sail accoss the river to Aquileia So actually the sailors put their first footsteps on the solid ground of Grado.

 

DAUGHTER OF AQUILEIA AND MOTHER OF VENICE
 

Today Grado is connected to the mainland by a long bridge. Her isolated position was ideal during the Roman Empire when the people of the nearby Aquileia had to flee often for the incursions of various barbarian invasions. The inhabitants of Aquileia looked for shelter on the island of Grado. They even became one of the first founders of the city of Venice. That is why Grado has the nickname the daughter of Aquileia and the mother of Venice

 

CASTRUM

The historic core is built on what was once the Castrum, a fortress protected by high city walls containing no less than three different churches. Two of them still exist. The "Sant'Eufemia" was inaugurated in the 6th-century a.C. It is still the main Basilica of Grado and inside you can admire the original mosaic floor and pulpit. Next to this church is a smaller even older intimate church "Santa Maria delle Grazie. The third church is located in Piazza Biagio Marin, of this one only the foundation remains are visible. 

 

A MAZE OF SMALL ALLEYS
 

The historic heart of Grado is a maze of small alleys filled with several typical small characteristic shops and very good fish restaurants. Grado is not big and easy to visit in half a day. You walk from the old city center in a few minutes to the modern wide promenade from where you have a beautiful view over the Adriatic sea and with a little luck you can even see the Slovenian coastline. A beautiful spot to watch the sunset! 

 
THE SUNNY ISLAND
 

Grado has for centuries been in the hands of the Austrian Empire and it belongs to Italy only since the end of the First World War. The inhabitants call it "Isola del sole" - "the sunny island". In the late 19th century it became a beach and wellness resort for the more wealthy Austrian families. Grado was then known as the Austrian Riviera. These 'wellness centers' still Grado has a wide range of hotels, apartments and camping sites. It has wide sandy beaches and is ideal for small children because the sea is very shallow for quite some distance.

 
MAKE A BOAT TRIP TO THE ISLAND OF BARBANA
 

From Grado you can make a nice boat trip over the lagoon and see  the typical fishing huts situated on small islands. They are the famous original fishermen's houses named "casoni". The nearby island "Isola di Barbana" is particularly famous for the Marian Sanctuary. On the first Sunday of July, the people from Grado participate in a religious ship procession called the  "Perdon di Barbara". This day they sail to the island on colorful boats asking the Madonna of Barbana to offer them protection for a new year. 

 

MAKE A BIKE RIDE COMBINING NATURE RESERVES WITH CULTURE
 

If you want to make a bike ride, there are plenty of choices. Grado is located near two beautiful nature reserves which are a paradise for bird watching lovers. Over 270 different species can be observed from the special observation points. The reserves are located along the bike route called "between the lagoon and the sea," the cycle trail is about 30 kilometers long and follows the coastline. This bike route actually is part of the much longer cycle route called FVG2 Adriabike cycle route, that connects Trieste to Venice! Another route is the "Amber Road" of about 25 kilometers that  connects Grado  to Aquileia also named 'the city of amber' because this product was traded a lot here during the Roman Empire. A beautiful route that combines nature and culture since Aquileia is a Unesco site! 

Click on this link for more tourist information about Grado 
The highlights of Grado:
  • The beaches
  • The lagoon on one side and the sea on the other side of the island
  • The Sant'Eufemia church
  • The Santa Maria delle Grazie church
  • The remains of a third basilica on the Biagio Marin square
  • The Baptisery 
  • The Lapidarium, open air museum with remains of stones of the roman and medieval past
  • The museum "museo della pesca"
  • The promenade
  • The excellent (fish) restaurants
  • The historical center with small alleys 
Palmanova

Palmanova

Aquileia

Aquileia

Basilica of Aquileia

Basilica of Aquileia

Isola di Barbana

Isola di Barbana

Cycle paths along the coastline

Cycle paths along the coastline

The fisher villages in the lagoon

The fisher villages in the lagoon

Good to combine with one of the following sights:

BOOK ME AS YOUR GUIDE

If you want to discover more about the history of Grado and Aquileia during a guided tour,  please feel free to contact me

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