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Pellestrina island
Inside the lagoon of Venice, in the southernmost part, there is a strip of land and sand eleven km long where time seems to have stopped: the island of Pellestrina. I was particularly impressed so if you love outdoor activities and the wilderness, this is the right place for you. To get there, it will take you the same time you need to go from Venice to Milan with the Freccia Rossa train, but what you will find on this island is still genuinely linked to maritime traditions. Clothes laid out outside the house, the streets, the squares, some houses faded because of the wind and salt in the air. In Pellestrina everyone knows each other, the doors of the house are often open and, from the doors, you can breathe sea air. You can also smell the grill, as often fresh fish is cooked on the doorstep by fishermen, the real creators of those authentic popular atmospheres that make this place magical.

WHAT TO SEE ON THE ISLAND

The island is formed by the following localities:
  • Santa Maria del mare, the green lung to the north of the island which is rich in fruit trees

 

church of Pellestrina

eighteenth-century church of Pellestrina

  • San Piero in Volta, where there are the eighteenth-century churchs, low houses, vineyards and fresh vegetable gardens.

 

  • Portosecco, where in summer you will often meet women sitting outside the door of their house to chat while they are creating fantastic bobbin lace.

 

  • Pellestrina is the main town of the island and is formed by two main roads; one runs parallel to the sea while the other to the lagoon and are connected to each other by streets, squares and courtyards where you will see colourful houses in a row overlooking the Venetian lagoon. The town is divided into districts and each area takes the name of the four noble families of Chioggia… (Busetto, Vianello, Zennaro and Scarpa) of which the Podestà of Chioggia sent there in 1380 after the end of the war that saw Venice opposed to Genoa and where Pellestrina was devastated. So, a new flourishing period began for the island with the construction of new civil and religious works. The island belonged to Chioggia until 1797, then it was declared an autonomous municipality but the will of the inhabitants was to belong to the municipality of Venice and they succeeded in 1923, when the island became a fraction of Venice.

 

  • Ca’ Roman is the southernmost point of the island, surrounded by sand dunes and a dense forest, where there is a natural oasis where about 200 species of birds nest and pass through, including the fratino and the fraticello. It’s a Lipu nature reserve.
fishing boat

fishing boats of Pellestrina

fishing nets

fishing nets in Pellestrina

DISCOVER PELLESTRINA BY BIKE

You can visit the island by bus, on foot or by bike, and it is impossible to get lost. Since there is a cycle-pedestrian track along its entire length, the best and ​ certainly most original way to travel it is the bicycle, which you can rent directly on the island at the daily price of eleven euros.

sunset of Pellestrina

sunset of Pellestrina

You pedal through a long beach which is wild and uncrowded along the Murazzi. A dam built by the Republic of Venice in the eighteenth century, in Istrian stone built to defend the island from the force of the sea and erosion. Cycling to Ca’ Roman you can see Chioggia.

If you want to relax on the beach, you just have to climb the Murazzi and choose the most congenial place. The coast stretches for several kilometers and is very wild; here are the best preserved sand dunes of the Adriatic sea. You won’t find umbrellas but the water is clean.

Do not leave the island without having seen one of its beautiful sunsets, it is a wonderful free show that nature gives you.

THE MUSEUM

In San Pietro in Volta you can find a small museum that traces the history of the walls and the protection from the sea, also the moment of fear of the flood of 66 while upstairs is dedicated to fishing, boats and nets. The visit is free (free offer) so, to understand more deeply the history of the island and its inhabitants is worth a ride.

THE LACE OF PELLESTRINA

Worthy of note is the centuries-old tradition of bobbin lace: the technique involves the weaving of cotton threads that take place from bobbins on a cylindrical cushion called tombolo. A technique handed down from mother to daughter; still today the lacemakers

THE KITCHEN AND THE ISLAND FESTIVALS

Finally, the island is known for being the kingdom of seafood cuisine, several restaurants and taverns offer freshly caught fish delicacies such as: backs, eels, cuttlefish and much more. Everything is always combined with the vegetables grown in the gardens of the inhabitants.

If you want to learn more about the traditions and hospitality the best period are the village festivals that are organized during the summer including:
  • the Feast of Saint Peter at the end of June
  • the feast of Our Lady of the Apparition on August 4 of each year
  • the festival of Santo Stefano ends August 15, you can find several dishes of fresh fish
  • the Pellestrina regatta is held on the first Sunday of August and attracts many people every year

If you want to visit other islands of the Venetian lagoon I recommend Murano, Burano and Torcello.

LOGISTICS

HOW TO GET THERE

  • from Venice From Venice you have to take the vaporetto (Water bus) to the Lido, then from the Lido the bus nr. 11 to Alberoni where the ferry boat is ready to ferry you to Santa Maria del Mare and then continue to Pellestrina, the southernmost part of the island (if you do not have the Venezia Unica card the cost is 7.50£ each way)
  • from Chioggia take the vaporetto nr. 11 that leads directly to Pellestrina

WHERE TO HIRE A BICYCLE

  • Ape Tours Via Vianelli 436/437 Pellestrina tel 041/5277253
  • Vi.Sca srl Via Sest Busetti 1 Pellestrina te. 041/967591

WHERE TO EAT

Taverns and restaurants offer delicacies based on fresh fish: from mussels to scallops, from backs to shrimps, from grills to fries in short, there is something for all palates.

  • Da Celeste,Sestier Vianelli 625, Pellestrina
  • Le Valli Agriturismo Ittiturismo, Strada Comunale della Laguna Pellestrina tel. 041/5279189
  • Ostaria la Rosa, Sestier Zennari 656/b Pellestrina tel. 041/967032

WHERE TO SLEEP

  • Locanda Stravedo, Via Laguna 190/191 San Pietro in Volta
  • Agriturismo Le Valli, tel. 041/5279189

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