Grado and Aquileia


The Golden Island and the Second Rome

Grado, the 'Golden Island', stands in a picturesque lagoon amidst a maize of small islands and is a natural beauty spot with two nature reserves. It used to be the port for Aquileia, the 'Second Rome', situated nearby to the north.

Venetian charm

Grado, joined to the mainland by a narrow strip of land, has a graceful Venetian style historic town centre where you can wander through the alleyways and squares flanked by picturesquely cluttered fishermen's houses. Definitely to be seen are the Paleochristian Cathedral and the very old octagonal baptistery.

A beach like an elegant lounge
A very relaxing fine-sanded beach, classed as an environmentally protected 'Bandiera Blu' beach for many years now. Good quality service with an emphasis on comfort and safety for children, who can play for hours in the shallow, clean and always calm water. Play areas and baby-sitting services available.

The thermal springs of the Hapsburgs
Up to the beginning of the 19th century, the Hapsburg aristocracy used to come here to bathe and use the excellent seaside thermal springs. The thermal spring facilities have recently been renovated, with the addition of new beauty care areas offering a host of treatment programs, from thalassotherapy to the prevention of premature skin aging.

Land and water sports
Beautiful walks, the cool shade of maritime pines and spectacular sunsets. 
Sports include beach volleyball, basketball and football, windsurfing, sailing, water skiing and canoeing. There is also a scenic 18-hole golf course right next to the sea. 

Nature reserves
birdwatcher's paradise reachable by cycle track: the Valle Cavanata and Foce dell'Isonzo nature reserves , where all you can here are the calls of thousands of birds and the rustling of reeds in the wind. 

Roman beauty
Aquileia was a major city in the Roman Empire and is now a Unesco World Heritage site with anarchaeological area of great importance. In the patriarchal basilica there is one of the most extraordinary existing sets of mosaics in the world.

Brilliantly coloured boat procession
On the first Sunday of July every year there is a picturesque festival in Grado known as the Perdòn di Barbana, in which a procession of boats decorated with flowers, garlands and flags sails to the Marian sanctuary on the island of Barbana in a votive ritual dating back 800 years.

A fisherman's life
Fishing has always been the means of subsistence for the people of this area, and the reed huts or casoni that the fisherman used to shelter in can still be seen all over the lagoon. Fish cooking is based on time-honoured traditions, the most famous local dish being the boreto a la graisàna.

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