In the interconnected sites inland from Bibione, there are numerous activities for tourists to enjoy as part of an all-embracing holiday experience in which the beach and the sea are just the first of a long series of attractions.
The coastal and inland areas complement each other and offer visitors an endless array of original opportunities. What will you find in the surrounding area? Historic towns and villages, museums, archaeological sites, natural environments, and a host of farms where you can sample traditional local products.
Exploring the area at a leisurely pace really brings out the best of its many delights and helps you to see that the town and its surroundings are not separate entities but intertwined parts of a coalesced whole.
This was the first sanctuary built in Italy in honour of the Holy Virgin, known as the “Madonna of Fatima”.
Work began in 1947 on land donated by Count Gaetano Marzotto, on the outskirts of the town of Portogruaro, along the Treviso-Portogruaro state highway. The foundations of the church and the convent were laid on 13th September 1949 and excavation began two days later.
The sanctuary was consecrated by Bishop Vittorio De Zanche on 13th May 1954. Since 1999, the convent adjacent to the sanctuary has been the home of the Centre for Evangelisation of the Capuchins of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia.
The San Stene Castrum has a thousand-year-old history. The first papal bull citing the Castle of San Stino dates back to 1186. In 1388 it was conquered and set on fire by the Venetians, who nevertheless over the years transformed it into a sumptuous home for noble Venetian families. Originally it probably had towers that no longer exist. The Castle is currently owned by the Tonini family.
This was built in 1592 at the behest of monsignor Matteo Sanudi, Marquis of Cordovado, who accepted the request of a woman (and of the local community) who was the protagonist of an extraordinary and miraculous event: the apparition of the Virgin Mary who requested that a church be built and dedicated to her.
The Sanctuary was completed in 1602 and consecrated on the first of May the following year. The fame of the graces and miracles spread beyond Veneto, as far as Austria, from which dozens of the faithful came on pilgrimage.
The main altar has an image of the Virgin Mary by Andrea Bortolotti, known as “il Brunello”.
The arch, which was rebuilt in 2014 after years of relative abandonment, is known as the Arco del Fondaco “de’ Todeschi” and represents Portogruaro’s commercial vocation and, in general, the town’s fundamental role at the time of the Venetian Republic. The original building had three naves divided into two courtyards and was located in the San Giovanni area. The Arco del Fondaco is made of large blocks of Istrian stone, surmounted by a trabeation with the lion of St. Mark in the centre. In 2014 it was restored to its ancient splendour and placed in Piazza Marinetti, in one of the historic entrances to the town.
This is built on the remains of a Roman castrum. The bishops of Concordia governed it through a guastaldo, under the responsibility of the Ridolfi family, who lived there permanently, guarded it and defended it. Towards the middle of the 16th century it became the property of the counts of Attimis, then in the 18th century it passed to the family of the counts Freschi di Cucanea.
This contains material and reconstructs rural environments of the 20th century. It contains evidence of rural life in Concordia, which has always been a community linked to agriculture and fishing, due to its close relationship with the river Lemene that runs through the town. There is also equipment, photographs and models from the agricultural life of days gone by, a living testimony of what we once were.
Lino Grando has always loved local memorabilia and other objects and has an extraordinary collection of furnishings, knick knacks and objects from the daily lives of our ancestors. Giannino Fontanel’s private museum is an extraordinary example of a historic reconstruction of the First World War. Inside are thousands of objects, from uniforms to camp utensils. It is a monument to our history.
The National Museum of Concordia is certainly a reference point in the entire area of Concordia and Portogruaro for the Roman and Christian history of the area and relics that are evidence of its most important stages. However, a few years ago, a Civil Archaeological Museum was also opened in Concordia Sagittaria, containing recently discovered relics from the Roman, Paleo-Christian and Romanesque periods.
This was built in the mid-12th century then restored from 1252-56. After 1281 it took the name of the St. Francis Gate, after the adjoining church of the same name. It was also restored in the mid-16th century when the podestà Giorgio Gradenigo had what is now via Martiri paved. Its current name, Porta San Gottardo, recalls another church, which was originally outside the gate, on the site of the present Care Home for the Elderly.
The current cathedral is to all effects the last of a series of cathedrals that were built over time in Concordia Sagittaria. The first dates back to the late 15th century and was destroyed by the invasion of the Huns in 452.
The later cathedral was submerged when the River Lemene broke its banks in the mid-6th century. Other cathedrals were built in the 11th and 14th centuries.
The present construction dates back to 1466, and was commissioned by Bishop Antonio Feletto. It was completed in the 19th century, with the building of the choir stalls. At the beginning of the 20th century, during the bishopric of monsignor Francesco Isola, the present facade was built and the Martyrs’ Chapel was added, with the crypt in which their reliquaries are preserved.
The exterior of the church has a walled facade in exposed brick. In the centre of the Romanesque façade is the portal, surmounted by a circular rose window. Each of the two lateral naves has a single lancet window. On the right hand side of the church is a 12th century bell tower, 28 metres high, with two tiers of mullioned windows on each facade, and the baptistery with the layout of a Greek cross and a small cupola.
The exterior of the Gothic-style apse is decorated with another four mullioned windows. The interior of the cathedral is in the form of a Latin cross, with three naves separated by two lines of rounded arches resting on quadrangular pillars with semi-columns. In the Martyrs’ Chapel, enlarged at the beginning of the 20th century by the future cardinal Celso Benigno Luigi Costantini, is an altarpiece by Alessandro Varotari, known as “il Padovanino”.
The Museum was founded in 1885 and named the National Museum of Concordia to underline its close relationship with the nearby archaeological area of Concordia Sagittaria. It was headed by Dario Bertolini, who first organised the archaeological material in the building. Most of the materials are relics discovered between 1873 and 1882 in the vast archaeological area of Concordia Sagittaria; above all the burial site from the late Roman Age.
The first surrounding wall of the abbey was built in the 10th century, after the devastation caused by the Magyars.
The facade is dominated by a fresco representing the lion of St. Mark, dating back to the late 15th century. Below it is a bas-relief with the crest of cardinal Grimani , to the left is a fresco where the Grimani crest is repeated and to the right there is a fresco of a crest with a cross, whose ownership is unknown.
Beyond the entry tower you access a large courtyard that has recently been paved, onto which all the main buildings of the abbey complex look. There is also a brick bell tower here.
St. Andrew’s Cathedral was built on the remains of three previous churches: St. Frances, St. Lazarus and St. James. Work began on 4th August 1793 and ended only in 1893. It was inaugurated in the same year by Bishop Carlo Fontanini, who consecrated this majestic Neo-Classical church.
The cathedral, with its three naves, is 55.07 metres long, 20.38 metres wide at the transept, 23.4 metres high at the central cupola and 19 metres high at the ceiling. In 1925 it was decorated by Tiburzio Donadon from Pordenone. It contains various fine works of art, including the “Holy Conversation” and the “Stories of St. Andrew” by Pomponio Amalteo, and the “St. Roch, and the “Resurrection Altarpiece” by Jacopo Negretti.
The “St. Thomas Altarpiece” by Cima da Conegliano, which was originally housed in the cathedral, was sold at a time when money was short for 1800 pounds to the British Museum. The bell tower, which is currently 59 metres high was originally 47 metres. The facade was renovated in 1879, together with the pinnacle.
A beautiful example of an 18th century Veneto villa, Villa Freschi is located in the ancient hamlet of Ramuscello Vecchio. An avenue of poplar trees leads to the villa, which has a large courtyard with the manor house in the background. On the sides are two barchesse (rural service buildings). The ancient church of St. Anastasia is also here. To the rear of the villa are the grounds and a lake.
The noble homes of Portogruaro frame the historic centre and embellish its architectural beauty. The most important include the 15th century Palazzo de Götzen, Casa Longo, with its important decorative compositions, Palazzetto Fratto, which also hosted Ippolito Nievo, Palazzo Moro, with two elegant trifora, and Palazzo Muschietti, still embellished today by an external frieze featuring fruit under the eaves of the roof.
The museum was created by a group of enthusiasts from the town, the municipality offered its full support and the Fossalta Ethnographic Museum was thus born in 1990.
It is a repository of the trades, uses and customs of local people in the first half of the 20th century, including the main artisan activities in the area, like that of the stonemason, blacksmith, shoemaker and tailor, etc. There are also external spaces divided into a portico, farmyard, sottoportico and cellar.
There are extremely valuable reconstructions of farming environments of the era, together with special features like the lighting, recreated using original materials, old dishes, bracket lights, woven electric wires and porcelain insulators etc.
The countless manor houses in the area, inspired by or originating with the Venetians, are extremely well built and prestigious.
The most important:
include Villa Rubin, built in the 18th century by the Papadopoli, with a square Venetian plan over three floors;
Villa Migotto, featuring elegant stone cornices;/p>
Villa Murador, with an elegant balcony on which there are two mono spheres separated by a little column and a central salon illuminated by double lancet windows with semi-circular arches and exposed stone balconies;
Villa Migotto, where all the windows of the piano nobile have archivolts and the cornice of the eaves has a modilion;
Villa Gubitta, which dates back to the 16th-17th centuries;
Villa Correr Agazzi, which has recently been restored and is suitable for hosting all kinds of events;
Villa Piva, set in the centre of a large agricultural estate.
Portogruaro This is housed in the Villa Comunale, a lovely 16th century building by Bergamasco. It was opened in 1976 as the “Michele Gortani” museum with 10 display cases. Today there are 25 cases housing around 1500 fossils. They range from the lower Palaeolithic era to the appearance of man. Most come from Veneto, Fruili and Carnia.
This was designed by the architect Balestra and was the property of the Mocenigo family until the eve of the First World War, then passing into the hands of the Mayer family from Trieste, to the Sinigallia and the Gandolfi. To the left of the entrance is a tall rice stack, powered by a wheel placed on an artificial canal, which is now no longer in use. Today the building is the property of the ATER, which has carried out extensive restoration and has transformed it into a private residence.
The ancient church of Fossalta, founded around the year 1000, was demolished in 1893. The new church was designed in 1892 by engineer Federico Berchet, followed by architect Domenico Rupolo, who completed the work.
The “domo de Fossalta” (Fossalta cathedral) was completed in 1896. There is still a great deal of work to finish and over the years the two large marble altars of the Holy Virgin of the Belt and of St. Biagio and the altar were placed in the lateral transepts.
The completion of the new main altar, also designed by Rupolo, completed the choir stalls and the upper part of the apse, right above the Lugugnana Canal, together with the construction of two lateral sacristies.