By bike for the Gira Lemene

Everyone thinks that cyclists are the ones who get to know the local area best. They are certainly more familiar with it than drivers, because cars go too fast and you have to concentrate when you’re at the wheel, so you end up overlooking countless details. Nonetheless, I’m the one who really experiences the places around here, when I touch the roads and the dirt tracks. I don’t want to boast but I know every single square inch of land between Bibione, Portogruaro and Concordia Sagittaria. I can tell you all about the detours, short cuts, gravel and little slopes, although there aren’t many of the latter to be honest.

Nothing goes unnoticed by my wheels. They know all about the views as well as the roads. You might be thinking that people come to Bibione to lounge around on the beach in the sunshine and there’s not much to see in the surrounding area. If you’re feeling lazy then you’re welcome to stay there, but if I’ve piqued your curiosity then rent a decent bike, like me. I’m sure you won’t regret it.

I love racing from the lighthouse to Porto Baseleghe, or even better leaving the town behind and roaming around the countryside between little villages where time seems to stand still and a slower, more wholesome lifestyle still prevails. I follow the old ditches, brushing against the grass and the poppies in the late spring. I cruise past the wheat and asparagus fields and I listen to the wind blowing through the vines.

Just before I come to a canal that leads into the Caorle lagoon, I like nothing better than stopping for a break in a wood called the “Bosco delle Lame”, which few people know about. It’s a conservation area filled with wildlife in the middle of the plain and you might not expect to find it here. Birds that it’s hard to spot elsewhere come and go freely here.

After we leave the wood, we’ll come to the start of the Lemene River, whose origins lie in the Friuli resurgences on the plain. It’s another great place to visit, but I don’t want to make you rush around too much. Let’s try to get to Concordia Sagittaria. It’s a town that dates back to Roman times and there are still plenty of ancient sites to see, first and foremost among which is the Cathedral of Santo Stefano.

If you want to hear the stories that the river has to tell, simply lean me against a tree and sit down for a well-earned rest on the banks. Don’t linger there too long though, because I want to ride to Portogruaro.

It’s another town with a few surprises in store. It might look pretty dull on the map and it isn’t particularly well known, but you’ll soon see that it has plenty to offer if you go for a wander around the majestic buildings of the old town centre and take a look at the medieval town hall in the square.

Have I persuaded you to spend a morning or an afternoon away from the beach? Just think how many other things you could discover in this simple, age-old land among the havens of tranquillity and flocks of birds heading for the sea, just like the river.