Seen from above, it is enclosed between the peaks of the Fàr ros di Lignan and the Grado Lighthouse, and the Marano Lagoon what to see and what to do is your half of this article. I’ll take you to Friuli Venezia Giulia in the province of Udine and our journey will make you discover this lagoon among beaches, freshwater rivers and shy islands that rise from brackish water.
Are you ready to leave in the camper with me?
I recommend you, spotting scope, camera, GoPro, mtb, comfortable shoes, light and repellent hiking clothing. You know we set out to discover a lagoon.
The Marano Lagoon is an extraordinary environment for its natural features:
- two large rivers delimit the perimeter the Tagliamento on one side and the Isonzo on the other.
- several freshwater and resurgence rivers feed it: I’m talking about the rivers Aura, Corno and Stella.
- The Stella River Nature Reserve, which can only be visited by boat, is an extensive and luxuriant territory, mostly with reeds intersected by a winding water network that extends gently into the lagoon. In addition to the splendid wildlife environment, here you can find the classic casoni and the buildings of cane and wood, which kept a fireplace in the center and were furnished only with the necessary for survival and are all facing west: it is the most sheltered side from the winds of bora and tramontana.
- The Valle Canal Novo Nature Reserve, consisting of a former fishing valley, from which it takes its name, and some arable land. In the valley, near the town of Marano, the lagoon visitor center was built and can be visited on foot. From here it is possible, in an easy and suitable way for everyone, to immerse yourself in the wonderful world of the swamp and its incredible biological riches.
Marano lagoon what to see and what to do
Coming from the sea, you would notice that the entire Marano Lagoon appears dotted with green strips of land and reeds. The height of these lands often does not exceed 5 meters above sea level and they are inhabited by hawks, herons, swans and various waders and migratory birds. A true wonder of nature that has made the entire lagoon an important environment for birdlife, so much so that it has been included in the list of wetlands of international interest.
In this natural kingdom that attracts birdwatchers and photographers every year from all over the world, I take you to visit the symbolic village of the Marano Lagoon to which it is closely linked.
Marano Lagunare is located in the center of the lagoon and to arrive by camper, the most convenient exit from the A4 Turin – Trieste and the Porpetto San Giorgio di Nogaro tollbooth. From here with the SP 80 and the SP3 you arrive directly to the town.
Unfortunately there is no equipped camper parking area, which in my opinion would be ideal here, but it is possible to park along via San Vito or via Serenissima, near the fish warehouses and arrive in the center via the pedestrian bridge.
One of the first things I noticed when arriving in Marano Lagunare was the writing placed under the road sign, which states:
“Maran community of Venetian dialect”
I thought that of course we are close to Venice which is 100 km away. Obviously the Serenissima reigned here for a long time, until 1797 and Marano was one of her impregnable fortresses. But the writing refers to the fact that even today the Maranese, that is the inhabitant of Marano Lagunare, feels more Venetian than Friulian. And this without any contempt for those who come from outside and the dialect, especially that spoken among fishermen, among the elderly is a mixed language between Venetian Venetian and other languages: the Maranese in fact.
We stroll through Marano Lagunare
You can also perceive the influence of Venice while walking through the historic center. A set of palaces, streets, squares and recesses towards which the houses turn, creating those common spaces for meeting and work typical of Venice: the squares. Many buildings in the center are decorated to tell an ancient story: you can see bas-reliefs, stone faces, coats of arms. The history of this town is lost in the findings of the Neolithic period.
The main square Piazza Provveditori is a living room overlooked by the Millenary Tower, the Palazzo dei Provveditori from the 1600s and has always been a meeting place for the inhabitants for that typical chatter that has characterized Venice over the centuries.
Obviously some restaurants and bars have their own terrace on the square and on the adjacent streets of the center.
The history of Marano Lagunare which is located at a height of just 2 meters above sea level. and with about 2,000 current inhabitants, it is very ancient and is linked to the Marano Lagoon of which it is jealous guardian. So I suggest you to go deeper into the subject by visiting the Archaeological Museum of the Marano Lagoon to demonstrate the importance of this place and of the entire lagoon over the centuries; in my opinion it is a magical place of enchantment between land and sea.
My advice? Take advantage of it, entry is free here.
You can continue the walk to the port area where during the day you will find moored, in addition to pleasure boats, the fishing boats that go out at night for fishing in the Adriatic. In Marano Lagunare and throughout the Marano Lagoon, fishing is an ancient tradition, due to the strong link with the lagoon environment from which men have had their livelihood for centuries.
As you can see, fresh water, land, sea and men continue to chase each other and intertwine among the narrow canals, which since ancient times have linked and united them in this strip of Friuli Venezia Giulia.
Activities in the Marano Lagoon
Now you will ask yourself in the Marano Lagoon what to see and what to do besides visiting the town.
If you are a nature lover, you can leave here for one of the many boat trips to discover the lagoon, to the island of shells for example, which is characterized by marshy vegetation and the singularity of the casoni.
You can go to the discovery of fish farming, simply by walking along the banks delimiting the lagoon, which branch off from the outskirts of the town. These valleys occupy marginal territories, disputed between water and land, and represent an example of how man can enhance a poor and difficult environment with his work, without however upsetting it and taking advantage of the tides.
Always with the excursions you can take a boat tour and get back on your mountain bike, or go to discover the mouth of the Stella river, a nature reserve that I have already mentioned to you and which according to many alone deserves the trip up to here.
Do you know that the Stella River is navigable and that you can go down to the lagoon or vice versa by renting a houseboat? If you want to take a peek, here you will find the website of an agency based in Marano Lagunare.
What if you love cooking?
Here you can have fun, the Marano Lagoon offers in fact numerous dishes of course of fish, which are cooked in the various restaurants of the town and which you can certainly combine with the fantastic choice that the region offers in terms of wines.
But Marano Lagunare what to see and what to do also means that you can also go and visit two wineries to taste the wines:
- Azienda Agricola Ghenda Fausto, a family-run business just outside the town
- Bortolusso Emiro winery furthest from the center, and immersed in the vineyards and canals of the lagoon.
We recommend two restaurants for lunch:
- Al Vigneto fish farm. Almost in front of the town hall, in a simple environment you can find fresh fish cooked in the Marano tradition, with products of their processing. A warranty.
- Trattoria Alla Laguna Vedova Raddi in Piazza Garibaldi facing the lagoon. Open since 1939, in a refined setting you can savor excellent crudité dishes, second courses of very fresh fish. The Friulian wine list is excellent.
Do you want to know what I would recommend you to eat?
You know, I believe that I will better express myself on the subject in a dedicated article.