Activities in and around Grado
Grado without its lagoon is like pasta without salt: the one would be stripped of its magic without the other. It reaches far into the level-land of Friuli and harbors many rare plants and animal species, especially birds overwintering there. Its many little islands, some of them that come and go depending on the tide, also quarter the old houses of the fishermen, the so-called casoni, where they used to live and work.
For a quick retreat tour you can choose to take a ship to the pilgrimage Island of Barbana, with its monumental church.
Make sure you don’t miss the biggest lagoon of its kind and let yourself be taken away by its beauty and peace!
aMareInBici - literally ‚in love with the bike‘ but also ‚by bike to the sea'- is a young association of bike- & nature-lovers, whose aim is to unite the passion for bikes with the passion for excellent food based on the high principles of sustainability and the respect for the environment and our cultural roots.
We are proud to be one of the ambassadors of this organization, realizing their and our efforts to unify the traditions of the Wine Region „Collio“ with the maritime Island of Grado and its surroundings. We are aMareInBici’s most marine Hotel and Restaurant & Bar. Its picturesque route stretches from Spessa del Cividale to Duino, ‚biking‘ through Palmanova and Aquileia, comprising not only historic wineries and trattorie, but also bakeries and bars, throughout the whole region. It definitely is the most active and eco-friendly way to get to know the marvelous Friuli Venezia-Giulia and its gourmet treasures!
At the Villa Marin you will be able to recharge your e-bikes and store your bikes in a safe garage while you enjoy a reinvigorating break and our Restaurant & Bar. The web page of aMareInBici will provide you with all the useful information, including the different routes and its difficulty grade, the shops where you -and your bikes- will find assistance and a lot more! One of the bike ‚emergency shops‘ is in fact situated right in centre of Grado.
We wish you a great biking trip… and tuck in..!
Grado, the Island of the Sun, is in its own a little microcosmos, with its own characteristic traditions, with its own dialect, its traditional songs, its own poems and its own culture, and with culture we don’t only mean the culinary kind! Hard to believe that Grado could nurture all this if we think of the rather modest size of the island; But on the other hand, one could argue that exactly because of it, Grado always wanted to cultivate its own identity, certainly approaching other cities like Venetia and Triest, but also staying true to its roots and history.
Biagio Marin, Grados very own poet, was able to praise its beauty, uniqueness and tradition like no-one else. Grados promenade, its so-called Diga, and its ánzolo, the Angel on the bell tower are the two symbols that characterize best this idyllic town: the Diga is its main ‚fish bone‘ that connects its two beautiful beaches, far from traffic, from which you can also admire the eastern side of the lagoon. Grados Angel keeps showing travelers the direction of the wind, may they be seamen or wayfarers, as proof that the wind and with it the sea are deeply intertwined to Grados life.
As Guests of the Villa Marin and of the Restaurant & Bar you will be right in the centre of Grado, seafront, directly by the diga, just a hop, a skip and a jump away from the beating wings of our Angel and Grados beaches.
Da Noi si sente il Mare- we live the Sea!
Aquileia and Grado are two little towns profoundly united by history, not only close geographically but also culturally. What would have been the Roman Empire without one of its biggest harbors? Aquileia had been for various centuries the strategic crossing point between the Mediterranean Sea and the Empire beyond the Alps, even though Aquileias rich history probably begins even earlier than that, with first celtic settlements.
In the Basilica you will find breathtaking paleo-christian mosaics about the Old Testament, the largest of its kind, and scattered throughout the city, many other historic treasures, like one of the few remaining roman cemeteries ad the inland port, just to mention a few.
Want to make the absolute best of a rainy day or do you want to explore our European roots? Visit the Archeological and Paleo-Christian Museum and dig into the golden era of this little but amazing town.
During the summer months, the municipalities organize free shuttle services to and from Aquileia on a weekly basis: definitely don’t miss that! And for the more active guests, hop on a bike, which the Villa Marin provides as well!— and enjoy the new the bicycle lane right through the peaceful lagoon.
Natural Reservation "Foce dell’Isonzo"
One of the biggest humid biotopes, the Natural Reservation ‚Foce dell’Isonzo’, is awaiting you only 15 minutes drive away from Grado or, if you prefer, by bike, taking up a little longer journey.
This natural oasis stretches on the peninsula Della Cona and provides a refugium for migratory birds from all over the world as well as for rare native animals and plants. It is ideal for people that want to unwind from the lively aestival city-life and for families. You will be able to admire nutrias, ride Camargue horses or just stroll down the adventurous paths of the reserve.
For those of you who are thinking of taking a trip to Trieste, don’t dawdle anymore and just hop on the next boat! During summer months you have the possibility to reach this beautiful imperial city by boat, the most romantic way possible, from two to three times a day. During winter, skip the line and the traffic and take the bus; searching for a parking spot in Trieste can be as tiring as looking for one in Grado, unfortunately.
Trieste is in fact a maritime city through and through, with its famous waterfront Piazza Dell’Unità Dell’Italia, one of the few with such a superb location. Don’t miss out on many other treasures, like the old city centre, full of up and down streets, from which you will be able to admire the whole ‚new‘ Habsburg part of the city and the steep coast of the Gulf, crowned by the Castello di Duino.
Trieste has always left its marks on the Italian cultural landscape and keeps doing so: starting from the elegant Opera Theatre Verdi, that hosted the premiere of Il Corsaro and Stiffelio, to the Literature Museum dedicated to the acclaimed writers James Joyce and Italo Svevo, there are plenty of activities for cultural adventurers to discover!
If can be said that Trieste has as many facets as the bora -the strong nordic wind- Don’t miss any of them!
Udine is a city that has something to offer to everyone! Start the day the Italian way, with a cappuccino and a cornetto in Piazza delle Erbe, surrounded by arches that will give you the feeling of a spacious open-air living room. Continue your stroll in Piazza Della Libertà, since always said to be the most Venetian piazza on the mainland and then just follow your nose! Do you just want to contemplate the view of the city and its surroundings? Walk up to reach the Castle and just relax. Fancy a shopping spree? Udine treats you with the best of what Italian and Friulian craftsmanship has to offer, including elegant boutiques and trendy stores. Visit one of the many museums or churches to discover its active contemporary and historic cultural panorama. Make sure to try at least one glass of tajut, a good glass of wine with which literally every citizen greats the post-work evening. There are plenty of historic osterie which will satisfy every wish!
Gorizia is a splendid town right on the boarder with Slovenia, making this city a bridge between cultures of different worlds, not only between Italy and Slovenia, but also Austria - the Hapsburg Empire in the historic perspective- and the Slavic Region in the broader sense of the word. Still today it remains an example of interrelation and brotherhood between different languages, historic backgrounds and languages.
Its symbol and beating heart is the impressive Castle that dominates the whole city and its surroundings. Back in the days, Gorizia was called nothing less than “the Nice of the Hapsburgs“, due to its little streets and paths in the old town.
Let yourself be intrigued by its mixture of architecture, history and regal palaces surround by lush parks!
Cividale del Friuli
Cividale del Friuli is in every sense a unique city, a real gem of our beautiful region! The name derives from Civitas Austriae, but before that it was called Forum Julii, because the legend says that it was found by Emperor Caesar himself! The history that made Cividale famous and shaped it to the beautiful city it is now, starts later, when Cividale became the capital of the first Lombard dukedom. All its most significative sites, from the Celtic hypogeum to the Lombard Temple, they are all living examples of how all different cultures of Cividale fused together to create an almost aulic continuity between the roman, Lombard and Carolingian art. In fact, since 2011 many of these storied sites entered the list of the Human World Heritage UNESCO.
The city is also, but not only, perfect for families that look for variation between nature and culture: the river Natisone flows right through the heart of the city and should the little ones not be eager to see the ‚big kids‘ museums, we are sure you will able to enthuse them for the magic world of the Podrecca marionettes or the typical Friulian frico, before digging into the legends and myths that surround Cividale. Don’t miss out on the exquisite wines, regional cheese such as the notorious Montasio and the delicious strucco!
We of the Villa Marin and Restaurant & Bar Alla Diga are absolute certain that our beautiful Region of Friuli Venezia-Giulia is indeed one of the most fascinating spots of our so various world. We treasure that we are fortunate enough to have everything only a hop, a skip and a jump away: the sea, steep mountains and soft hills, storied cities and historic towns.
Wether you are a lone adventurer, a family or a young couple, Friuli Venezia Giulia will leave nothing to be desired, from cultural to athletic experiences, in- or outdoors activities, gourmet and slow tours. Check them all out on the following web-pages