Venice and the Vogalonga tend to get all the attention. Rightly so. Venice is a spectacular destination, and the Vogalgona is legendary, a bucket list event for rowers. But beyond Venice and the Vogalonga, there is a stunning destination to explore. It has the same magic, and more. Trieste is another famous and fascinating Italian city, separated from Venice by 150 km along the Adriatic Sea coastline. There is also an inner waterway network of lagoons, canals and rivers. Known amongst Europeans for beach resorts, the region also offers charming cities, UNESCO world heritage sites, Roman ruins and surprisingly rich ecosystems. This is what we will explore as we row the Adriatic Sea and Venetian Lagoons.
Rowing coastal boats gives us maximum flexibility to experience both the open sea and the inner waterway. The first day of rowing is in the Gulf of Trieste, with spectacular views of the coastline. As we move westward, we will work our way along the Vie Navigabili Litoranea Veneta. We will row across lagoons marked by three-legged beacons, along rivers and down canals. Sometimes we will pop back onto the Adriatic Sea to enjoy great views of the coastline or to land on sandy beaches. Our final row takes us to the Lido of Venice. Rowing does not get much more spectacular than this.
The light is dramatic and an essential element of this remarkable landscape. When it is clear, the Alps of Italy, Austria and Slovenia feel close enough to touch. More often, we will row through the hazy half-light for which painters adore Venice. We will row past beach resorts, and through quintessentially Italian towns with a rich history connected to the city state of Venice and also the Habsburg Empire. At times we will feel remarkably remote as we row past marshes and reeds, serenaded by songbirds.
|Single Supplement||$150||$195||125 €|
Fully independent non-rowers are welcome on this trip. Please contact us to discuss details.
|Daily Distances||Boats||Group Size|
|24 – 38 km per day||Coastal coxed quads and double.||Minimum: 10 rowers plus guides. Maximum 20 rowers plus guides|
We recommend that you come a few days in advance and spend the time exploring Trieste. At the farthest eastern end of Italy, this magnificent city blends Austrian influences with the Italian, along with elements from the immediate neighbours of Slovenia and Croatia.
Weather and tides may mean that the itinerary must be modified from what is indicated here. Safety is a priority.
Arrival in Grado. We will organize pick-ups from the nearby train station and airport. Settle in for two nights. Explore the town and have your first gelato of the trip, but leave room for our welcome dinner with a briefing for the week ahead.
A short drive takes us to Canottieri Trimavo in Monfalcone. Off we head onto the Adriatic Sea! We will follow the western shore of Golfo di Panzano, and then enter the waterway system at Punta Spigalo. First we follow a river, Fiume Isonzo, then into the canals that lead us to the sprawling Laguna di Grado. Our lunch is a picnic at one of the docks nestled amongst the tall reeds. We pass Santa Maria di Barbana, located on island at the eastern end of the lagoon. It has been a religious sanctuary since Roman times, associated with the nearby town of Aquileia, formally a port and now inland. If time permits, we will take the short drive there in the afternoon to visit the beautiful mosaics and gorgeous buildings. But there is a bit more rowing through the lagoon before we arrive at the rowing club in Grado. You could stroll to the hotel along the beachfront or perhaps through the winding streets of the charming old town. (31 km)
From Grado we spend the entire day rowing lagoons lined with marshes and dotted with islands. First we cross Laguna di Grado and then enter Laguna di Merano. Some of the islands have casoni or traditional fishermen’s huts. Typically oriented east-west, they feature steep reed roofs that almost touch the ground. We will stop on an island for a picnic lunch. Then we will row to the far end of the lagoon, ending our row at the resort town of Lignano Sabbiadoro. The club here is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019, so we will raise a glass of prossecco with them! We will transfer by van to our destination, an agrotourismo – a country resort tucked away on a little lagoon. There might be flamingos! Walking paths allow you to experience quiet and nature before an excellent dinner. (30 km)
In the morning we drive back to Lignano Sabbiadoro and our boats. A short row along the edge of the towns leads us to a series of rivers and canals. We will pass very close by our agrotourismo before arriving at Bibione Pineda with its big pines and marinas. From here there are two choices. If the weather is fine, we will head back out to the open sea and row past the natural beaches of Valle Vecchia, originally an island and now a Zone of Special Protection featuring a four km long beach with no development. Or we could opt to row into the Lagunare di Caorle, also designated as a nature reserve. This option takes us past more wetland and associated birdlife, plus a casoni village. Regardless of which route we choose, the arrival into Caorle will be from the sea. It is dramatic, with the beautiful Madonna dell’Angelo sanctuary jutting out into the sands. We will land close by, with a short walk to our hotel. Even with resort hotels, Caorle is an authentic fishing town dating from medieval times. (30 km)
Today is a well-deserved rest day. Have a relaxing morning and take time to explore this charming town. Especially see if you can want to find the beautiful traditional rowing shell moored in the harbour, painted bright colours and rowed in the Vogalonga. In the afternoon we will enjoy an excursion to fascinating Palmanova, a star shaped town a short drive away. It is a fortress town dating from 1593 and one of the few in the world where the walls and moats remain intact, free of encroaching development. Dinner tonight is on your own – find your new favourite seafood or pizza restaurant.
We are getting close to Venice. Initially we will follow the coast from Caorle to Porta Santa Margherita and then enter the canal system to row through a bucolic agricultural landscape. How can we not enjoy rowing canals with names like Commessera, Largon, Revedoli and Cavetta? We might have to burst into song! We will have time as we pass through the only working lock of the trip. All of this leads us to the huge lagoon that includes Venice. We will row past Jesolo to Cavallino, at the eastern end of the lagoon. A sure sign that we are close to Venice are style of the chimneys an echo of the influence on architecture and history! (38 km)
For the entire day we explore the lagoon that surrounds Venice. Initially we stay in the canal system rowing the long length of canals between Cavallino and Treporti, then past Punta Sabbioni. As we get closer and closer to Venice we will see other international and Italian rowing crews getting ready for the Vogalonga. Our final destination is Lido di Venezia, a long spit of land separating the main islands of Venice from the Adriatic. There are magnificent views of the spires and towers of Venice. It is an easy hop by ferry to the main sights, yet in the evening we can retreat from the crowds. Our farewell dinner might include a toast as the sun sets from the Adriatic Sea to Venetian lagoons. (24 km)
Departure or enjoy a rest day in Venice before the Vogalonga!